Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
The global site for cruising sailors
Sections
You are here: Home / Countries / St Helena / St. Helena: Clearance & Cruising Information

St. Helena: Clearance & Cruising Information

By SY YOLO — last modified Jun 15, 2016 10:27 AM
The following port clearance and cruising information is provided to help sailors visiting Saint Helena. This information is based on two U.S.A. citizens on the 42 foot catamaran YOLO with no pets.

Published: 2016-06-13 23:00:00
Countries: St Helena

St. Helena: Clearance & Cruising Information

Whale Shark

ARRIVAL DAY/ DATE:  Monday, March 28, 2016

ARRIVAL PORT:  Jamestown, Saint Helena

DEPARTURE DAY/DATE:  Saturday, April, 2, 2016

DEPARTURE PORT:  Jamestown Saint Helena

Consider the navigational information noted below as suggestions, and rely on your own sailing skills for accuracy and safety.

INTRODUCTION

Saint Helena (SH) is always a welcomed stop while making a South Atlantic Ocean crossing.  The professionally installed and maintained mooring field, ferry boat service, super friendly citizens (called Saints), old world charm, and safe environment will transform your planned three day visit into a two week vacation.  Spotless streets and countrysides add to the tour of the island which is steep with historical sites and hiking trails.  The outer edges of the island reminded me of Saba in the Caribbean, since much of the island's shoreline is vertical.  The warm nearby waters offer whales, sky bound dolphins, turtles, and Whale Sharks.  Many locals fear that much of the isolated charm of the island will rapidly disappear when the new international airport opens in May 2016.

How small is Saint Helena you ask?  Answer, prior to 2016 local phone numbers were 4 digits long and even today you can still see cars with single digit license plates!

PASSAGES TO SAINT HELENA

If your last port of call was Cape Town (South Africa), Luderitz (Namibia), or Walvis Bay (Namibia), your sail to Saint Helena is likely to be one of your most pleasurable off-shore passages of your life. The winds, waves, and currents are typically at your back, driving you directly towards SH.  Near the coast of Africa the current tends to run more south to north, and the winds can be in the high twenties or low thirties.  Many yachts encounter fog near the coast of Africa.  When you are about 150 nm west of Africa, the traditional trades blow towards the northwest at a high teen rate for days on end.  Most yachts arrive at SH after 10 to 15 comfortable days at sea.

When you are about 90 miles from SH you will start to hear Saint Helena Radio traffic on VHF channel 16.  If you approach the island at night, the lights on top of the mountains start to appear when you are about 40 miles from land.  Most yachts skirt the north end of the island and then make a short trip to the south along the western shore to get to Jamestown.

Jamestown is the capitol of Saint Helena, and the Ascension Island.  It is located on James Bay, which is located on the north west corner of SH.  It is the sole anchorage for the island.  The related mooring field is located at 15.55.4 South and 005.43.5 West.

My Navionics and C-Map electronic charts were very accurate in Saint Helena.

SAINT HELENA RADIO

The Saint Helena Radio office is located in the interior of the island and does not have visual contact with the sea.  When you are about a mile from James Bay call Saint Helena Radio on VHF channel 16.  SH Radio is available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. The controller will ask you three questions:  Name of vessel, number of crew on board, and your last port of call.  Saint Helena Radio will then ask you to standby for a call from Jamestown Port Control.

JAMESTOWN PORT CONTROL

Jamestown Port Control works from 0830 to 1600, Monday through Friday.  If an ocean liner, military vessel, or cargo ship is scheduled to arrive outside these hours, they will also man the radio.  Per Saint Helena Radio's instructions, they will contact you on VHF channel 16 and then switch you to channel 14, their working channel.  They will ask you the usual questions:  Name of your vessel, number of crew on board, your last port of call, the gross tonnage of your vessel, and ask you if all crew members are healthy?  Jamestown Port Control will then assign you a mooring (red or yellow) in the yacht anchorage area.

NIGHT TIME APPROACH

Shouldn't be an issue for most sailors.  Make sure you approach the yacht mooring field from the west or northwest, to avoid the numerous lines, wrecks, and moorings (some just below the surface of the water) in the small boat anchorage area.  The small boat anchorage area is located west northwest of the yacht anchorage/mooring area.

YACHT MOORINGS

There really isn't a place to drop your anchor at Saint Helen anymore.  "The" 18 to 20 meter deep sandy spot was taken over by a professionally installed "yacht mooring field."  The mooring field has 22 large moorings which are all connected to each other in a criss-cross manner on the seabed, with 20 large anchors around the outer edge of the mooring field.  Most of the mooring field chain is 19 mm or 22 mm.

If your vessel has a gross tonnage of 30 or more, you will be directed to use one of the five RED moorings, which are located in the center of the mooring field.  All the other moorings are YELLOW.  Each of the moorings is numbered and shaped like a huge wheel of cheese, one meter across and flat on the top.  A large metal ring lays FLAT on the top of the mooring, and they do NOT have painters.  You can NOT pick up the mooring ball/float, because of the 20 meters of very heavy chain located directly below the mooring.

Getting Attached to a Mooring

Given the above, many yachts with high decks find it difficult to attach their vessel to a mooring.  Yachtie arms aren't long enough to thread your mooring/bridle lines through the horizontal ring on the top of the mooring.  To attach yachts to a mooring I have observed the following creative solutions:

1. A crew member lowers himself off the deck of the boat and stands on the mooring while he feed the lines through the ring.  The mooring have plenty of buoyancy, enough to support a large man.

2. A crew member went swimming and he fed the bridle lines through the horizontal ring, while his partner motored their yacht nearby.

3. In rare instances a nearby yacht might have their dinghy in the water and the owner might assist you in attaching your bridle lines.

NOTE: Seldom do yachts use their dinghies given the ferry boat service and large surge always present at the landing wharf, so don't count on this solution being available.

4. If your vessel has aft steps or a scoop at the transom, you might want to do what I did.  Attach two long dock lines to your bow (s) and run them along the outside of your vessel to your transom step/scoop.  Slowly motor directly into the current, traveling slowing past the mooring which should be immediately next to the side of your boat.  When the mooring is adjacent to the stern of your vessel, hand thread both lines through the mooring ball ring.  Place your gearbox in neutral and let the current slowly move your vessel backwards, during which time you will be taking up the slack on your mooring line.  When the mooring ball is near the bow(s), tie off your bridle/dock lines.  FYI, the mooring balls are attached to the ground tackle with heaving chains, which hang vertically in the water.  I.e., you won't be catching anything on your prop when motoring or drifting near a mooring ball.

NOTE: The metal rings on top of the moorings are rough steel, not smooth stainless steel.  They tend to saw through mooring lines rather quickly given the constant swell, wind, and currents.  One of my bridle lines parted on day seven, I should have applied chafe gear upon arrival.

Will I get a mooring when I arrive?

The answer is yes, since locals are not permitted to use the moorings and it is extremely unlikely that two dozen world travellers will be visiting SH at the same time.

JAMES BAY ANCHORAGE AND DINGHY WHARF

The ferry boat and cargo loading/unloading area is on the high concrete wharf at the northeast corner of James Bay.  It is similar to Nuie in terms of design and swell surge.  The yacht mooring field is located at the southwest section of the James Bay.  Between these two locations are dozens of small local vessels on moorings.  Many of the local vessels are attached bow AND stern to two different mooring balls.  There are also several wrecks in this area which also need to be avoided.  And, there are numerous mooring and anchor lines floating in the water, or just below the surface.

Some yachts use their dinghies to access the wharf.  Leaving your dinghy at the wharf is discouraged by the ferry boat operators, local boat owners, wharf cargo handlers, and the ocean swell.

The landing area at the wharf has a non-skid surface and a gallow and rope arrangement.  Your odds of landing or departing the ferry safely is rather high because of this design. The ferry also have a 'shoe' under their propellers to allow them to power over the mooring lines of other boats without getting entangled, something most dinghies couldn't do.  Leave the dinghy on the mother ship, and leave the driving to the ferryman.

CLEARING-IN PROCEDURE

Call Jamestown Port Control on VHF 16 when you are ready to start your paperwork.  In most cases the Port Captain and Customs will visit your yacht within 30 minutes of your call.  They will arrive on the yellow "ferry boat," so have your fenders about a half meter off the waterline to protect the sides of your vessel.  The ferry does NOT have fenders and sports a large rough wooden rub rail.

1.  Port Control: Complete and sign the Harbour Masters Declaration form.  The Port Captain is extremely friendly and helpful.  He often gives new arrivals a map of Jamestown and the island.

2.  Customs: Will review you ship papers, last port exit papers, crew list, and passport.  You will complete and sign a Master Declaration form, and the official will retain your crew list.  Customs will make copies of the forms upon request.  Pick up the copies at their office, which is located in the large white two story building with the clock tower on the wharf.  Port Control shares the same office area, and both are located on the top floor of the building.

3.  Immigration: During your first visit to land you will have to visit Immigrations, which is located on the Grand Parade (parking lot) behind the Saint James Church.  You will complete the Immigration Yacht Arrival Declaration form and get your passport stamped, if you have proof of medical and evacuation insurance.  All crew members must visit Immigrations.

Before your passport is stamped, you must provide proof of medical insurance for each crew member.  If you do NOT have proof of this insurance, you are required to leave your non-stamped passport with Immigration, while you go to a local vendor and pay for short-term Saint Helena medical insurance coverage.  When you have paid for the SH medical coverage and have proof of such, return to Immigrations.  They will then stamp your passport and return it to you.

If you do NOT have medical, AND REFUSE to purchase a short-term local coverage, you will be instructed to stay on your vessel 24/7 and never attempt to land on the island.

Departure: You will have to visit all three of these government agencies prior to leaving the island.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU FAILED TO LEGALLY CLEAR OUT OF THE LAST FOREIGN PORT?

Bottom line, nothing.  The officials in SH are VERY aware that clearing out of South Africa, Mozambique, and Madagascar is difficult on a good day, and nearly impossible on many other days.  So, they see numerous yachts each year which do NOT have clearance papers from their last foreign port.  When faced with this exception, they ignore the prior missing paperwork and clear you into SH without any problems.

AGENTS

You are NOT required to have a shipping agent when clearing into and out of Saint Helena.

VISA AND BONDS

Upon arrival you can stay up to six months as a tourist.  A prior to arrival VISA is NOT needed.  A bond is NOT needed.

FERRY BOAT

The yellow ferry boat operates from 0600 to 1830, seven days a weeks.  Call the "ferry boat" on VHF Channel 16 to get a ride from your yacht to land.  The ferry DEPARTS the landing on the concrete wharf at the top of the hour for return trips to the yachts.  Sometimes the driver will make an exception for mid-hour departures if you call him on your hand held VHF radio.  If you will be transporting large quantities of fuel or water jugs, you can arrange for a special trip to/from the wharf landing.  The ferryman keeps a log of the number of passengers traveling between each yacht and the mainland.  The honesty system applies here and you pay him for all of your shuttle trips on the last day in port.

Make sure you have at least four fenders on the side of your vessel before the ferry approaches your vessel.

YACHT INSPECTION

During my stay in Saint Helena not a single yacht was inspected.  The law prohibits the importation of honey, firearms without a valid license, or obscene pornographic items.

PETS

If you have a pet you must visit Customs to work out the details.  Pets are required to remain on-board at all times.  Surprisingly, this island appeared to be void of cats and dogs.

TIDES

The tides max out at about one meter.  When you are five meters from the shoreline the water depth will exceed five meters deep, at most locations.

GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE BUSINESS OFFICE HOURS

Saint Helena Radio is open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

Jamestown Port Control, Customs, and Immigrations are open 0830 to 1600, Monday through Friday.  If a cruise liner, military vessel, or cargo ship is in port outside these hours, they will also be open.

Businesses: They are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 0900 to 1700.  On Wednesday they are open 0900 to 1300.  During Saturday they are open for business 0900 to 1300 AND 1830 to 2030.  Nobody works on Wednesday afternoons or Sundays.

"The bank:" The Bank of Saint Helena is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 0900 to 1500.  On Thursday and Saturday they are open 0900 to 1300.  Expect to stand in line, so get there with time to spare.

Ferry Boat: 0600 to 1830, every day of the week.  Ferry Boat service is available outside these hours if prior arrangements have been made (for a premium fare).

CLEARING-OUT PROCEDURE

First Stop: Port Control/Captain:  Pay your mooring fees.  He will give you a Saint Helena General Revenue Receipt which you must show Customs later in the day.

Second Stop: Immigrations:  Pay your tourist fee and get your passport stamped.  A receipt will be provided.

Third Stop: Customs:  Pay lights/harbour/port fees and receive your exit papers (a stamped copy of the Masters Declaration form).  A receipt will be provided.

Fourth Stop: Water Ferry:  Pay your water shuttle fee.

CLEARANCE COSTS

All fees must be paid in British OR Saint Helena pounds.  Credit cards and checks are not accepted.  The various fees are:

Port Control mooring fee: The first day is free, and you pay 2 pounds per day after that.  So a ten day visit will cost you 18 pounds or about $26 USD.

Port Control/Customs lights/harbour/port dues: This fee can be paid to Customs or Port Control and it is a flat 40 British or Saint Helena pounds, about $60 USD.  This fee does NOT vary according to the length of your stay or size of your yacht.

Immigration: You pay 17 pounds per crew member, which is about $25 USD.

Medical Insurance: How expensive this is will vary according to your age, accidental history, medical history, and the term of the policy.  As a generalization, a health adult with no major accidents in the past will pay about 40 pounds ($60 USD) for a 7 day term policy.

Ferry Boat: The fee is 2 pounds per person, return.  Each time you ride the ferry you make an entry in the ferry log and you will pay the driver at the end of your Saint Helena visit.

TOURIST OFFICE

The tourist office is located in the centre of Jamestown at the end of Main Street, and it is the epicenter of knowledge and bookings.  The six gals who work there are super friendly and helpful, and they will point you in the right direction with a smile on their face.  They will gladly make arrangements for just about anything on the island.  In my case, they made numerous phone calls for me, so that I could track down things both near and far.  Their office is packed full of helpful maps and informative brochures.

The contact information for tourism is:  www.sthelenatourism.com, or call (+290) 22158, or e-mail enquires@tourism.co.sh

TRANSPORTATION AND LAND TRAVEL

At this time one cargo/passenger/mail ship from Cape Town visits SH each month.  This service will cease operation within a month or two.  The locals/Saints are in the process of negotiating with another cargo ship firm for the delivery of large and heavy items in the future.

The new SH international airport is scheduled to open in May 2016.  There will be one flight from London and one from Cape Town each week.

On the island you have six options for getting around:

1.  Walk:  Jamestown is the business centre for the entire island.  The town is small, centralized, and walkable.

2.  Hitch-hike:  This is one of the few places on the planet were hitch-hikers can easily bum a safe ride.  Getting a lift shouldn't take you long.

3.  Bus:  White buses marked with Route A, B, C, D, or E cover the entire island.  The maximum fare is 2 pounds, about $3 USD each way per person.  The Tourist Office will give you a copy of the bus schedule.

4.  Island Tours:  Most tour companies charge the same rate for a full (5 to 6 hour) island tour, 12 pounds ($18 USD) per person.  A minimum of four passengers is required to start a tour.  If you want to visit the Napoleonic sites you will have to pay an additional 10 pounds per person ($15 USD) for the French entrance fee.  Lunch is NOT included with the tour and it typically costs about 5 pounds.  Arrange your tour at the tourist office.  Take a rain jacket since many tours include a brief shower and the strong winds on the eastern side of the island tend to be chilly.  FYI, this is the cheapest way to see the island, other than hitch-hiking.

Most yachties find History On Wheels (Robert A Peters) to be the most informative, flexible, and entertaining tour guide on the island.  At the age of 80, he has certainly lived much of the local history and brings forth many details.  Make sure you ask your tour guide to visit "the most remote distillery in the world," The Saint Helena Distillery.  The free tastings will add a buzz to your tour.  The tour guides often skip or fail to mention the distillery for obvious reasons!  Robert's contact information is dorob@helanta.co.sh, phone 23346, or visit his blog at http://robertpeterstours.blog.com.

Corkers' Tours is another island tour operator.  Contact Tracey or Colin Corker at Chad's Shop (near the Tourist Office) , phone 22735, or e-mail corkerstouristservice.@helanta.co.sh

5.  Car Rentals:  There are only a few cars for hire on the island and the demand for them tends to be rather high.  In most cases a reservation made well in advance is required to snag one of the cars.  The daily rental fee is more than two people joining an all day island tour.  Use the Tourist Office to check on car hire availability.

6.  Taxi:  Expensive taxi rides can be initiated in Jamestown.

LANGUAGE

English is widely spoken and is the official language of SH.

GIFTS/PAYOFFS/CONSIDERATIONS/ETC.

Payoffs for the front line government officials is unheard of.

YACHT RELATED SERVICES AND FUEL

Private yachting or boating won't be catching-on any time soon in Saint Helena.  There are no "cruising grounds"  at or near SH.  Basic marine support is provide by the local automotive, fishing industry, and heavy equipment technicians.  Solomons is located on the wharf, half way between the dinghy/ferry dock and the Customs building.

Solomons provides most of the equipment and services for the local fishing industry.  Their marine office is open Monday through Friday, 0800 to 1700, contact Michael Richards at phone number 22030.  Solomons will deliver fuel to your vessel or wharf landing.  One liter of diesel was 1.07 pounds ($1.60 USD) during my visit to SH.  I.e. almost a dollar more per liter than African prices!  The island has three service stations for cars and trucks.

This sounds crazy, but  you might want to get your yacht hauled out at Saint Helena.  Because of the rock bottom price, many have done it in the past.  The crane fee for lifting out and splashing ANY vessel is 35 pounds ($45 USD).  The crane operator and wharf crew haul out dozens of vessels each year, and some of the local vessels exceed 60 tons.  There are two cranes on the wharf, one rated for 100 tons and the other has a rating of 180 tons.  If you are interested, see the Port Captain.  FYI, Solomons will charge you an additional fee for using their hard stands.  What the heck, most yachties pay more than $45 USD to have their boat bottoms cleaned!

WATER SPORTS

The sea is nice and warm, and crystal clear around Saint Helena.  When I was snorkeling and diving, visibility was around 30 meters (100 feet).  HINT: While on a mooring jump in the water and take a look at your zincs/anodes and bottom paint.  My inspection, and several others resulted in a big surprise.  Two of my 100 day old zincs installed in South Africa were corroded away to nothing.  I'm guessing the stray AC and DC current in the South African marinas did most of the damage.  Perhaps the mineral rich anchorages in Namibia also added to my plight.

You can schedule scuba diving adventures via the Tourist Office.  The rates are rather low, when compared to the rest of the world.  The dive operations will rent you a weight belt, BC, tank, and regulator for 10 to 15 pounds, about $17 USD.  That's what I did to install zincs and clean the bottom of several yachts.  The dive operations will fill your air tanks for 2 pounds per tank.  The law-of-the-land requires that a Saint Helena dive master accompany you on all open water divers.

Call Anthony Thomas with Sub-Tropic Adventures at 24840, visit www.stsa.co.sh. or e-mail sub-tropic.scuba@helanta.co.sh.

Another scuba diving tour operator is Into The Blue, the owner is Craig, and his phone number is 61400.

Large schools of dolphins (Spotted, Bottlenose, and Rough-Toothed) are permanent residents at the island.  Humpback whales can be seen during the winter months of June - October.  The crown jewel for many visitors is swimming with Whale Sharks, the largest fish in the world (over 40 feet/12 meters long).  Tourists from all over the world spend a great deal of money and time for the privilege of swimming with the Whale Sharks.  Saint Helena's gentle aquatic giants visit the island in mass during February and March each year, eat plankton and typically swim at the surface.  The Tourist Office will make arrangements for your Whale Shark tour.  The fee in 2016 was 20 pounds ($30 USD) per person.

Note: Dolphin, whale, and Whale Shark adventures require a certified local vessel and crew.  Whale Shark sightings are NOT guaranteed during your tour, however during my visit at least three of the sharks had GPS units attached to them, so the snorkel/dive boat had a pretty good idea when the monster fish were. During the Whale Shark adventure only seven customers are allowed into the water at one time.  MAKE SURE YOU ARE PART OF THE FIRST GROUP OF SEVEN SNORKELERS.  Sometimes Whale Sharks are bothered by large groups of swimmers, and if this is the case they disappear into the deep so that the following groups have nothing to see.

MEDICAL AND DENTAL CARE

The basics are covered by the local public clinics and most boaters seek assistance from local private doctors.  The island has a 54 bed hospital.  A passport must be presented prior to treatment to determine your nationality and related fee structure.

As stated above in the Clearing-In Procedure - Immigration section, medical insurance is required to visit the island.  A short-term policy can be purchased upon arrival.

BANKING, CURRENCY, AND VAT

There are about 4,000 "Saints" living on the island.  In fact, more Saints live in Cape Town, South Africa, than on their home turf.  Saint Helena has it's own currency (paper and coins).  Caution:  Don't stock up on SH pounds because they are only accepted two places on the planet, SH and Ascension Island.  British pounds are also widely used on the island.  One SH pound equals one British pound.  During my stay one pound equaled 67 cents USD.

There is one bank of the island, the Bank of Saint Helena.  The bank is affiliated with Lloyds Of London.  The bank is located near the Tourist Information Office, at the end of Main Street.  If a cruise liner is in port, the bank opens a temporary office on the first floor of the Customs building.  Expect long queues whenever you visit the bank.  Given it's monopoly status the fees for banking services are high, except for SOME foreign exchange transactions.  Tellers will accept U.S. Dollars, Euros, or South African Rand for exchange to Saint Helena or British Pounds.  Warning:  Always request Saint Helena pounds which have no foreign currency exchange fee.  There is a 2 percent exchange fee if you ask for British Pounds.

Saint Helena does NOT have a single ATM.  According to the bank manager it is highly unlikely that ATMs will grace the island in the near future, "Nobody on the island knows how to install or maintain an ATM...and we cannot afford to have someone from Europe or Africa visit our island to do so."

The bank will give you a cash advance on a credit card, yet prepare yourself for the following fees:  A 10% cash advance fee, PLUS at 2% foreign transaction fee, PLUS a VISA or MasterCard transaction fee (typically 1%), PLUS interest charges starting day one.  And you thought loan sharks were outlawed!

Credit cards are sparingly accepted by a few businesses.  The merchants which do accept VISA or MasterCard often INCREASE YOUR PURCHASE PRICES BY 5 PERCENT, to cover their "handling costs."  This additional expense is in ADDITION to the VISA and MasterCard international transaction fee and your bank fee.  I.e., cash remains king on Saint Helena.  And they require a daunting form to be filled out when using a credit card.

The contact information for the Bank of Saint Helena is:  www.sainthelenabank.com or call +290-22390

GARBAGE DISPOSAL

The trash cans/bins are located on the waterfront wharf.

DRINKING WATER

There are four drinking water taps/faucets located within 10 meters of the wharf landing.  The tap at the top of the steps has a hose which makes it quick and easy for filling water jugs.  The water is free (part of your port dues).

GROCERIES

Two families (the Solomons and Thorpes) control most of the commerce, and land, on Saint Helena, .  Their footholds in many lines of business exceed 225 years!  You will find their grocery stores bakery, service stations, etc. in Jamestown, and several other villages.  Their stores accept local currency and other (U.S.A., British, and Euros) at a discount.  If they accept your credit card they will tack on a 5% processing fee.  All change is paid out in Saint Helena pounds.

Given that goods (general and fresh) are delivered to the island by cargo containers once per month, the pickings at their stores are hit-and-miss.  A day or two after the containers hit the wharf the fresh fruit, veggies, meats, etc. will hit the shelves and typically disappear by noon that day.  The other small family owned stores also have a few items for a fews days after the ship has arrived.  Yachties must make the shopping rounds every few hours for a few days to discover and immediately purchase whatever is on the shelf at all of the locations.  Snooze you loose...

The locals grow a few items in their gardens for personal consumption.  Excess food is typically sold to friends, neighbors, or the local restaurants.  Sweet talking the cafe owner might give you a lead for local produce and fruit, which worked for my Admiral.

SECURITY

Dorothy, you aren't in Africa anymore, so security is NOT a concern.  If you read either of the weekly news papers you will read about every crime that occurred on the island during the prior week.  In summary, you will read about minor self inflicted offenses by drunk young men, for weeks on end.  Major crime seldom occurs.

COURIER SERVICE VERSES THE POSTAL SERVICE

SH does have a DHL office, yet it only gets deliveries once per month via ship.  Starting in May 2016 I assume that weekly plane service will expedite critical deliveries.

The Post Office is located in downtown Jamestown, across the street from the Tourist Information Centre.

COMMUNICATIONS

Cell phone service just arrived at SH in 2016, and the coverage is spotty at best.  Wi-Fi via chips is available, expensive, Mb magically disappear in minutes, and is also extremely unreliable.  Most yachties avoided investing in either forms of communications during my stay at the island.  Those that did invest, wished they hadn't.

Most yachties nurse a beer or cup of coffee at Anne's Place in the Castle Gardens, the Inkwell, or the Consulate Hotel to gain "free Wi-Fi" access.  During my stay all three sites were extremely slow, to the point of being painful.  Your best bet is the Consulate Hotel (in downtown Jamestown) when the teenagers are in school.

TELEPHONE COUNTRY CODE

The country code is +290 when dialing long distance.

LAUNDRY AND SHOWERS

The Tourist Centre will point you in the right direction for laundry service, which is often one of the local hotels, and expensive.  Many yacht owners hand wash their laundry at one of the water taps at the wharf landing.  Or, they use the large double sink in the shower room located on the wharf half way between the landing and Customs building.  Get the code for the door lock from Customs or Port Control when you clear in.

Showers are free (part of your port dues) and you have three options:

1. At the top of the stairs near the wharf landing and on your left is a small building with public restrooms.  At the far end of the building are public showers, with air temperature water.

2. Half way between the wharf landing and the Customs building is a private access rest room and laundry facility.  The door has an electronic lock which requires an access code.  The Port Captain will give you the access code upon request.  You MUST press the "C" (for Clear) button on the lock prior to entering the access code, or the door will NOT open.

3. At the end of the wharf is a very large fresh water swimming pool which has showers.  The pool is open to the public when the school isn't holding swimming lessons.

PRICES

Good-bye African bargain basement prices.  Welcome to small remote island monopoly pricing.  Prior to arrival in Saint Helena you should stock up on EVERYTHING.

BOOZE

The local government places a stiff import tax on booze, so it very pricey at SH.  However, if you purchase the local brew (wine and spirits) made by the micro brewer Saint Helena Distillery, you can buy a bottle for about 20 USD or less.  The distillery produces several unique and quite good products which are sold on-site at the distillery and in many of the local stores.

FYI, during my stay at SH, one of the grocery stores were selling expired cans of beer for about 75 cents USD.  Most stores have expired foods, which typically sell for 50% to 70% off.

TIME ZONE

If you do time, I don't, you will have to set your watches and clocks to UTC/GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) all year round.

SUMMARY

You seldom hear a negative word about Saint Helena.  After a week or more at sea it provides a safe and relaxing haven.  Despite it's micro size and economy, many first world goods and services are available on the island.  I fear, like many Saints, that the island's old world charm will quickly erode when hundreds of tourist start disembarking from huge commercial airplanes in May 2016.  Regardless of things to come, make sure you tour the beautiful country side and the Napoleonic sites.  Enjoy the warm waters teeming with fish.  And, go mono-a-mono with the world's largest fish, the giant Whale Shark.  Check mark, been there, done that, and survived!

SUBMITTED BY:  Jason Trautz, s/v YOLO (You Only Live Once, life is not a rehearsal)

Share |
Countries
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Angola
Anguilla
Antarctica
Antigua & Barbuda
Argentina
Aruba
Ascension Island
Australia
Azores
BIOT (Chagos)
Bahamas
Bahrain
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Bermuda
Bonaire
Bosnia
Bouvetoya
Brazil
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Canary Islands
Cape Verdes
Cayman Islands
Channel Islands
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Cocos Keeling
Colombia
Comoros
Cook Islands
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Curacao
Cyprus
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
East Timor (Timor Leste)
Easter Island
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Eritrea
Estonia
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
French Subantarctic Territory
Galapagos
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Hawaii
Heard, McDonald & Macquarie Islands
Honduras
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Ivory Coast
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Juan Fernandez Islands
Kenya
Kiribati
Kuwait
Latvia
Lebanon
Libya
Lithuania
Macau
Madagascar
Madeira
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Marion & Prince Edward Island
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Mexico
Monaco
Montenegro
Montserrat
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar (Burma)
Namibia
Nauru
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands
Nicaragua
Niue
Norfolk Island
Northern Marianas
Norway
Oman
Palau (Belau)
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Philippines
Pitcairn Island
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Qatar
Reunion Island
Romania
Russia
Saba
Samoa
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Sint Maarten
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands
South Korea
Spain
Spanish Virgin Islands
Sri Lanka
St Barts
St Helena
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Martin
St Pierre & Miquelon
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Statia
Subantarctic & Southern Ocean Islands
Sudan
Suriname
Sweden
Syria
Taiwan
Tanzania
Thailand
Tokelau
Tonga
Trinidad & Tobago
Tristan da Cunha
Tunisia
Turkey
Turks & Caicos
Tuvalu
US Virgin Islands
USA
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Wallis and Futuna
Yemen
Add/Update Your Business
If you would like your business to be listed, or the details are wrong, please update your business