A bit of travel, sustainability, crème brûlée - that sort of thing.

Jacob's ladder

First stop – the remote island of St Helena

By on June 21, 2014

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Somewhere in the Middle of the Atlantic Ocean there is one not particularly big, but quite a remarkable volcanic island. Remote and isolated from the rest of the world, St. Helena archipelago is an extraordinary place. Time seems to have stopped here somewhere in the last century, and that brings a sense of calmness and serenity, a rare find in the modern world. The island is inhabited by ‘Saints’. Many of them are descendants from slaves from old slave ships coming from different places; thus people there show a genetic variety unlike any other place I’ve been to. They are wonderful and very kind people. They smile and wave at every passing car!

The Saints smoke one brand of cigarettes, can buy fresh fruit and vegs only on Thursdays and are the least materialistic nation I’ve met. As one lady told me: ‘We do not have everything, but we make the most of what we have. And if someone has too much of home grown vegetables, they just share the excess with their neighbours’.

The island is entirely supported by British tax payers and therefore has got a very strange economy. All the jobs are those paid for by the government: firemen, teachers,  social workers etc. The private sector is virtually non existent.

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Not in many places can you loose your bag with money and documents, call a fire brigade, who will find it for you and drop it at a police station. Jake was so happy to find his belongings intact. We were also amused to use the public phone on ‘Long Street’ -see the photo. The telephone numbers on the island are short and simple. Something like 2233.

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The history lovers will also find it invaluable to visit the house and grave of Napoleon, who was sent to the island as a prisoner and eventually died there. Although interesting fact, the grave is actually empty. The body was shipped to France, as ordered by Bonaparte himself.

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Plantation – the house of the governour. Inhabited by the oldest Saint on the island. The tortoise below.

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Robert, probably the nicest guide on Earth, has his own little company : ‘History on wheels’. He is related to everyone successful on the island and has enough stories to keep you busy (and interested) for an entire day.

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Black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophrys),  circumpolar in the southern oceans.SONY DSC

Currently the only way to access the island is from the water, but they are building an airport. And this is pretty unfortunate, because the island will loose its charm once the herds of rich tourist flying on chartered aircrafts will flood the peaceful land. And there will be many of them, because it is a recently discovered location for whale sharks migrations and one of the best places to dive with those magnificent animals.

Posted in: Eco tourism, History, Travel
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Jake and Sophie, checking in

By on May 4, 2014

Dear blog, This is Jake and Sophie, checking in via email through the sat-phone, from the deep blue international waters of the Atlantic, off the coast of Namibia, around 22 degrees  South, 006 degrees  East. As I write it is

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Atlantic crossing

By on April 26, 2014

It is happening. We’re finally ready for the Atlantic crossing – let’s begin the journey to the other side of the world! We’re leaving in less than an hour. There will not be a way of contacting us for a while.

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Kelp collection – wet, cold and slimy

By on April 14, 2014

Only few aquariums in the world have a kelp forest exhibit. And it is because you cannot grow kelp effectively in captivity. In order to maintain living kelp forest, you need to collect the macroalgae on a regular basis. Today

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Sailing, at last!

By on April 10, 2014

At last, the day arrived. After fifty days of waiting, I was madly excited. After more than four years of building, the owner and builders were emotional. We were leaving Knysna behind, and sailing 300nm or so to Cape Town.

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Volunteering at the Two Oceans Aquarium Cape Town, South Africa

By on April 2, 2014

Meantime in the Aquarium, the kindest, nicest and coolest people are working hard to keep the fish happy and healthy. I am deeply grateful to them for offering me a chance to observe the behind the scenes of the aquarist

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Journeys

By on March 16, 2014

We are young, and like many young people, we are addicted to traveling. New places, new people, new cultures – but as soon as the excitement of arrival has worn off we set about planning the next trip. No arrival

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Flamingoes, caracals, lemurs and white bengal tigers

By on March 12, 2014

Eco Tourism – what a weekend!! Zoos make me sad – wild animals, captured and caged,  under stimulated and overfed, watched by a contingent of humans with similar problems, only the humans at least have a choice in the matter.

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Anti fishing and tangling

By on March 10, 2014

Fishing and angling, or more appropriately – Anti fishing and tangling. Jake and Sophie started with six fish. After several hours fishing, they had two fish. How many fish did Jake and Sophie catch?  The answer is 1.5 fish.  Explanation:

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While others sleep… we walk through muddy sea shores.

By on February 28, 2014

Not everyday does one have a chance to swim with endemic seahorses, observe a sleeping octopus and witness a cuttlefish hunting at  night. It would be hard to beat such a day, yet everyday so much happens! each morning brings