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Ascension Island diary - December 30


Day 4 - December 30th


Turtle tracks on long beach, Ascension islandAn early morning walk reveals a beach cross-crossed by what at first sight appears to be World War I tank tracks but are the only visible remains that the Green Turtles have been busy overnight. It is incredible to believe that these turtles have found they way back from just off Recife, in Brazil, where they feed to return to this specific beach on Ascension Island, where they were born, to lay their eggs.


Another day, another breakfast scene. RMS St. Helena is on its way elsewhere but the supply container ship has arrived night.


container ship off Long Beach


After a lazy morning, with a swim and short walk, time for one of Johnny's afternoon treks. 

Up the mountain to the Garden cottage.


Red Lion clock tower, Green Mountain
Red Lion clock tower

Past the now derelict Red Lion, previously the farm workers accommodation and before that the Mountain Barracks.


A short way up and we leave Elliots path for another day and follow a track that takes us into the appropriately named Breakneck Ravine which faces the prevailing moist incoming Trade Winds. Here, in 1830, was where the Royal Engineer Captain H.R. Brandeth concentrated his efforts into developing a water supply for the marines.


At the top of the ravine are areas of concrete and asphalt that were later refinements on his original scheme, as the water source for his original scheme involved digging a shaft in a seam of clay which hit a natural spring at a depth of 30 feet.


Water catchment area


Sheep roam wild over the steep slopes. 


Sheep on Ascension Island


Thick ginger trees now grow up the deepest part of the top end of the ravine.


Wild Ginger


and flax has taken a small foot hold further down.


Flax on Ascension Island

Wind pump on Ascension Island


To get the water back to Georgetown involved pumping it through a tunnel in the mountain.

Initially the pumping was powered by "horsepower" but was later replaced by a windpump. Once the water got up to the tunnel mouth then gravity powered it all the way down to Georgetown.



Meanwhile Finn has found the water tank that fed water troughs which used to provide water for the sheep and cattle.


Finn in water tank ,


Once Finn and Paddy were out of the tank it was time for a well earned break in a glade (the scout campsite) that would not look out of place in the UK.


Picnic site on Ascension Island


Then back to Georgetown for some well needed beers for all, before Johnny and Pete disappear for 5-a-side footy, something the Smiths senior are much happier swapping for a shared bottle of South African wine. At five pounds a bottle, presumably a by-product of shipping costs,  we could be tempted to go teetotal, or there again not. 



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