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Ascension Island diary - January 8


Day 13 - January 8th


Saturday morning is the one time the island museum is open so after breakfast and a quick dip in the Georgetown pool we make our way through the busy heart of Georgetown (the shop car park is heavy with at least 6 vehicles, mainly Landrovers or other 4x4s) to the Fort Hayes Gallery.



The Island history society was formed sometime around 1966 and today the Fort Hayes Gallery contains a wealth of material. Many of the old photographs hanging on the wall provide insights into the way the island has changed over the last 100 or so years.

The current island heritage society website is very comprehensive and informative if you want to know more about the island's history.

Having worked our way round all the photos/pictures/old telegraph equipment we are glad to step out side as the Gallery does not have any windows (or air-conditioning) and is pretty humid.

Just back up the road is a small garage housing several restored vehicles.



 Given how precious water used to be prior to the arrival of the BBC power station in the sixties which provided desalinated  water as well as power, one wonders how effective the fire engine would have been. Although perhaps it had the ability to use sea-water.

Next to it is a small carriage which Lynda gives the once over. It makes our Landrover look positively high-tech.



 Last and actually least in size in the restored and working US army jeep from WWII.


These looked pretty big in "The Longest Day"  with Robert Mitchum et al. driving, but in the flesh they seem almost toy like. However perhaps that is just as well as during WWII there was a radar station half way round Elliot's path at the top of Green Mountain and I find it incredible they drove jeeps up to it. In fact, one of the bulldozers employed to widen the southern half, so that jeeps could drive along it, slipped off the path and got stuck, poised over a large drop and is rumoured to still be there hidden by large ginger plants.

By now, we have worked up a good thirst and can hear the plaintive call of a cold beer calling from the  Anchor Inn.



Outside, where we left a dust encrusted 4x4 first thing, now stands a gleaming clean Landrover, as whilst we have been doing our cultural, historical bit, the Scouts have had a sponsored car cleaning morning and eventually raised several hundred pounds for the island to go towards their contribution to the general appeal the island is doing for the asian tsunami. 



As no part of the island is very far from the sea,  the islanders seem to feel a very particular and special affinity for the suffering and pain caused by Asian disaster.


Actually the Scouts picked the right time for their car wash morning as apparently the US base has got a car wash, but it had been out of action for several days. I had been wondering for a while why all the vehicles with US plates always seemed so clean, but had never imagined that the island possessed a car wash anywhere.


Everything on the island gradually acquires a thin coating of fine red volcanic dust, and up to a few hours ago our Landrover was no exception.


Anyhow time for a few more beers and another late afternoon swim but no more photos today, but loads to come tomorrow when we plan to walk up to the dew pond at the summit of Green Mountain.


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