St. Helena is one of the most remote places on earth, located basically in the middle of nowhere, west of Angola in the South Atlantic. With no airport it is the perfect hide out if you need to be cut of from the world for a bit. However, it is still hard to get there.
How I got there:
I ended up on St. Helena accidentally. Some years ago I had hitchhiked to South Africa from the North of Norway (I’ll write more about that trip another time.) When I finished the journey I just hung out in Cape Town for a while. That’s where I met Mr. Dan, at an afterparty. He told me he was travelling on a sailboat due to cross the Atlantic as soon as they found an extra crew and since I was so tired of the road, I thought I’d join them and become a sailor. I wouldn’t have to see road for weeks!
The next day I didn’t even remember Dan’s name, but I did find him and he introduced me to Captain Tom. He was a 61-year old American who had been sailing for 5 years and was scared of the day he would return to his wife. Tom asked me if I had been sailing before. I hadn’t, really, but since I didn’t want to disappoint him and I really wanted a ride to Brazil, I told him that I grew up on an Island. Which is true, but it doesn’t make me very experienced with sailboats. After that he just asked me about the Lofoten Islands (the islands where I’m from) and it was smooth sailing from there…
…Until we actually started sailing. We set off quickly the next day hoping to get ahead of a storm Captain Tom had seen on his weather systems. Naturally I was cool with that, as you know. I even had my own cabin below deck on this 43-foot proper sailboat.
On the trip the three of us rotated shifts to keep watch. My first night on the boat I had to stay up and keep us on course, manually, while looking out for other ships. But the storm hit us causing water to splash all over which temporarily destroyed the Autopilot. I knew I was screwed and I started to wonder what the fuck I had signed up for. Was it giong to be like this for 4 weeks?! Cold and wet, I managed to navigate the sailboat without sails into a nice little circle during my 2-hour nightshift. Mr. Tom was not impressed…
When the storm died out it turned out sailing was pretty easy and not so much adventure anyways. After about a week we came to Namibia where we stocked up on fresh water and food before we headed across the Atlantic.
Day after day on the open sea, we only saw seals and birds and a few ships. We kept busy by reading books and practicing speaking English with a Brazilian accent. You know, to be prepared when we, eventually, would hit the other side. I read a book called 76 Days Adrift at Sea. Which proved to be bad timing for that book. It is about a super careful boat builder who is sailing his ultra safe boat over the Atlantic. He had all the safety equipment, but his boat still sunk. Somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic I realized we had almost no safety equipment, not even a raft, in case of emergency. If you ever end up crossing an ocean in a sailboat, you might want to check these things before you set sail.
Eventually we saw fewer and fewer birds. Finally, like a saving grace we spotted St. Helena. After the second week alone on a boat with two strangers all you want to do is stretch your legs, say hey to some random people, and drink beer. The moment we sat our foot on St. Helena, we started exploring the Island.
On The Island:St. Helena is only 122 square kilometers and its population consists of descendants from British settlers and African slaves. Their dialect is really funny and was a bit tricky to get used to.
Mr. Dan and I got off the boat and decided to get on any bus just to see where it would take us. Unfortunately, it was Wednesday which meant there was no bus running that day. We figured one of the advantages of being on a small island is that you can take extra holidays during the week, since you’re already days away from the rest of civilization.
With a population of only 4,250 everyone knows everyone, and a guy in a pick-up truck knew we were the ones on the boat. He asked us if we wanted a ride. We jumped in his beat-up Ford and he took us to Diana’s Peak, the highest point on the island.
There we had a relaxing outdoor bath and some lunch before we started walking towards Lots Wife, a Huge monumental Stone on the volcanic part of the island. All the locals with their funny accents told us you couldn’t possibly walk up there. The thing is, we’ve heard this kind of warning in every corner of the world and were still pretty sure we could walk there. Hadn’t we just crossed the Atlantic? Sort of? So we carried on.
After having walked through a few villages where we realized the inbred factor was astonishingly high on this island. Probably because of the small population and the fact that the island is days away from anywhere. At the same time we noticed more and more “No Trespassing” signs. The sun was setting and the island was getting darker and darker just as we cruised along the top of a ridge with loose stones on both sides. Mr. Dan and I weren’t so used to hiking volcanic rocks and it’s no joke to say we almost died a couple of times before we found a place we could put up our tent. At one point we actually jumped down a dried river as it was our last way to safety.
The next day we woke up to a fantastic view over the Atlantic and Lots Wife. Then we walked more until we hitched a ride to the house where Napoleon was kept under surveillance during his last years. The house is very beautiful to say the least and one of the biggest tourist attractions on the island (however it is nothing like the adventure we had finding Lots wife.) We made friends with the gardener who let us in for free and then cracked open a long-awaited beer on the porch.
After nine days on St. Helena, we set sail for Brazil in what would become my longest crossing so far. With slow winds and dead still sea it took us about 18 days to reach the Brazilian coast. By then Mr. Dan and I spoke fluent English with a Brazilian accent and we added Mr.’s to our first names. That’s when I became Mr. Matias.
While Gaza is under attack and God only knows what is going down in Syria, Lebanese Rapper Kiki C released her single “The Mediterranean,” in which she raps “It’s about to be a great year!”
Cleverly enough Kiki C, the rapper who sounds like Ke$ha but still looks like an Arab porn popstar, avoids mentioning who this is ‘about to be a great year’ ... [more]
An ivestegatory video report about who is the Original P of Norwegian Music!
Since moving back to Norway after 4 years in Lebanon, a lot has happened on the music front. Before I had only heard about one P in Norwegian music and that was ONKLP. Nowadays we also have Admiral P and Store P (there is actually a guy called Tande P too but he has gone missing), so it is bit complicated to find out who is the Original P. We made a mini documentary to find out!
In th... [more]
– How to get your blood pumping in the richest country in the world!
For the past few weeks, my Facebook feed has been flooded with videos of people from the North of Norway throwing themselves into super cold ice water.
The viral Facebook challenge to “Film yourself while you jump into the freezing water and challenge your friends to do the same” exploded causing thousands of people from the north of Norway to look death straight in the ey... [more]
Sick and tired of Lebanon – But can’t get a visa? This could be the solution for you!
If it’s because of the slow internet, the lack of possibilities, the Syrian spillover or the never ending increasing danger of sectarian violence that makes you want to leave Lebanon, this alternative could be YOUR chance to get out of Lebanon and get a “fresh” start, som... [more]
Jewish British MP Sir Gerald Kaufman discussing the situation in Israel!
“Most of my parents’ families – because my parents came here as refugees – most of my parents families were murdered in the Holocaust. When the Germans came to the town from which my mother came in Poland, Stachov, they lined up all the Jews to march to the railway station to be put in cattle-wagons. But for those who were not well enough to march, they killed them on t... [more]