Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Ascension Island Landing - It's Character Building

While the open ocean anchorage sets the tone, going ashore here extends the challenge to visiting cruisers.  With no harbour or breakwater, the landing platform is an exposed concrete shelf on the end of the wharf, set just above the high tide level. As you can see above, the ocean surge can easily cover that with swirling water, on almost every wave cycle when the tide is high.

On our second day ashore the swell had really increased, so we tied the dinghy to an off-shore buoy and were ferried to the landing in a US Air Force safety boat that was monitoring barge loading at the same wharf.  Everything has to be timed "just so" - approach the wall on the high and as the swell drops the boat comes alongside the ledge and you step ashore quickly, to immediately run up the steps before the next swell engulfs you.  Meanwhile the boat driver is getting away from the wall before the next swell arrives.

We're getting good at it now, and our new Tohatsu 9.8hp engine has certainly worked hard getting the dinghy in and out rapidly between each wave cycle - one person or one bag ashore per wave is the best we can manage. When the swell is really big you simply cannot get off the boat - we have friends who were here last month and eventually departed without setting foot on shore.

Dry Feet This Time, Thanks To The USAF Safety Boat

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