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SAINT HELENA ADVENTURE

Philippines Anilao pink fan fish shutterstock 261263369 optDIVE, SNORKEL & EXPLORE
two weeks of discovery
March 19 - April 2. 2023


The volcanic island of St Helena, located in the Atlantic Ocean far away from the shore of Africa, is home to courting whale sharks from January to March. Join us to observe the rituals of the courting whale sharks & enjoy the diverse south Atlantic diving. 


SO, WHERE EXACTLY ARE WE GOING ?


Saint Helena is known to many as the island "home" to Napoleon Bonaparte at the end of his life.  He was exiled there after his defeat at Waterloo.  

Inhabited by humans only since the 1500's, the islands is located in "the middle of nowhere" in the Atlantic Ocean,  St Helena is 4,000 kilometres (2,500 miles) east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,950 kilometres (1,210 miles) west of Namibia and Angola in southwestern Africa.  Saint Helena’s land area includes just 123 square kilometers and the total population is somewhere around 5000. However, the island has its own stamp system and its own currency. Television has only been around since 1995 and the cell phone network since mid-2018.

Since the opening of the island's airport in 2017, tourism has begun to develop in small degrees and divers have been coming here to experience a world quite unlike others they know with the most tantalizing draw being the spring migration of whale sharks.

Whale sharks of the region apparently know it as "Lover's Lane" during the early months of the year as large numbers come here to mate.   Your trip will include multiple snorkeling sessions to observe their behavior.

Current regulations prohibit deliberate scuba diving with the whale sharks during this season but snorkeling is permitted.  Also, should you encounter the whale sharks during the regularly scheduled dives on this expedition, you will be allowed to hang out to observe them.

St Helena whale sharks sp exp


AND, WHAT ABOUT THE DIVING ?


 Below the water’s surface, you’ll find crystal clear visibility of 50 to 60 meters, combined with a surprising variety & abundance of marine life.  Black sand, lava tunnels and lava arches characterize geography.  You'll find beautiful caverns housed in limestone rock where photo ops are excellent. There are plenty of big fish and in the high season, the whale sharks. ​Chilean devil rays seem to love the fingers of lava which extend into the ocean and pinnacle sites are home to schools of rainbow runner and jacks. There are a handful of excellent wrecks too.

The island is also home to hordes of (mostly endemic) fish, with crayfish abounding in every crevasse. Vertical cliffs, overhangs and rocks are covered in clouds of the native white & yellow Saint Helena butterflyfish which are considered a symbol of the local underwater landscape.

You may also spot sunfish, mobulas & manta rays, green & hawksbill turtles, several types of moray eels as well as tuna and wahoo. During the boat trips, you can expect huge schools of dolphins, often with hundreds of animals, and of course, on those boat trips you’ll be focused on scouting for whale sharks !

Philippines 5 photo composite opt


 ITINERARY OVERVIEW


This two-week itinerary is designed to give you a full introduction to the remote island of Saint Helena. Quite a long trek is required for getting here and it would be a shame to spend 3 or 4 days in the water, then zoom away back to "civilization".  This itinerary allows you serious water time but also time to explore this fascinating island and all of its history.

To view the diving & activity program at a glance  ... 1st week & 2nd week ... open here

St Helena is a small island with little tourism.  The attractions you will want to see are not open every day so the itinerary has been planned around opening days and hours to try to ensure that you see as much as possible of the history and natural beauty of the destination.

WEEK ONE

Sunday

morning: twin tank dive
afternoon: whale shark "scouting"

The dive sites are not far away from your accommodation.  Time to access is usually less than 10-15 minutes. Diving is mostly in the morning but there will also likely be a possibility to book an additional afternoon dive (at extra cost).

Monday
morning: twin tank dive
afternoon: whale shark "scouting"

Tuesday

morning: twin tank dive
afternoon: hike to Banks Battery
Hike to the rugged & spectacular promontory on which is perched a great defensive 18th century military installation, Banks Battery.

Wednesday
morning & afternoon: one single tank dive each 9:00 am & 3:00 pm:
followed by “Napoleon On Saint Helena” tour

Thursday

morning: twin tank dive
afternoon: hike to Diana's Peak
Highest point on the island, the leisurely climb to Diana's Peak will wind through tree ferns, tall pines and a variety of endemic plants. Your hike will also take you through remains of the once large flax plantations, from which came great wealth before nylon ropes were invented. 

Friday
morning: twin tank dive
afternoon: at leisure, possibly rental car excursion
evening: night dive

Saturday
morning: "Sandy Bay & Lot ́s Wife Ponds" tour
afternoon: at leisure, possibly rental car excursion
The path alone is worth the walk ... a steep & narrow mountain path with countless switchbacks leads you reach Sandy Bay. where old cannons still lie on the island's only sandy beach. There's also an adjoining fortress, which has recently undergone some restoration. A moderately difficult hiking trail gets you from here to Lot ́s Wife ́s Ponds, natural salt-water ponds are inviting for a little dip. Start early to avoid mid-day heat.

WEEK TWO
Sunday
morning: twin tank dive
afternoon: whale shark "scouting"

Monday
morning: twin tank dive
afternoon: whale shark "scouting"

Tuesday

morning: twin tank dive
afternoon: hike to Lemon Valley & BBQ
While there's no beach at Lemon Valley, space can be found under the cliffs for a barbecue and you can sunbathe on the rocks or swim in the sea (no unsafe currents) and explore the remains of the fortifications and the old quarantine station.

Wednesday

morning: twin tank dive
afternoon: at leisure, possibly rental car excursion
evening: night dive

Thursday

morning: twin tank dive
afternoon: Longwood House tour
Longwood House is where Napoleon Bonaparte lived from early 1816 to death on May 5, 1821. The well-preserved house with audio tour gives a good insight into the life and final years of the emperor.

Friday

morning: twin tank dive
afternoon: at leisure, possibly rental car excursion

Saturday

morning: free at leisure
afternoon: departure from Saint Helena at 2.30pm .

After a last night and a relaxed morning you'll go directly to Saint Helena airport, with departure at 2:30 p.m. arriving in Johannesburg late evening. An overnight stay in Johannesburg is virtually unavoidable due to flight schedules. Alternatively, you can stay in South Africa or travel on to Namibia. 

We would be happy to advise you and put together an extension package for you, should you desire.


ACCOMMODATION


Standard accommodation:
The Blue Lantern is composed of 8 large en-suite rooms, a restaurant and common areas. There are 2 twin rooms and 6 queen rooms …but, the queens can be made into twin beds. Each room has two bedside tables, a small desk with drawers and a large closet with plenty of storage space. The shared balcony with seating area offers a view of the Nara Backs and part of Jacob's Ladder.

The in-house restaurant offers a good breakfast as well as very good evening menus (á la carte). Due to the difficult supply situation on the island, you have to always order in the morning what you want to eat in the evening. Fresh fish and crayfish are available as well various steaks and other dishes. The drinks menu offers an unusually extensive selection.

Other amenities include cable channels & flat screen TV in the lounge, air conditioning in the lounge, a fan in each room, coffee & tea-making facilities. Breakfast is included in the room price but WiFi is extra.

St Helena Werner sp exp

Deluxe accommodation:
The 4-star Mantis Hotel is a combination of restored historic buildings dating from 1774 and a new contemporary building situated in the heart of Jamestown, a few minutes’ walk from the sea front, swimming pool, museum, Jacob’s Ladder, public library, archives, shops, and bars.  The buildings originally served as an officer’s barracks for the East India Company. They served as military accommodation up until the last garrison left the island in the 1900’s. The original buildings were constructed from stone, bonded together with mud and mortar, pointed and rendered with lime which also formed the whitewash, with teak flooring. This 30-room boutique hotel has a large restaurant, the best on the island, bar and guest lounge and two outdoor terraces.

St Helena : Mantis Mantis Hotel below

st Helena mantis hotel composite

RATES, WHAT'S INCLUDED, WHAT'S EXTRA, MISCELLANEOUS DETAILS


You'll take your international flights to Johannesburg, South Africa.  There is one flight weekly from Johannesburg to Saint Helena ... on Saturday morning ... so it is imperative that you arrive in Johannesburg the day before. Your flight to Saint Helena departs at 9:00 a.m Saturday, arriving at 13:15 … after a fuel stop in Namibia. Your transfer will take you across the beautiful Island to Jamestown, where you can settle into your accommodation.

DATES & RATES:

March 19 - April 2, 2023
£2990 (GBP) per person

Standard:
Two sharing a double or twin room £2990 (GBP)

Deluxe (Mantis hotel) supplemental rates on top of £2990 :
Contemporary room : +  £950 for 2
Heritage room:  + £1050 for 2
Heritage suite:  + £1200 for 2

Included in the rate:

  • diving & accommodation
  • breakfast
  • all activities listed on the itinerary
  • transfer from Saint Helena airport to hotel ... and return
  • tanks & weights
  • photo package from your photo pro guide

Extras :

  • airfare
  • insurance
  • meals other than breakfast
  • drinks (other than coffee & tea)
  • extra dives
  • car rental

.

see 9-night trip with budget accommodation


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