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Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: St. Helena to Ascension

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Follow Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World at:

After a passage of 1700 miles in 16 days, Slocum arrives at the island of St. Helena on 11Apr1898. He anchors the Spray off Jamestown and goes ashore to pay his respects to the governor, Sir R.A. Sterndale. Once more he is treated well by the dignitaries; in return for two presentations about his voyage he is invited to stay overnight at Plantation House, the governor’s residence up in the hills behind Jamestown; but it’s a double-edged sword — the ‘west room’ where he stays is supposedly haunted and he doesn’t get much sleep:

…the butler, by command of his Excellency, put me up in [the west room]. Indeed, to make sure that no mistake had been made, his Excellency came later to see that I was in the right room, and to tell me all about the ghosts he had seen or heard of. He had discovered all but one, and wishing me pleasant dreams, he hoped I might have the honor of a visit from the unknown one of the west room. For the rest of the chilly night I kept the candle burning, and often looked from under the blankets, thinking that maybe I should meet the great Napoleon face to face; abut I saw only furniture, and the horseshoe that was nailed over the door opposite my bed.

The governor takes Slocum on a tour of the island; on the way back to Jamestown with a fellow American, he visits Longwood, the house in which Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled for the last six years of his life. He died there on 05May1821.

After a lunch at the castle and on receipt of gifts: a large fruit cake from Lady Sterndale, the governor’s wife, and a bag of coffee in the husk from the governor, Slocum sails from St. Helena on 20Apr1898. His companion on the voyage to Ascension is a goat, donated by Clark, an American acquaintance, who claims it would be as friendly as a dog and would bring the benefit of butting the coffee beans out of their pods. Unfortunately, the goat has an appetite for anything and everything edible from grass ropes to Slocum’s straw hat, and his paper chart of the West Indies. Needless to say, the goat is put ashore on arrival at Ascension on 27Apr1898.

The section of Joshua Slocum’s journey reported here introduces Chapter XIX of Sailing Alone Around the World, and this post is a trailer for the adventure that I am retelling in Google Earth at:


1. At the time of writing the island of St. Helena does not display as well as it could when using the Google Earth plug-in, regardless of the browser used; the imagery is very low resolution and the terrain detail is absent. Both of these features are displayed correctly in Google Earth itself. Until this problem is resolved, I have provided a button in the contents against this part of the voyage that allows you to download the kml file to Google Earth. If you also have a problem with that option, you can download it at this url: Chapter XIX part 1

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

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