Report of the annual vogage of the SA Agulhas II, which visited the Tristan Group between 10th September and 3rd October 2014.

2014 SA Agulhas Voyage

The Voyage

MV SA Agulhas II departed Cape Town as scheduled at 2pm on Thursday 4th September for its annual trip to Tristan da Cunha and on to Gough Island for the transfer of the teams spending a year on the island.

The Agulhas is the most popular ship to offer a passage to Tristan da Cunha and this year a record 42 passengers are aboard bound for the island. The Ovenstone vessels MV Edinburgh and Baltic Trader can carry only 12 passengers, so a maximum of 96 people reach Tristan on their 8 voyages.

SA Agulhas II arrived at 06.00 GMT on Wednesday 10th September. Passengers were unloaded during 5 helicopter flights starting at 08.00. Cargo was also unloaded on Wednesday 10th September but on Thursday 11th SA Agulhas II set sail for Gough via Inaccessible and Nightingale Islands to drop off conservation personnel.

The voyage allows visitors a possible 25 nights ashore and SA Agulhas II is scheduled to depart on Saturday 4th October and arrive back in Cape Town on 9th October. The ship usually sticks to its schedule but there are no certainties in the South Atlantic!

See the Shipping News Page for passenger details

Photos from Tina Glass taken on 10th September show the SA Agulhas II arriving at Tristan and preparing to launch the helicopter to ferry passengers ashore.

Agulhas Helicopter ferries passengers from ship to the American Fence Field (also the school playing field and cattle pasture)

First passengers ashore included Chief Islander Ian Lavarello with Islanders Piers Hagan, Dilys Green and Ches Lavarello (above right and below left)

Administrator Alex Mitham and his wife Hasene are shown arriving back below.

More views from Tina of SA Agulhas II on 10th September including a view right of offloading in progress in good sea conditions that day.

Welcome Sign Erected

In preparation for the Agulhas arrival the famous welcome sign was brought out of storage and erected on its site opposite the Post Office and Tourism Centre as a focus for visitors. Photos from Shirley Squibb.

Historic Service in St Mary's Church

as Islander Rev Lorna Lavarello-Smith celebrates Holy Communion on her return home

Rev Lorna Lavarello-Smith made an emotional return to her home Church of St Mary's to celebrate Holy Communion with her family and friends on Sunday 14th September alongside Rev Denzall Snell and Lay Minister Carlene-Glass Green.

See Church News 2014 for full report and more photos

Views of the group walking the 'volcano road' (above),
scrambling on the abrasive lava (above right)
and standing on the summit cone (below).

1961 Volcano Hike on 16th September

Report and photos from Dawn Repetto

Weather improved for visitors and on Tuesday 16th September I took a group of seven visitors to the 1961 Volcano.

Weather was great and this was the biggest group taken on an Agulhas trip in a few years. The group heard all about the the eruption in 1961, how the island was evacuated and how it changed the lives of the islanders.

The tour started at 11am and took just over two hours, ending with hot coffee and date slice in Cafe da Cunha.

Was it worth it?
We think the photo below of the Tristan Settlement of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas speaks louder than words.

Volcano Hikers, left to right: Catherine Searle, Cindy Stoffberg, Mickey Trauernicht, Brigette Stoffberg, Joel Poulain, Drew Smith and Paul Johnson

Café da Cunha Lunch

Report from Tina Glass & Photo from Shirley Squibb

Photo right shows a scene on Wednesday 17th September in the Café da Cunha showing Agulhas visitors and locals who enjoyed a light lunch of pea soup and freshly baked rolls with other refreshments and sweet treats also available. It was a nice get together for a chat and watch a DVD film 'A step out of Time' about the 1961 volcanic eruption.

For other photos of 2014 Agulhas visitors at Café
see the Café da Cunha webpage

Thatched House Museum Visit on 19th September

Report from Museum Curator Shirley Squibb.
Photos from Tourism Coordinator Dawn Repetto

The Tristan Traditional Thatched House Museum was opened for visitors on Thursday 18th September. There were about twelve visitors who took lots of photos and enjoyed seeing what life was like before the 1961 volcanic eruption.

Photos show visitors approaching the house and a group within, left to right, Rev Lorna Lavarello-Smith, her husband Drew, Museum Curator Shirley Squibb in her traditional costume, Paul Johnson and Joel Poulain.

Administrator's Reception for Agulhas Visitors and the local community held in the Prince Philip Hall on Friday 19th September

Photos from Dawn Repetto

Administrator Alex Mitham gave a speech which follows;

Thank you for all coming this evening. It’s nice to see so many people here. I will keep this brief - The Agulhas is always a hectic time for the island - with so many events and parties going over the three weeks for visitors and families alike.

However I think this year, more than any other, the Agulhas visitors have mainly been family and friends - and for an island where the community and the sense of community spirit is so important - its wonderful that so many relatives have returned to spend time with their loved ones.

Now I know the weather could be a lot better! – with people having to swim rather than walk to work! But There are another two weeks before the Agulhas returns to Cape Town and I really hope that all the tourists have an opportunity to experience and appreciate all the island has to offer - while families are able to spend as much quality time as possible to catch up with your nearest and dearest.

I just hope everyone enjoys this evening and enjoys themselves over the next few weeks. As ever my thanks to Cynthia, Geraldine, Anita, Sasha and Emma for looking after the hospitality and Jonathan and Dean for taking care of the music.

Images of the dance that followed
the Administrator's Reception

Craft Day

A Craft Day took place on 23rd September
in the Post Office and Tourism Centre.

For the complete set of Shirley Squibb's photos
of the event go to our Craft Days page.

2014 Open Golf Championship

The Tristan Open Golf Championship was held for locals and Agulhas visitors on 25th September 2014

For a full report and more photos go to our
Golf Club page.

Shirley Squibb's photo right shows play around the 19th hole!

Photos of the hiking group and their departure from Shirley Squibb.

Mountain Climb

Dawn Repetto reports that the weather was again kind on Friday 26th September so Agulhas visitors managed a hike to Burnt Wood. All met outside Post and Tourism Centre and after completing the journey across the Settlement Plain by Land Rover were then led by Shane Green and Clive Glass onto The Base. A Peak walk was planned but due to exceptionally cold weather and lots of snow island guides felt it would be unsuitable. We will keep our fingers crossed for next year.

Ice Bucket Challenge

An Ice Bucket Challenge was held in aid of the Pensioners' Svensson - Endstom Fund during the afternoon of Sunday 28th September and organised by dentist, Penny Granger.

A grand total of £490 was raised by the sporting participants.

Photos show:

Above right: Penny soaking the first participant Gillian Repetto

Above left: Stan Riley following the pattern after a first soaking of then dousing himself with the bucket of water that their feet was in!

Left: Factory ice was checked at 1.3C.

Below left: Stan pouring over Michelle Lavarello

Below right: Michelle pouring over Penny

Bottom Left: Penny pouring over Andy Williams

Bottom right: Stan and Penny pouring the water over Danny Swain

Linda Potgieter's 50th Birthday

Linda Potgieter's 50th Birthday was celebrated with a party held in the Prince Philip Hall on Saturday 27th September.

Linda had joined her husband Kobus on SA Agulhas and the party included a popular dance for the community and Agulhas visitors.

See more photos on the 2014 Birthday Page

Performing Arts Show

A St Mary's School Performing Arts Show was performed on Tuesday 30th September in the Prince Philip Hall for Agulhas visitors, parents and other community members.

Farewell Reception on 2nd October

Photos and Report from Shirley Squibb

Administrator Alex Mitham hosted a Reception in the Post Office and Tourism Centre for Agulhas visitors on Thursday 2nd October prior to the ship's departure the following day.

The food was prepared by Café da Cunha staff. Alex concluded the reception with a speech of thanks.

And finally....

Agulhas passengers and their luggage were flown aboard by helicopter on Friday 3rd October, a day earlier than scheduled on a poor day that would have made use of boats impossible.

Shirley Squibb's photos show the scenes on the American Fence field as passengers and their Tristan hosts gathered in the driving rain to safely board the awaiting vessel. More photos of the ship and flights are on the
Shipping News July to December 2014 Page.