Administrator Philip Kendall's report and photos

MFV Lance's June 2024 passage to Tristan

Back to Tristan by Philip Kendall

The journey from the UK back to Tristan is never a short one especially if, as we did, you take advantage of having a bit of time in Cape Town.

Arriving at Cape Town airport is familiar to us now, so it didn't take long to find our meeting point outside Woolworths where an ever smiling Julian Swain met us and took us to our hotel.

Although we had 5 nights in Cape Town, the time wasn't long enough for everyone who wanted to see the 'Admin' so I packed in as many meetings as possible. A priority as always was to see Vourn, Sean and Tracey and to visit Tristan House. It was good to see how recent improvements, paid for by the FCDO, had made a big difference to the inhabitants of Tristan House. New furniture, including beds and a new vehicle used to take islanders to their appointments in Cape Town. A welcome upgrade!

My time in Cape Town also overlapped with Chief Islander James Glass passing through on his way to the UK. It gave us a good opportunity to spend time together to discuss matters of state!

Louise and I took time out on the Saturday to visit some vineyards in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. A small bit of downtime ahead of our journey across the ocean.

MFV Lance in dock at Cape Town

Fresh vegetables ready for loading Louise Kendall settling into the cabin

Departure day is always a bit chaotic, but with Julian Swain on hand to guide us through the system, things ran smoothly. Immigration done, we boarded the Lance. For us this was our first time aboard this ship which we have seen so frequently from our lawn on Tristan. This also means we have now completed the holy trinity of ships that currently service Tristan, having arrived on the Aghulas II last year and travelled to Gough on the Edinburgh in March and now the Lance.

Philip and Louise at the safety drill

Sailing towards the sunset

The journey from Cape Town to Tristan in winter is not for everyone. Of the twelve passengers aboard her this time, five confined themselves to take comfort of their cabins for the journey. The rest of us, including Louise and I, spent the time talking, reading, writing and working our way through the onboard DVD collection. The detox from news, emails and other forms of internet was quite refreshing!

Putting the world to rights in the Lance's lounge are, right to left,
Allan Swain, Neil Swain, Philip Kendall and factory manager Wynand van Vuuren.

Also onboard were four new Border Collie puppies for the island. Five month old brothers setting off for their new lives as working dogs on Tristan.

Swell day.

After 9 days at sea we were still 100 miles from Tristan when we ran into some rough conditions. The Captain took the decision to hold position and wait for things to calm down before making the final approach. We finally arrived on the morning of the tenth day.

View of Tristan

The raft approaching

The view of the pre-dawn lights of the Settlement was a welcome sight for us, but especially for the returning islanders. The smiles on their faces as we waited for the raft to collect us showed me just how much this island means to them.

Passengers being hoisted towards the waiting raft in the box people-carrier

It was then a race against time to get to the anchorage and offload the passengers, dogs and cargo before the weather turned again.

Lance at anchor off Tristan

Thank you Captain James, the crew of the Lance and everyone at Ovenstone for providing this essential lifeline.