A love letter to the RMS St Helena
We love the RMS St Helena!
We love the sight of her anchored in James Bay. The meal chimes for lunch and dinner, but never breakfast. The gentle engine hum sending you off to sleep. The daily newsletter slid under your cabin door. The familiar voice of Dave Mitchell singing “My St Helena Island” across the tannoy. We love everything she is, and all she has meant over the years.
We love she is called RMS St Helena. We are proud to call her ours. Proud to work on her. Proud to travel on her. No matter how long she is absent, or whenever her engine broke down, she bravely soldiered on, and made it back home. She is so much more than just an just old ship. Built especially for St Helena, she projected the best of us into the world. Taking a piece of the island wherever she went to delight and share. We love her for the pride she makes us feel in ourselves and fellow saints.
We love (and will miss) the ‘Ship days’. The Island awash with chatter — What time does she get here? How many passengers? “I hear so-and-so’s Aunty is coming home after 40 years” Is there potatoes onboard? Will Thorpes and Solomons have enough? Queuing out the door at the Post Office for that long awaited parcel that has finally arrived. Or waiting to collect that box out of the container after 3 months. Waiting in anticipation for the first coach load of passengers to disembark, cranning to see who has arrived. Seeing unexpected but familiar faces whose real names you don’t know, but whose nickname everyone shouts out as they work their way slowly through the crowd shaking hands, sharing hugs, all the “hows you darlin” and “lurvies”. We love her for the precious cargo she safety carries home to us.
We love putting on our best “Going off in” clothes. Sailing with her for the first time, watching St Helena sink away over the horizon, focusing on her Union Jack dancing in the breeze whilst fighting to hold back the tears. She comforted us with friendly smiles. With Beef Tea and frog racing, with cabaret nights, with 3 delicious meals a day (5 if you were hungry and quick enough), with cold beers, with exceptional BBQ’s under the stars, and with new friends. She turned our tears happy as St Helena would raise again back over the horizon. Steady as she goes, she always got us home. We love her for being the endearing constant in all our travels.
We love that she gets to be celebrated. For all those who have worked on her over the years and to those who now make her final journey, thank you for taking fantastic care of us all. As her anchor is hoisted up, and her horn echos across James Bay one last time. As we wave goodbye to our friend one last time. We remember “My St Helena Island” playing on her tannoy “My heart is drifting southward. To my home down in the sea. It’s the isle of St. Helena. Where my loved ones wait for me. Long since I left it. But I’ll soon be going home. To my St. Helena island.” She always carried love back home to us. We love our RMS St Helena!
Emma-Jane & Robin