This journey was planned for some time, as all journeys to and from St. Helena have to be. You can't just ring up the travel agent and book a passage for next week or even next month. To get there you have to travel on the R.M.S. St Helena which from time to time calls in at Portland, Cape Town, Ascension Island or Walvis Bay. From Cape Town, which we chose, it takes 5 days. Because of bad weather on our return it took 6 days.
It is however, a very comfortable ship; the food is excellent, the crew (many of whom are Saints - residents or former residents of St. Helena) are very helpful, and all in all it provides a pleasant and unique experience. The R.M.S. takes just over 100 passengers - some are returning Saints who live overseas, some are residents who have been to Cape Town for short visits or even medical treatment, some are Government consultants, of whom there are reputedly too many, and some are tourists; a few non-Saints seem to be returning for the umpteenth time.
I personally did a great deal of preparatory reading in the two years or so before I went. My focus was mainly about the period of Napoleon's captivity on the island - which was my main reason for going. My other reason was a desire to visit before the planned airport is built. For once in my life I wanted to experience a really remote place, and places do not come much more remote than this. I should add that my wife accompanied me on this trip; she was not in the least bit interested in Napoleon, but was very keen to share the experience, and she enjoyed St. Helena as much as I did.