Photos taken from the Pier Head this week by Richard White show how rough our seas have been of late. Had the RMS been in when the jetty was in this condition it would have been safer for passengers to swim ashore rather than tackle these steps
News this week
On Saturday evening a Turtle Presentation was held at the Obsidian Hotel by Drs Brendan Godley and Annette Broderick, to present up to date research and conservation efforts on Ascension. Dr Brendan Godley also presented a similar talk to the children at Two Boats school on Tuesday.
The President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Mbeki and his wife landed in Ascension Island to refuel twice over the new year, en route to and from Brazil.
On his outgoing flight on 31st December the President and his entourage stayed at the airhead.
On the return flight, however, the President and his wife were invited to the Residency for tea where they met Dr Robyn Reed, Robert Frauenstein and Carl Stroud, some of the South African nationals living on Ascension. The visit took less than two hours and the flight left at 4.30 pm on 2nd January.
Inside the Islander this week, final Metchat from the Makem, a very interesting article on the caster oil plant, MV BBQ and Fireworks party, employment, Church page, Ascension Sports and much more.
How powerful the sea is! - this last weekend the big swell and enormous waves breaking away out from the Pierhead drew a number of onlookers, some of whom got a little wet in their enthusiasm to watch from closer to the steps!
There is a fascination about the sea, about water, that I guess is a primal, basic instinct we came from the water, we grow in water and we are surrounded by water. It's a necessity of life that our power station provides for us by the gallon, de-salinated, filtered and treated. A large part of our island's history depended on the search for water - even for little drops (from Dampier's Drip) collected over days and carted down the mountain side and across far more hazardous tracks than we have today. Now we hardly know or even think about how it is produced we drive past pipes that bring it from the power station, we turn on our taps without even thinking about what goes into the process or how many people work to produce it for us. It is the same with our electricity - we switch on the lights, BFBS on TV or our radios and CD players and expect something to happen! Once again, the source is WATER drawn from the sea that surrounds us and used to power the generators at the power station. We take so much for granted, but it is all part of the God-given on-going amazing process of creation that we are part of and that has been harnessed through the ingenuity of scientists and technicians.
In church yesterday, we read part of the Genesis story of creation - about the "darkness that was over the face of the waters" at the beginning of time and then the light God created to bring it all alive, to give it meaning and sparkle and Life with a capital "L"!
When someone is baptised we use WATER and we give him or her a lighted candle,
the symbol of the LIGHT shining in the darkness and we say:
"Shine as a Light in the world to the glory of God the Father"
The Church is not some Holy Club for the pious and ever-so holy but a body of people committed to continuing the process of creation by lighting up the world with their commitment to LIFE it's a task that is as powerful as Water and as bright as Light. Maybe we should all take it more seriously and in the process, say "thanks" to those who work to supply us - and God too! Fr Brian Lessons
Lessons for next Sunday: 1 Samuel 3, 1-10 and John 1, 43-51
From the Editors:- Adam & Julia
Back in the hot seat again, hope you all had a merry time seeing the New Year in , we had a quiet but very enjoyable evening with our friends and family.
Just when you thought it was all over, another party, MV BBQ and Fireworks sounds fun see you all there.
Finally, it's not often you get anything free these days, so get those collars while you can.
Adam and Julia
the Editor can be sent to
GOVERNMENT MOVE TO NEW PREMISES
During the week commencing Monday 20th January the Administrator's Office, Finance Department, Cashiers Office and SHG Savings Bank will be moving to their new offices. We will, therefore, be able to offer only a restricted service until the move is complete. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.
The various departments will be moving as follows:
The Administrator's Office and Finance Department will start their move on Monday and are intending to be in their new offices and open for business on Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd January respectively.
The Cashiers Office and the Government Savings Bank will offer a normal service from their current premises for the entire week. They will be open for business at the normal time on Monday 27th January 2003 from the new offices.
During the move our voicemail services will be in operation if no one is available to take your call, please leave a message and we will call you back. The same telephone numbers and e-mail addresses will operate both before and after the move until further notice.
There have been numerous comments recently about medical services and medical services on Ascension so I thought I would try and clarify what the current requirements are.
Requirement for Medical Cover
1. If you are on Ascension you must be covered by some kind of medical insurance - whether provided by yourself or provided by your employer - to ensure that you have the means to meet any medical bills which might arise from your illness or accident.
2. Although we have some very skilled medical practitioners on the island the size of the hospital and the range of facilities at our disposal mean that we cannot offer all the services on-island that we would like to. Although one of our medium term aims is to rectify this at the moment we still need to supplement on-island treatment with a medical evacuation facility.
3. At present it remains a personal responsibility to obtain the necessary cover.
4. There are two components to this: on-island medical treatment and off-island medical treatment. The cost of off-island medical treatment includes the cost of medical evacuations, if this is considered necessary.
On-Island Medical Treatment
5. If you come within the local tax regime (whether or not you are actually required to pay tax) you are entitled to on-island medical treatment free of charge. Otherwise you will receive a bill for treatment and medication.
Off-Island Medical Treatment
6. There is no free off-island medical treatment - everyone who needs to be treated overseas will have to pay the cost of transport and treatment. Normally the cost is covered by the employer, but if you are not covered by an employer's insurance you should have your own insurance - or you could be facing a bill of many thousand pounds. (Note that some UK residents working on the island may qualify for free treatment in the UK under the National Health Scheme but even they will have to pay for the costs of transport to the UK.)
Medical Cover Provided by the Employer
7. If you come to Ascension to work your primary employer will provide you with the necessary insurance. This will cover you whether you are at work or not, seven days a week 24 hours a day. It will cover yourself alone if you have an unaccompanied contract but will include you and your dependants if you are employed on accompanied terms.
8. The term "dependants" is defined by the insurance company and in this context means spouse and children up to the age of 18.
Covered by Two Policies?
9. It sometimes happens that someone could be potentially covered by two insurance policies - for example, if you take a second job in the evening or if you are a spouse of someone employed on accompanied terms and you take a job. Under these conditions, the primary employer (ie the one providing employment on accompanied terms) would be required to cover you for most of the time and the secondary employer would only need to cover you when you are at work.
Visitors to Ascension
10. Visitors to the island also need medical insurance. Since a visitor has no employer to cover the costs of the insurance they must cover the cost themselves.
11. Again, it is the personal responsibility of the visitor to obtain the necessary cover. The best advice we can give is to try and source medical insurance before you travel to Ascension.
The Local Insurance Policy
12. The Ascension Island Works & Services Agency sells an insurance policy on the island. Note that this is a policy intended for visitors: it is not intended for people who have come to live on Ascension. In particular it has a time limit: you cannot buy this policy for more than 6 months.
13. It also needs to be recognised that it remains the individuals responsibility to settle medical bills promptly and then to reclaim the money from the insurance company.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
14. Note also that if you already have a medical condition when you take out the policy it is extremely unlikely that any general insurance policy will cover you for any costs incurred in treating this condition. You should read the terms and conditions of your insurance policy and if necessary seek a specialist policy for any pre-existing conditions.
Employers Underwriting Their Own Cover
15. It is generally acceptable for the major businesses to underwrite their own costs of medical cover for their employees. They do not have to take out an insurance policy if the business is large enough to sustain the costs of medical evacuations and UK medical treatment when necessary.
As you can see, at the moment the situation is not perfect. In particular the insurance for part time employees is still to be clarified. To a large extent we are dictated to by the insurance companies, their terms and conditions do not lie within the control of AIG or AIWSA. The premium you have to pay to take out an insurance policy depends upon the insurer's ability to manage its risk and the likely level of claims.
We have not been able to attract any other insurers to offer a policy on the island and those of you who have been to St Helena recently will understand that Ascension is not the only island in that situation.
This is one of the most important issues for us all and work is being done to improve the situation.
You may have heard on the news about traces of the deadly poison, believed to be used in chemical warfare, being found in a London flat.
The occupants of the flat were arrested on suspicion of terrorist activities.
The poison is made from the seeds of Ricinus communis, the Castor Oil Plant which is common on Ascension. It is a striking giant shrub, growing to a height of fifteen feet. It has a red stem, large deeply lobed or star-shaped leaves, and red or red-green flowers. The flowers form small pompoms and are followed by prickly husks that have brown speckled seeds. A whole bean swallowed, but not chewed, may not cause any harm. BUT two to six beans from this pant will KILL an adult person if ingested.
If you are concerned about plants growing near your house, and need help identifying them, do not hesitate to call me or the Conservation Office on 6359.
The new school term started last week and we are now all settled back into school and looking forward to a busy term.
We have welcomed three new pupils to the school this term. Keeton Crowie has joined the Reception class, Danielle Bennett has joined Year 2 and Francesca Arms has joined Year 5.
GCSE 'Mock' Examinations
Our Year 11 pupils have begun their GCSE 'Mock' examinations this week and these will last over will have eight days.
The school's Christmas production proved very successful and I would like to thank all who supported it. As a result of the evening and the raffle a total of £579.20 was raised for school funds. The breakdown is shown below:
|Programme sales||£ 12.00|
The winners of the raffle prizes, all of which were donated, were:
|1st Prize||Christmas Hamper||Steven Bray|
|2nd Prize||Sandwich Toaster||Chester Buckley|
|3rd Prize||Electric Toaster||Kelly Clingham|
Admission to the Nursery
The next admission to the School Nursery class will take place at the start of next term. All children who are three years old on or before 30th April 2003 will be able to join the Nursery class. The expectation is that all such children will be toilet trained before they join the class.
If you have a child who you wish to join the Nursery class please register him/her with the school secretary before February 7th.
That's all from school for this week
The Met Office Weather Report
Statistics for the week ending Monday 13th January 2003
Max (deg C)
Min (deg C)
10.0 on 12th
(Tulloch Bridge, Scotland)
-18.0 on 7th
16.9 on 12th
(Isle of Skye)
Swell: Around 1.5 Metres, mainly from the southeast.
ASCENSION ISLAND:Generally a fine warm week until late on Friday when the island experienced a period of frequent showers through to Saturday evening but by Sunday it was back to normal with plenty of warm sunshine. It was extremely wet during this period, especially on higher ground, with the residency having over 2 inches of rain and travellers recording over an inch.
UK: It was a very cold week in the UK with many areas having some snow. The lowest recorded temperature was in Aviemore in the Scottish Highland with a night time temperature overnight Monday into Tuesday of minus 18 Celsius, this only rising to minus 9 Celsius during the day. The weather gradually became less cold from the NW towards the end of the week with everywhere becoming mild by Monday morning with frost and snow gone.
FALKLANDS: A changeable and at times windy week. Cool at first with temperatures warmer again by the end of the week with the highest temperature on Sunday 12th.
Yet again the time has come for the Makem to scribe his final Metchat, at least for the next few years. The past 5 months has fairly flown by, so much so that it certainly does not feel like I have been here for over 20 weeks. In the usual Met Office tradition, the partying started late last week with the arrival, once again, of "The Ayatollah Susan" in an attempt to keep Makem in check for his final few days. Unfortunately this failed miserably by as early as Friday evening during a "quiet" game of Trivial Pursuit. Due to the amount of Spicy and Gin that was consumed during the evening, "quiet" is not a word that would aptly (or even vaguely) describe it. The evening finally petered out after midnight when Stan Vesta managed to throw the dice under the Basha. Very late in the evening (or rather VERY early in the morning would be more correct) an errant Mettie "McNick" came ambling by, claiming that he had fallen over in the road and broken his glasses, and worse still did not have a spare pair. This caused some consternation to the others, in that while holding the remnants of his windows, he was wearing his spare pair. Makem and McNick grabbed a torch and wandered back down the hill to attempt to find the missing lens, McNick eventually leading Makem to a drainage ditch behind Two site. His explanation for being in the ditch in the first place was along the lines of him having got lost and decided to take a "shortcut" home, after he spotted the lights around the Portal. (This all followed a boozy evening in the Mess arguing with Boggy about football.)
Saturday saw a rather poorly looking McNick arrive in the office at lunchtime for his shift, feeling rather worse for wear. However after several cups of coffee he had begun to perk up sufficiently too hold a sensible conversation without moans and groans and much holding of the head. (we know this is quite normal for most of the met men). The evening saw the usual suspects, minus Stan who was working, take a trip to the VC for tea, this being followed by a couple (and yes I really do mean a couple) of drinks in the Mess.
As is usual in a "scribes" final Metchat, it falls to the departing person
(i.e. me) to say a few words about their time on the island. I have once again
thoroughly enjoyed my time here, mainly due to having such characters as Stan,
Martin, Boggy and the now departed Jonesey to keep me company in the many bars
around the island. A very special mention must however go to Stan, who has been
a great buddy, even taking the time to teach me to play golf, Cheers Bro! Many
laughs have been had with a host of other people, though these are far too numerous
to name individually. My thanks do however go out to the guys from Air Traffic
Control (Bill, Don, Bob and Joe), the Girls in Ops (Marianne, Leanne, Trish
and Clare) and Derek "Boysie" George and the mess staff (Karen, Susan, Joyce,
Nikki and Elaine), even though Karen and Susan did give me plenty of grief on
(most) occasions. Also a big thank you goes to the girls, especially Moira,
Jolene and Celia, who have (and in some case still are) looked after us so well
up at Snob Hill over the past months.
To all of you I hope the future brings you whatever you wish for.
I leave the sunshine and warmth of Ascension for a brief sojourn to the (cold and wet) UK before I fly off again to live on a small, hot and sunny, island in the Eastern Mediterranean (Skiving again! I here you ask). This time however, I will able to get home on a daily basis, (so sobriety looms) as my wife Susan, and my beloved dogs, will also be joining me. (I am certain the dogs will forgive us for having their long shaggy coats, clipped short).
In 1899 the Eastern Telegraph Company first came to the island when a cable link was built between Britain & South Africa. Before long Ascension was established as an important station on long - distance submarine cable routes to South America.
Today Cable & Wireless are the domestic and international telecommunications provider for Ascension Island.
Ariane is part of the European Space Agency and the Cable & Wireless station on Ascension tracks the Ariane 4 & 5 rockets during the launch trajectory until the delivery of the satellites into orbit.
Since it's first flight on 15 June 1988, Ariane 4 has made over 100 successful launches. It is an extremely versatile launcher and can therefore lift satellites weighing from 2000 to nearly 4800kg in GTO into space. Its role is now being gradually replaced by the Ariane 5, which is designed to meet the challengers of the new millennium, and has the ability to launch larger satellites. It can handle the increasing use of low orbits for servicing the international space station at low cost with high reliability.
On Monday 13th January 2003 the Post Office will release a set of four stamps & S/S to mark the first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) launch, which is the cargo supply vehicle to be used for the International Space Station by the Ariane 5.
The stamps are as follows:
35p - Ariane 4
40p - Tracking Stations
65p - ATV Orbit
90p - Ariane 5
Mint sets of stamps & S/S at £2.30, Official First day Covers at £2.80 will be on sale at the post office from Monday 13th January 2003. These stamps, s/s and covers will remain available for a period of fifteen months provided stocks last.
T M Thomas
Bored with your present job?
Serco Aerospace has a vacancy for a Firefighter at the RAF Base on Ascension Island. The post is unaccompanied status.
Interested candidates will need to:
So, if you fancy a change, relish a challenge and want to be part of a top class well motivated team then why not apply:
Closing date for applications 20 January 2003
Serco Aerospace has a vacancy for an Operations Controller at the RAF Base on Ascension Island. The post is unaccompanied status.
Interested candidates will need to:
So, if you fancy a change, relish a challenge and want to be part of a top class well motivated team then why not apply:
Closing date for applications 20 January 2003
Turner GCMS on Ascension will require the services of a Mechanic Fitter to work within their Plant and Transport Department.
To maintain and repair all plant and transport equipment on areas and properties controlled by the RAF and Turner GCMS as contractor.
This would range from the repair/maintenance of a 360º tracked excavator to a 5 Kva portable generator. Turner GCMS operates and maintains a fleet of diesel cars and small trucks. So a good knowledge of diesel engines is essential.
Occasionally there are times when you would be required to perform a limited amount of bodywork repairs.
A drivers licence is essential.
Conditions of Employment
Turner contract conditions for unaccompanied staff will apply and is for the duration of 12 months. There will be a three-month probationary period. Food and accommodation will be provided.
The contracted hours of work will be forty hours. Any hours worked in excess of 40 will attract payment of 1½ x hourly rate. Overtime hours worked on a Sunday and public holidays qualify for 2 x hourly rate. Current Turner GCMS policy is to work fifty hours per week to which the successful applicant will be expected to adhere.
The rate of pay for a Mechanical Fitter will be either TL2 £2.39 per hour or TL3 £2.52 per hour depending on qualifications and experience.
All of the above duties are carried out in accordance with UK regulations and to ISO 9002 standards.
For further information interested persons can contact the Administration Officer on telephone no 00-247-6844.
Interested persons should send their CV's to the Administration Officer, Turner GCMS, Travellers Hill, Ascension Island, ASCN 1ZZ or fax 00-247-6237 by Friday 31st January 2003."
Hash number: 935
Hares: The Fugitive & Titpecker.
Hounds: : Budweiser Belly, Pirate, Chicken Hawk, The Major, Bloodsucker, Buzz Lightyear, Baywatch Babe, Bart Simpson, Batman, Skipper, Shylock, Twin Peaks, Eeyore, 100 Watt, Chin Beaver, Skipper, Emily, Sophie, Lorna, Dadam's Ad, Bonehead, Human Mattress, a couple from the RAF, a trio from the RN, Billy Graham, Uncle Fester, Yeti, and a few more.
Onwards and upwards to the cloud base found a patch of ground only suitable for four wheel drive vehicles, this was Grazing Valley and this weeks hash meet. The slip and slide of the meeting place was an omen of things to come. So, with mud caked boots from the start, it was forwards along the Bullocks Pond track, and then backwards along the Bullocks Pond track as the first back arrow was found. A quickly found on-on sent the pack circling the base of the ever present Mountain Red up a slippery slope to the first circle. This was definitely a day for wearing the right sort of footwear. Onwards and downwards had made senses aware of what a little rain could do, the bold descended happy-go-luckily, the not so bold made it in their own time, and to the first bar check. On-on by the side of Spoon Crater realised the depth of the mud covered sides of the water courses. When it comes to obstacle crossing this is where the ingenuity of the individual comes to the fore. Some with closed eyes just leapt into space hoping for a soft landing, some slipped and practised luge to the bottom, some went down butt first. Few managed to escape the mud.
At the next circle it was the hares that showed the way, with Titpecker raced up the side of Green Top Crater and the less experienced hounds following him. This was without doubt leadership, he had led them to the next back arrow. The wiser and more experienced went the other way and slipped, tripped and shuffled downwards to the ever looming South Red Crater. This underfoot mixture of gravel, mud and loose rocks did not deter anyone. Fuge was prepared to escort a few back to the start, but the answer was a unanimous 'no'. All would carry on with brave hearts and trembling knees. So (with new found bottle) it was over and around the rocks, and of course through to mud to the next circle.
From here the briefing gave us an unusual bar. We would eventually find it, but not before Titpecker had led the pack down a rocky water course to another back arrow. 'Curse those hares' was only one comment that was made, rather a mild expletive, but it at least survives the editors censorship.
On-on to the bendy bar (or whatever it was), this gave the option of three ways home, so with sheep-like enthusiasm all went to the front and found a steep climb out of the mini ravine and the home arrow. The Major, went left and then left again, and then left again. When decided that he'd had enough, he went back and over Spoon Crater to catch up with the rest.
The cloud base was getting lower and the weather was deteriorating, it was becoming obvious that the usual Aprés Hash would be curtailed. Not before the circle of friendship was drawn. Names were thrown backwards and forwards and eventually welcomed into Hashdom were Chin Beaver and Dadam's Ad.
Thanks to Fuge and Titpecker for a great Hash and plenty of grub.
Once in a while we get a wet one, pity it had to be this week. See you all next week.
Next Hash venue: Butt Crater.
Hares: Uncle Fester, Yeti, Bloodsucker.
Sat - 11.1.03 OUTLAWS V TURNERS
Outlaws 117 of 22 Overs
Batting - M Cranfield 35, D Henry 21, F Crowie 15, I Crowie 13.
Bowling - R Constantine 6/38, G Peters 2/26, A Constantine 2/9
Turners 39 of 17.3 Overs
Batting - J Coleman 10
Bowling - T Leo 8/12, M Moyce 1/7, G Yon 1/1
Points: Outlaws 9 Turners 6
Sun - 12.1.03 VT MERLIN V CSR
Merlin 36 of 11.5 Overs
Batting - B Henry 9.
Bowling - D Bedwell 5/11, J O'Connor 5/22.
CSR 198/9wkts of 30 Overs
Batting - M Bagley 88 n.o, E Thomas 27, R Bedwell 31, C Thomas 15. D Beard 10.
Bowling - P Corker 4/85, D Benjamin 3/39, P Williams 1/41
Points:CSR 12 MERLIN 5
Sat: 25.1.03 1300 - Georgetown V Turners
Sun: 26.1.03 1300 - VT Merlin V Turners
Thanks to Peter for helping out with the scoring.
Big Fish Competition...
The Big Fish Competition for the year 2002 was won by Dorian ( Duffy) Caswell of AIWSA, with a Tuna weighing in at 240 lbs.
Congratulations to Duffy who will receive the "Sandy Bay" trophy and the sum of £165.00.
The Winners of the Competition thus far are:
Year 2000 Steve Roode - RAF - 275 Tuna - No of entries 45
Year 2001 Ian (Dog) Thomas - AIWSA - 265 Tuna No of entries 28
Year 2002 Dorian (Duffy) Caswell -AIWSA - 240 Tuna - No of entries 11
If you would like to enter this Year's Big Fish Competition, then give me a call on Tel: 4442 or 4445. Entrance Fee is £15 for the year, and the winner takes all.
Peter G Fowler
EDITORS : Adam & Julia
The New Islander Office, Fort Hayes, Georgetown, Ascension Island.
Tel/Fax 00 + 247 6327
Internet Team: Alan George, Rob Dunstan, Richard White and Gavin Yon
Deadline for all contributions is 6.00pm on Monday