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The Islander - Thursday 10th April 2003


On Tuesday 8th April Ariane Space in French Guiana will have launched the first Ariane 5 of the year with a dual payload. Liftoff of Flight 160 was during a launch window that began at 23:50 and the staff from the Ariane station here on Ascension were involved with the tracking of the launcher on its flight to position the satellites in orbit.

The photo above, from Arianespace's Lynda Obydol, provides an excellent overview of the transfer as the launcher nears a final turn before arriving on the launch pad. The launch pad (with its tall towers that provide protection against lightning strikes) is at the left. Flight 160's Ariane 5 approaches from the right as it rides atop the mobile launch table. Behind the table is a string of rail cars that provide electrical and environmental control support for the launcher and its payload during the transfer. Mounted atop its mobile launch table, the Ariane 5 moved along the 2.8-km. twin rail line that links the final assembly building with the ELA-3 complex' launch zone. The launcher has a dual payload of the INSAT 3A and GALAXY XII satellites.

News From St. Mary's:

ASCENSION ISLAND (Diocese of St. Helena)

Rev. Brian Birchmore
Church Warden: Mervyn Isaacs
Church Warden: Cheryl Anthony

"R & R" SUNDAY! (Here is the letter that should have been included in last week's 'Islander')
A break from routine is alway a necessity and the early leaders of the Church understood that the rigours of the Lenten fast and its serious rules of abstinence needed some means of relaxing its discipline if it was to remain a positive contribution to holiness!

Mothering Sunday, midway through Lent as we now know 'Refreshment Sunday' to be, is just that positive step and last Sunday provided that opportunity. Something like 130 people including uniformed Guides, Brownies and Rainbows enjoyed a special service that was geared to thank God for love and for the love our mothers show us in care and affection. Daffodils specially flown in by the Royal Air Force were distributed as a sign of that love.

Moving On
As we start this new month I am very conscious that our time here serving both the parish and the RAF is fast running out and we have to contemplate 'moving on' and back to our retirement house in Bishop's Stortford. These last months have been a time of precious new experiences and the friendships made will long be remembered with many THANKS to you ALL! and we have survived the heat and rain.

A new era begins in May and we have just received the following Press Release from the Bishop's Office on St.Helena:

Yesterday at a moving Service in the Cathedral, Fr Clive Duncan was instituted and Collated by the Lord Bishop as a Honorary Canon
of St. Paul's Cathedral. As a Canon, Fr Clive is part of the Cathedral Chapter that advises the Bishop. He also has a Canon's Stall in the Cathedral.

Canon Clive Duncan and his wife Jenny will be sailing for Ascension on 1st May. The Bishop will travel with them and will institute and
Induct Canon Duncan as Vicar of St. Mary's, Ascension Island on Saturday, 3rd May, 2003 at 1pm. His Excellency the Governor and Mrs
Hollamby will be present at the Service.

Canon Duncan is the first resident 'Saint' to be made a Canon in the history of the Diocese of St. Helena. Consequently
yesterday's ceremony was an important historic event and was witnessed by a large congregation.

Congratulation to Canon from all of us on Ascension Island.
Fr Clive's Institution on 3rd May at 1pm will also include the Confirmation of Natalie Greentree, Lynn Stevens, Marie and Sherilyn Anthony, so please remember them in your prayers and prepare to welcome Clive and his wife to the Vicarage as they too 'move on' continue their ministry here.

Holy Week and Easter draws ever closer and a list of the special services prepared for you to share, is included elsewhere in this edition of "The Islander". Come and walk with us towards Good Friday and Easter with Jesus and may he REFRESH you too.

Fr Brian

Lesson for Palm Sunday: Phipippians 2:5-11 and Mark 11: 1-11


13th April PALM SUNDAY Parish Eucharist with Procession
14th - 16th Stations of the Cross at The Grotto at 6pm
17th MAUNDY THURSDAY AT 7pm - Commemoration of the Last Supper
18th GOOD FRIDAY at 12 noon - One Hour before the Cross
6 am Dawn Eucharist with Breakfast (Please let Daphne know if you are coming to breakfast)


Dear editor, please will you publish the following in the Islander.


On 24th March I sent the following letter to the shop manager and followed it up after a week with a visit. The outcome is that Nicola has agreed to stock the items listed in the letter and in quantities that hopefully mean a continuous supply. I think a lot of people's unhappiness with the shop stems from the uneven supply, where items appear for a short while and then are seen no more. Also, many dairy items such as yoghurts are plentiful for the first week or so after the ship has been and then are all gone. Please, please will anyone with a complaint or suggestion use the Suggestion book in the shop. As Nicola said, if no one complains or suggests things, she does not know when we are unhappy.

Dear Nicola,

Since returning to the island I have become increasingly concerned about the lack of choice in the shop for people wishing to eat a healthy diet.

On Ascension, we have a significant number of patients with Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart conditions etc who are all advised how to eat healthily. This means eating a low fat, low sugar diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.

To help them, as well as the many who wish to prevent ill health, please would you reassess the ordering and buying policies that exist in the shop. In particular, may we have the following stocked regularly and in adequate amounts, so as to enable people to make healthy choices.

Wholemeal pasta
Low fat yoghurts
Low fat cream crackers and other crackers and biscuits
Tinned fruit in natural juices ( not syrup)
More salad items
Sufficient fresh fruit and veg
Cottage cheese and other low fat cheeses (eg low fat cheddar)
Greater selection of diet soft drinks and bottled water
Low fat custard powder
Low fat crisps
Tomato puree
Granary flour
Low fat Chocolate and Horlicks drinks

I understand that it is difficult to keep a remote island adequately supplied, but I would be very pleased to meet you to discuss these requests.

Many thanks
Sue MacFall

Letters to the Editor can be sent to


Bored with your present job?
Willing to learn new skills?
This job may be for you!

Want a change?

Fancy a challenge?

Male Security Operative

Serco Aerospace has an immediate vacancy for a Male Security Operative at the RAF Base on Ascension Island. The post is unaccompanied status

We will:

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 to:

Jean Smith
Serco Aerospace
T: 3356
F: 6832

Glyn Smith
Support Services Manager
Serco Aerospace
T: 3370
F: 6832


Chef / Catering Manager Wanted

The Obsidian Hotel would like to recruit the services of a Chef / Catering Manager to run and develop the catering side of their expanding accommodation business on Ascension Island.

We are looking for a candidate who will relish the opportunity to run and develop their own department, operating within the existing support structure of the Group. Single accommodation, passages etc are offered alongside an attractive salary/bonus package dependant on the experience of the applicant.

Further details and expressions of interest should be directed, along with a current CV and salary details to :-
The Operations Manager,

A Level Education for Ascension Students

At a recent meeting of the Island Council, Councillors approved an education policy that will, for the first time, provide general access A Level education for Two Boats School leavers.

Students who meet the appropriate criteria will be able to attend Chichester College in England, studying full time for A Levels or some vocational qualifications. The cost of course fees is met by the UK government for holders of full UK passports (to which St Helenians are entitled since the restoration of Citizenship in 2002), while the cost of flights, accommodation and a book grant will be paid for by the Ascension Island Government out of the annual budget.

The scheme will start in September 2003, at the start of the new academic year and five students from the current Year 11 are likely to be offered places.

The number of places will be limited and attendance at Chichester College will depend primarily on high academic results with pupils needing to obtain at least five good GCSE grades (all in the A-C range) including Maths and English.

Chichester College, in the south of England, has a wealth of experience in serving international students and well over 10% of its 4000 students are from overseas. They come from 60 different countries. The courses offered at the college are varied. At GCE 'A' level students can choose from 31 different subjects and in addition a variety of vocational courses is available, including B.Tech National Diplomas and NVQ's in several subjects.

In 2000 the College was given a Beacon of Excellence Award for its service to International students. The college guarantees to find accommodation for all students either with private families or in study bedrooms within Halls of Residence. All accommodation is vetted by the College.

The college boasts excellent cultural, sporting, recreational and social facilities and each student will be allocated a personal tutor whose role is to ensure the student's welfare.

David Higgins, Headteacher at Two Boats School said "This is a wonderful opportunity for some of our Two Boats pupils to go on to further education. The whole community should welcome the adoption of this policy by the Island Council and also the commitment of Ascension Island Government in providing opportunities for young people to gain qualifications that have not previously been available to them. I know from my experience in the Falkland Islands that young people will respond to educational opportunities presented to them and I am confident that our students will take up the challenge and will succeed in their 'A' level studies."

It is pleasing also to report the success of Phillip Stevens who is currently attending St. Mary Redcliffe and Temple School in Bristol and who will take his 'A' level examinations in two months time. Phillip hopes to go on to University to study Electrical Engineering.

The Met Office Weather Report


Statistics for the week ending Monday 7th April 2003

Max (deg C)
Min (deg C)
Rainfall (mm)
ST. HELENA 24.9 18.7 0.6
30.4 max in 24hr

ASCENSION ISLAND: : After the previous rather dull and showery last week of March, last week was generally dry with sunny or clear periods. The usual moderate or fresh Southeast Trade Winds persisted for most of the time. Some places on the Island to the lee of Green Mountain remained completely dry throughout the week while a few other locations such as Travellers and the Residency had some light showers falling mostly overnight. The highest temperature of the week was 33.0 Celsius, recorded at Georgetown.

UK: A slow moving anticyclone over the British Isles which resulted a spell of welcome Spring weather eventually drifted into the near continent on the 1st April 2003 ahead of an approaching Atlantic frontal system. This introduced a cool, showery airstream to the UK, the daytime maximum only climbing to 4 Celsius at Lerwick in the Northern Isles on Wednesday 2nd April 03.
Fortunately this cold airmass didn't last for long. A warm front pushing in from the west brought a return to milder weather on Thursday with another slow moving anticyclone building over the country during the latter part of the week. Settled weather from this high pressure area gave a maximum temperature of 21 Celsius at both Lee on Solent and Cardiff on Friday 4th April 2003. 12.1 hours of sunshine was recorded at Torquay in Devon on the same day.
The lowest temperature, Minus 5 Celsius was recorded early in the week at Katesbridge in Co Down on Mon 31st March 03. Highest 24 hour rainfall of the week, 30.4 mm was recorded at Tulloch Bridge in Scotland for the 24 hr period ending 1800Z Tue 1st April 2003.

FALKLANDS: A large anticyclone centred over the South Atlantic to the north of the Falklands dominated the weather during much of the week. However this area of high pressure drifted away eastwards during Friday. Frontal troughs moving in from Argentina brought a return to more unsettled conditions last weekend with a mixture of periods of rain and occasional showers in strong and gusty Northwest winds. Highest temperature of the week was 14.9 Celsius, lowest temperature 2.6 Celsius with 2.1 mm of measured rainfall.

MET. OFFICE, ST HELENA - ADDITIONAL WEATHER STATISTICS FOR Week ending 06/04/03Mean Temp 20.8 deg C Mean Wind Speed 10.9 kts Total Sunshine 47.3 hours


It is proposed that we should publish a small guide book for the use of visitors to the island and for people coming to work here for the first time. With a view to getting the best possible introduction into the space available, over the next few weeks some ideas will be published for all to see. Most of what will be written here will be purely from memory and some figures will need checking when I get back home to my reference books. However I hope that anyone with any ideas to add to it or with any corrections or constructive suggestions will pass them on, either by an email to the Islander or by ringing me on 4548. Your ideas will be most welcome.

Neil MacFall,
Two Boats.
Anyway here is the first instalment:-


No matter which way you came to Ascension Island you will have realised that it is very isolated. In fact it is in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean at approximately 8 degrees south and 14 degrees west so that on maps or satellite photographs of the western hemisphere it is always roughly in the middle. It is about 1300 miles from Brazil in the west, 1350 miles from Luanda in the east and the same distance from Dakar to the north but the nearest land is the island of St Helena, about 700 miles to the southeast. St Helena is a UK Dependent Territory and it has two dependent colonies, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha, 1800 miles apart, making it one of the most widespread territories in the world. Ascension is a small island, only seven miles across at its widest, but it rises to 2817feet at the top of Green Mountain and if you go only a short way out to sea, the real root of the mountain is another 10,000ft below sea level.

Your first impression of the island may not have been very favourable. Coming up the stone steps with the sea trying to wash you back after a bumpy ride across from the ship, then the view of the stark Pierhead with dark brown hills and a few scattered buildings beyond, may not be everyone's idea of paradise. Or else the slow descent on the aircraft, the first view of black craggy rocks on the port side and then to land on what many have described variously as 'like the moon' or 'a giant dirty ashtray', does not endear you to the place.

However, the island has much to offer and you will soon begin to notice that the play of the sunlight on those red hills makes a beautiful and constantly changing picture. One of the red hills (Sisters) even has a layer of talcum powder scattered across its feet and the vista from and on Green Mountain will soon convince you that beauty is here all around us if we know where to look.

Ascension Wildlife Photographic
Competition 2003

An exciting opportunity to put all those pictures tucked away in dusty albums or hopefully non-dusty hard drives to good use.

The wildlife....the only other rule is that the photo must have been taken on Ascension...the rest is up to your imagination.

Pictures may be submitted in electronic format (.jpeg), prints or slides. Pictures taken by those 16 years and under will be judged separately. Prizes will be given to the best 12 pictures.

The best 12 pictures will be reproduced in the UK and then displayed in the Conservation Centre. With the agreement of the photographer, these pictures will also be used to make postcards and a 2004 calendar, to be sold to raise Conservation funds.

Please submit images to the Conservation Centre by the end of February. Contact Tara or Richard for more information (Tel: 6359/6403/6781)

This competition has been extended till the end of June 2003, so get those photos into the Conservation Centre now!!!

Hash Trash

Hash number: 947

Hares: Yeti & Island Boy

Hounds: Rug Rat, Mildew, Baywatch Babe, Ratboy, Rusty Head, Budweiser Belly, 100 Watt, The Major, Morticia, Bloodsucker, Skipper, Uncle Fester, Chief Longpole, Fugitive, Slap Head, Dick Head, Joker, Goat, Oh That Woman, ChickenHawk, Batman, Bart Simpson, Pirate, Radar, Grim Reaper, Fluffy Bunnikins, Hardcare Heidi, Renguin, Frank'n'Furter, Ron, Judy, Doug

As everyone pulled into the football pitch, the dust from the heavy equipment gave the hashers a taste of what was to come. Before we got started the Major gave an enthusiastic welcome back to Ratboy, seconded by all the hashers. Seems he decided that a hash on Ascension was less dangerous than the Middle East. Of course, that was before we got started!

Yeti gave the instructions, complete with the assurance that there were no hazards to watch out for. Of course the disbelieving hounds were not falling for it. We were pretty certain that everything he said we wouldn't come across, the cacti, thorns, loose gravel, slippery slopes, etc. were guaranteed to be found along the way. After more misleading instructions as to the on-on, the hashers headed off to the first hill. A trek through the first bunch of thorn bushes took us up to the crest of the hill. At the first circle check the Major treated us all to a geography lesson.

Going down was tricky with big loose rocks to trip up the hasty hashers. Just a hint of what lay ahead. After a relatively easy part along a track to another circle check, the going got really rough. Down into a gully, including a slide down a nasty slope, and a duck through a little tunnel. At this point the hashers decided to ignore Yeti's advice to stick close to the hash. While he was busy helping people down the slope, Island Boy was starting to wonder why the group was getting scattered all over the mountain. Convinced they knew the way, quite a few hashers were off and running to the crest of the next hill, not an easy feat. Didn't anyone notice the complete lack of hash?

Of course, no one ignored the hares' advice with quite the result as the Grim Reaper. Determined to find his own way he took a rather nasty tumble with the result that his hash was cut short by a trip to the hospital to get a few pieces of vegetation removed from his head! Bet he was especially grim later that evening when the freezing wore off and his stitches started to hurt!! Thanks to Ratboy and Hardcore Heidi for their med-evac efforts.

After the hounds were rounded up and headed on up the gully, we finally made it to the road up Green Mountain. Here the runners were encouraged to continue up the trail, while the walkers took the easy route back down. Batman, Bart Simpson and ChickenHawk tried to slip away on up the tough trail, but were finally corralled and sent back with Baywatch Babe.

Not much running was noted as the trail went straight up the side of the mountain, slippery gravel underfoot the whole way. At one point Morticia was seen hauling Bloodsucker up the hill. Not quite sure if it was just to have someone to catch her if she slid down. Joker was gentlemanly enough to stay behind, ready to catch them both if they took a tumble. Apparently no one was there to catch Skipper after he prophetically announced "I'll think it's time for a sit" and the earth immediately gave way beneath him, landing him flat on his backside!

Some of the hashers had trouble following their own instructions. After warning others of prickly pear they insisted on grappling with the next prickly pear they came across. While Mildew managed to stay out of it, Morticia, Bloodsucker, Island Boy and Hardcore Heidi, just to name a few, were all kept busy picking cactus spines out of hands and heads. After we finally worked our way back to the road we thought it was going to be an easy run downhill, but of course not. Instead the hash followed the shortest, but definitely not the easiest, route straight down.

Eventually we all made it back to the refreshments and a great barbecue. Another great Ascension evening followed with lots of laughs. A special hello goes out from all of us to one of our hashers, Private Benjamin, back in the US. We know you are with us in spirit. We're all thinking about you and wishing you the best. Take care, get well and come back to us soon.

Thanks to Yeti and Island Boy for a terrific little "walk in the park"! Island Boy, I hope you noticed that quite a few of us lived up to your expectations, and had the scratched up knees to prove it. You guys are great hares. A great challenge, good food, and a fun evening.

Next Week: The ranges at Butt Crater
Hares: Chief Longpole & Penguin

Golf News - From One Boat Golf Club


Firstly I would like to thank our members for taking part in the Texas Scramble Tournament and for attending our Half Yearly General Meeting. I also would like to express my thanks to our cooks Sharon Thomas & Julie Yon for the delicious curries.

13 Teams took part in the Texas Scramble. The 2 ball pool was shared among 5 Teams, Freddy, Tris & Carl; Gary, Jim & Dave; Fiona, Muriel & Lawson; Errol, David & Ian, and Betty, John & Patrick.

Four Teams each recorded an outstanding 49 points, therefore a countback had to determine the winners. Runner-up Team was Jim, Gary & Dave losing out for the top spot to the Winning Team: Fiona, Muriel & Lawson. Well done all.

The General Membership Meeting followed this game and our Captain, Vice Captain, Treasurer, Secretary and Bar-man all have been re-elected for the remaining 6 months. Handicaps Secty, Martin Joshua has stepped down after being part of our committee over the past 2 years. Thank you Martin for your help & support. Welcome to Jim Brews our new Handicap Secty and Marie-anne Leo our Entertainments member. Also I would like to thank our remaining committee for their help over the past 6 months. Thank you all for a good job.

This coming weekend will be the Champion of Champions Tournament starting at 8.30. Players names are posted at One Boat for this event.


The New Islander Office, Fort Hayes, Georgetown, Ascension Island.
Tel/Fax 00 + 247 6327


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Deadline for all contributions is 6.00pm on Monday

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