If in dream time you fly across the ocean from Cape Town all the way to the tip of South America on a Tristan da Cunha Island voyage, you will encounter something looking like an artichoke heart rising from the ocean. This is in fact the Island of Tristan da Cunha, a last vestige of the British Empire, and part of the the most isolated archipelago in the world.
Tristan da Cunha ekes out a precarious existence from rich resources of rock lobsters, postage stamps, and coins. The 266 inhabitants live mainly in the only settlement aptly named Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. They all either fish or farm. Life is tough in Tristan da Cunha. Everybody rows and there are no passengers.
Tristan da Cunha Island Voyage: Edinburgh of the Seven Seas
Getting to the nearby island of St Helena is becoming trickier with the phasing out of the RMS Saint Helena service and difficulties commissioning the new airstrip. The only ‘reliable’ service to Tristan comprises fishing boats belonging to a South African company, and an annual visit by the South African arctic research and supply vessel SA Aghulhas 2.
SA Aghulas II Leaving Cape Town for Tristan da Cunha
If you find a passage on the research ship, the return journey will cost you around $600 for a very basic trip in which you fend for yourself because almost everybody else is busy with their job. The fishing boat tickets vary from $180 to $500 return. The Tristan da Cunha Island voyage trip normally takes six days either way with tourists the lowest priority. This is adventure travel for the brave! You can be bounced by a higher priority at the last minute!