Philip Kendall looks back on his arrival fifty days ago

Administrator's journey to Tristan

Report from Administrator Philip Kendall on 10th November

Friday 10th November 2023 marked the 50th day since my arrival on Tristan following a journey like no other.

When I first applied to be the Administrator of Tristan da Cunha, I didn’t give a second thought to how I might get here but having heard Tristan described as the most remote inhabited island, I knew it would be an adventure.

I had a choice of three ships from Cape Town. The two fishing vessels, the Edinburgh and the Lance, or the South African Research Vessel Agulhas II which calls into Tristan once a year on her way to restock the South African weather station on Gough Island. I chose to take the latter.

Louise and I boarded the Agulhas with our fourteen pieces of baggage and a hefty supply of seasickness tablets, setting sail against the wonderful backdrop of Table Mountain, the last sight of land for a week.

Louise and I have cruised on many seas before, but nothing quite prepared us for the South Atlantic! The 10 metre swell propelled our luggage around the cabin, until we were able to secure it in place. Walking to and from the galley for meals was an exercise in agility, but I’m pleased to say that the tablets worked a treat!

En route to Tristan aboard SAS Aguilhas II (Philip Kendall)

We were lucky enough to share our journey with some amazing people. The Anglican Bishop, a Catholic priest, a dentist, an ophthalmologist, an internet techie, the RSPB and several returning islanders, to name a few. All of us with one destination in mind - the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world. The place that approximately 250 people call home.

One week after leaving Cape Town, we spotted land. The unmistakable cone shape of Queen Mary’s Peak. And the best was yet to come. The big advantage of arriving on the Agulhas is that she has a couple of helicopters. The flight time from ship to shore was a mere 2 minutes, but definitely one of the coolest ways to arrive.

Philip and Louise Kendall by the Remotest Island sign on arrival (Philip Kendall)

Philip and Louise Kendall arriving at their Residency home (James Glass)