This is our St Helena island blog, all prompted when two years ago the Sansom family left the UK for St Helena in the middle of the South Atlantic. It is a South Atlantic island with some of the most vulnerable and unique habitat on the planet and an unspoiled marine environment ready to experience. For an island the size of Jersey and appearing at first instance to be a quiet backwater, it is hard to imagine exactly how much history St Helena has squeezed into it. An island so small that the farthest time it is possible to spend in a car, short of driving in circles, is about half an hour. So with time freed from getting to places, the loss of friendships and commitments that shape life in the UK, it gave us the rather unusual position where we could rebuild the way we wanted to do things.
What bought us on this adventure was Ben’s appointment as Head of the Environmental Management Division. A post so wide ranging it included marine and terrestrial conservation, creating a whole new waste management system, creation of overarching environmental statute, delivery of a large number of aspects necessary to a new international airport in a highly sensitive environment, support of planning, creation of a national environmental monitoring programme, development of a Climate Change strategy and dealing with anything else that came up. Fortunately, he had some very good teams to work with to deliver.
It is with huge sadness that our time living on St Helena is over, but there are many things we will take from our time. I’ve discovered blogging and diving and I’ve rediscovered walking and have remembered some of my City and Guilds photography. Both Ben and I have rediscovered why we love working in the environment sector and have drawn from pretty much every aspect of our rather eclectic skill sets to support the island in its bid for financial sustainability with the construction of an airport and the arrival of larger numbers of tourists. To do this whilst sustaining its unique and precious environment is a life time’s work, to have been a small part of this process has been a privilege. This blog has been a way to remember our experiences as well as share them with you and anyone else who would like to join the ride.