Ascension Island


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Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Ascension Island
March 24th 2008
Published: December 28th 2020
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Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island, 7°56′ south of the Equator in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) from the coast of Africa and 1,400 miles (2,300 kilometres) from the coast of Brazil. It is governed as part of the British Overseas Territory of of which the main island, Saint Helena , is around 800 miles (1,300 kilometresm) to the southeast. In addition to St Helena, the territory also includes Ascension Island and the sparsely populated Tristan da Cunha archipelago, 2,300 miles (3,700 kilometres) to the south, about halfway to the Antarctic Circle.

Named after the day of its recorded discovery, the date of the Ascension of Jesus, Ascension Island was an important safe haven and coaling station to both mariners and commercial airliners back in the days of international air travel by flying boats.

During the Second World War, it was an important naval and air station, especially providing antisubmarine warfare bases in the Battle of the Atlantic. Ascension Island was garrisoned by the British Admiralty from 22 October 1815 to 1922.

The island is the location of RAF Ascension Island, which is a Royal Air Force station, a European Space Agency rocket tracking station, an Anglo-American signals intelligence facility and the BBC World Service Atlantic Relay Station. The island was used extensively as a staging point by the British military during the Falklands War.

Nothing to say about the island as this was our third or fourth tender stop that was abandoned because the sea was too rough. We stayed long enough to throw over the mail bags we had brought from St Helena and couldn't even disembark a government official who was due to fly home from the airport base.We did, though, get an hours nature trip by an outer island where we saw thousands of sea birds and a pod of dolphins before heading off to Cape Verde.

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