The island of Saint Helena is one of the most remote inhabited places in the world. It is located in the middle of the South Atlantic, 1,200 miles from Angola and 1,900 from Brazil. Famous for hosting Napoleon's exile, it was reachable only by sea and for this reason it has never managed to create a self-sufficient economy. Over the centuries it has been forced to import any goods and financially depend on the UK motherland.
But now things may change. After two years of forced closure for poor security, the airport built by the British government is now open and a weekly flight of South African airline SA Airlink connects the island to Johannesburg and Cape Town. The locals (called "Saints") hope that tourism can become the first source of income for the community, putting an end to the exile that lasts for 5 centuries.
However, the new air link will mean the loss of an integral part of the island: the ship that for years has guaranteed its connection with the rest of the planet, that is the Royal Mail Ship Saint Helena, a small postal cargo that is also used for the carriage of passengers. People feel a mixture of affection and gratitude to it and someone asks to maintain the naval service despite its high maintenance costs.
In July 2017 I reached Saint Helena on one of the last voyages of the RMS.