tger greenhaddock: Once apon a time

Friday, March 03, 2006

Once apon a time

Twenty years ago this week I landed on the South Atlantic island of Ascension to begin a 3.5 year stint of working at the Cable & Wirless Satellite Earth Station. This site provided the island’s international communications and also supported the NASA tracking station. Ascension Island is situated just below the equator, midway between Africa and South America. It is a very small island, just 36 square miles, and has 44 dormant volcanos. It is essentially a rock, but it was my home for over 3 years.

I had many varied experiences during my time there and met a lot of interesting people. I learnt to Scuba dive, caught a fish heavier than my own body weight, got chased by a sexually aroused donkey, lost my driving license, broke international sanctions and bought a boat from South Africa, dived with sharks, spent a night in jail, played a lot of golf on the worst golf course in the world, and drank an incredible amount of beer.

The island has a hot sunny climate, and I lived only a few hundred meters from a deserted shell sand beach where green turtles laid their eggs in season. I fished most weeks both from my boat and from the shore. I Scuba dived, played golf, and played football as often as possible, and as I look back 20 years later on it all seems rather idyllic. But it was a rock, a very small rock, where you never really had any true privacy, and in the end 3.5 years was just a little too long. Even so I would like to return one day to see how the place has changed.

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14 Comments:

Anonymous K said...

That sounds like quite a nice life... minus the donkey. I once met a family in the Miami airport that lived in Ascension. They gave me a cool QSL card that I still have somewhere.

March 03, 2006 3:37 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

He didn't catch you, I assume. ;) And while I'm at asking personal questions of someone I don't know, does one really need a drivers license on 36 square miles? Oh bother, I'll just go on and do the full grilling - why was the haddock green?

March 03, 2006 7:07 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

It sounds like an interesting time nevertheless. Do expound on the driver's license ;-)

March 03, 2006 7:44 AM  
Anonymous lillian said...

WOW.. interesting. And now you live in Germany? I'm confused :-)

March 03, 2006 8:32 AM  
Blogger Léons Life said...

....yes and now living in Germany !! Mr.Haddock you sound like you've had a varied and interesting life. But what we all want to know now is: Why the haddock ? Why the green ?? Why Germany ??

March 03, 2006 9:21 AM  
Anonymous lydia said...

wow haddock that sounds so cool, aroused monkey eh? he he! i want to go there too

March 03, 2006 11:21 AM  
Blogger Just another American Expat said...

Consider where you are living now, and where you were living then. I'll take the island.

How is the employment situation on Ascension Island?

March 03, 2006 12:23 PM  
Blogger Haddock said...

K - It was a nice place. Safe and quiet, the ideal place to bring úp a family.

Lisa - I'll do a post soon on the Green Haddock
:)

Karen - I should do a post on how I aquired a drivers licence and subsequenly lost it a few months later!

Lillian - I guess now as a family man I would like to go back, but as a young single chap I started to go a bit stir crazy after a while :)

Leons Life - Why Germany? - I heard the beer was good! :)

Lydia - They have opened up the island to tourism now. It used to be a closed island, but I beleive it's still very expensive to get there. You have to fly with the RAF :)

Just another - I guess I would take the island nowadays (no bloody snow!). As for employment oportunties there are not that many, but they do occur from time to time.

March 03, 2006 11:40 PM  
Blogger Rory Shock said...

So, was it a monkey or a donkey?

March 04, 2006 6:49 PM  
Blogger Haddock said...

Rory - It was a donkey. I was riding a bike at the time. I kept my ass firmly on the seat and pedalled like hell! :)

March 04, 2006 8:08 PM  
Blogger Bob Gentry said...

"got chased by a sexually aroused donkey"
LOL
don't you just love it when animals have a crush on you LOL

a 3 hour tour....sounds a little like Gilligan's Island eh?

March 04, 2006 8:14 PM  
Blogger EuroTrippen said...

any blog entry containing the phrase "sexually aroused donkey" has got to be good! lol

March 05, 2006 4:13 PM  
Blogger Haddock said...

Bob - I think if the Donkey had caught me it would have been more than a crush! :)

Eurotrippen - It should attract some interesting search engine traffic.

March 05, 2006 10:14 PM  
Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

You were obviously not married then ;-) Looks like you had a lot of time off, too! Must have been fun years!

The donkey experience reminded me of a short video clip I once saw where a man pulled his pants down in a field to relieve himself of a urgent need and was surprised by a "hot" donkey. Imagine trying to escape with your pants down to your ankles!

March 10, 2006 12:26 PM  

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