Due to the swell, there is no safe place to go ashore by dinghy or kayak. Instead, we take a small ferry to a quay where we can grab onto ropes to disembark. After we clear immigration and customs, it’s time to explore! Jamestown has an impressive town wall, so to get to the centre, we must pass through the ancient town gate. As soon as we emerge on the other side, it feels like we are in England. Classic buildings in Gregorian style line the town’s Main Street, Land Rovers dominate the roads, and the Union Jacks are flown from hotels and restaurants. Queen Elizabeth II graces the local bank notes. The daily menu of the yacht club? Fish & chips of course! Not of it is very surprising, as the island has been an overseas territory of the United Kingdom for hundreds of years. At the same time, it feels a bit odd, these expressions of Britishness in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Several islanders, knows as Saints, ask with interest where we come from. They take the time to tell us about their island. It is slightly smaller than the Dutch island of Texel and rises to almost 900 meters above sea level. Jamestown was built in one of the island’s countless valleys and is surrounded by steep hills. We experience exactly how steep those hills are when we climb Jacob’s Ladder. It’s a staircase of 699 steep steps that starts behind the church and only goes up, almost vertically. It takes us more than fifteen minutes to reach the top, where, exhausted, we take in the breathtaking view over Jamestown. “This was the warming-up for the coming days”, Floris smiles mischievously.