Ports of Call

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Inaccessible Island, St Helena

Inaccessible Island achieved its name by resisting the attempts of early Dutch and French explorers to reach its volcanic interior. The small island lies about 17 nautical miles from Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean. Since 2004, it has been included along with Gough Island as a wildlife refuge and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Several attempts at colonization failed over the centuries. Two German brothers debarked there in 1871 with an ambition to hunt seals and sell their product to passing ships. However, ships passed so infrequently that they were practically starved and “overjoyed” to be rescued by a ship in 1873. There have been three known shipwrecks on the island, including the British ship Blenden Hall, in 1821, when survivors lost six more of their party during a failed attempt to sail to Tristan da Cunha in a handmade boat. A second attempt later succeeded in affecting their rescue. There are no land mammals or reptiles known to exist on the island, but many species of whales and dolphins are in the waters around the island, and fur and elephant seals have increased in numbers. It is an Important Bird Area for its large populations of seabirds and endemic land birds including the smallest flightless Inaccessible Rail, and the Inaccessible bunting discovered by naturalist Hubert Wilkins during a visit by the Shackleton-Rowell expedition aboard the Quest in 1922.




Inaccessible Island, St Helena