The sun slowly began to creep above the South Atlantic horizon, revealing the rugged, striking landscape of St Helena, and lighting up the sky in spectacular fashion. Watching intently, I finally stopped questioning my sanity on the 4.45am start.
Dragging myself out of bed at a time which is still basically the middle of the night is never likely to become a common occurrence. However, as each shadow retreated, magically transforming the surrounding landscape from dark and foreboding, to golden hued, with detail, depth and texture, I admit to becoming a convert.
Viewed from a vantage point overlooking the aptly named Turk’s Cap, with the imposing Barn in the background, words seem superfluous, absorbing the serenity is enough.
With few sounds to disturb the pure silence, there is plenty of opportunity to allow the imagination to run wild. It could easily be a scene from a Terry Pratchett novel, stood on the edge of the world. A place to revel in perfect moments, hoping not only to burn it on the digital sensor of the camera, but in my memory for eternity.
I’d been particularly keen to capture the ‘Cap’ as my room on the ship was named after it. There was a dramatic image hanging on the wall, filled with deep shadows from clouds skulking across the striking landscape.
The drama of a South Atlantic sunrise unfolds slowly, the shroud of night gradually lifts, revealling deep gullies, and crevasses, individual trees, bushes and even blades of grass become visible in the warming glow of the rising sun. The sky is crisp, clear, and pollution free, allowing the full, colourful palette of nature to be splashed uninhibited across her huge canvas, the many hues reflected in the pure ocean below.
The rugged coastline of St Helena contrasts well with the constantly changing light show. Even the deepest shadows slowly soften, giving the landscape depth. I felt an urge to reach out and touch it, as the scene appeared to have remarkable texture. The deep shades of scarlet, and crimson, the golden hues of yellow, and soft tint of orange spread outwards from the horizon, across the sea, creeping over the land, bringing it to life with warm fingers of light.
Sunrise is one of nature’s most spectacular shows, provided daily for those prepared to make an early start, possibly trudging through cow fields in the dark to a suitable viewing platform. Turk’s Cap, is the equal of anywhere, a South Atlantic is quite special.
The whole show lasted for over an hour, in fact it was still going strong well after I had to leave. Arriving back at base I immediately set the alarm for 4.45am the following morning.