Introducing Ascension Island
Comfortless Cove, Ascension Island © Ben Tullis
Surrounded by turquoise blue waters and sandy white beaches, the British territory and volcanic island of Ascension is named after the day of its recorded discovery. This tropical and very remote destination, untouched by human history for so long, was initially discovered in 1501 by Portuguese seafarer Joao da Nova Castelia, only to be rediscovered two years later on Ascension Day by Alphonse d'Albuquerque.
Most visitors to Ascension Island find themselves in the capital of Georgetown, one of the five main settlements and home to the island's handful of pubs, each with their own peculiar opening and closing times. Among some of the town's historic sites are a small Roman Catholic church, the 'Grotto', and the remains of a mosque, which served Muslims from West Africa in the early days of occupation.
For those interested in the island's natural wonder, turtle tracks in the beaches' sand are a common sight. Green turtles, which come ashore from January to May to lay their eggs, are a known and welcomed attraction. Despite being home to more than 44 dormant volcanic craters, this arid island comes with a soft centre, namely the Green Mountain National Park. Surrounding the 3,000-foot (914m) Green Mountain, Green Mountain National Park is the best place to go to experience the island's natural beauty. The Park is criss-crossed by historic walking trails, all of which provide panoramic views of the island.
Ascension Island may be small, but there is plenty to keep the active tourist busy with numerous walks, scuba diving opportunities, and a wide variety of sports including golf. Fishing is also a popular pastime with a wonderful variety of open-ocean fish, including sharks, wahoo, tuna, marlin and sailfish.