What To Do
If anyone says there’s nothing to do on Ascension, they simply haven’t looked hard enough. With its beautiful weather, crystal-clear and unpolluted ocean, challenging terrain and wonderful wildlife there is no excuse for not getting out there and doing something amazing every day.
The best way to enjoy Ascension is probably to join a few clubs such as the Ascension Hash House Harriers – every Saturday these intrepid explorers trek all over Ascension’s less travelled terrain keeping fit and having fun at the same time – you also get to see some parts of the island that you wouldn’t otherwise see. Alternatively, pick up a Letterbox Walks guide from the Conservation Office or buy online. These walks will take you all around the island and offer some amazing views.
SCUBA DIVING & SNORKELLING
Love the ocean? Well, for many, the true beauty of Ascension Island lies beneath the waves. Wrecks, caves and abundant and diverse marine life all make for a fantastic scuba diving location. Largely unspoilt with clear blue waters it provides a dive experience seldom found elsewhere. Easy accessibility to numerous dive sites from the shore is a definite bonus, giving a freedom to visiting divers who would normally be reliant on dive resort/boat operators. Of course there is also the possibility of arranging boat dives with private boat owners. Ascension Island has a single dive club, Ascension Divers, located near English Bay. The club membership is for residents only but visitors can arrange for cylinder fills at £5 per fill. There is no dive shop to provide kit hire but the local divers are generally quite willing to loan what they can for a small fee to cover repairs and maintenance. For those coming to live and work on Ascension with a minimum 12 month contract, dive club membership can be applied for on arrival. Proof of valid diver certification will be required. The club accepts most certifying organisations (eg PADI, BSAC, SSI, NAUI, CMAS etc) PADI courses can be arranged depending upon availability and time constraints and range from Discover Scuba Diving experiences (commonly known as “try dives) through Open Water (novice certification) to Master Scuba Diver and/or Divemaster. Diving is possible all year but the seas can become quite rough with high swells and inshore surf during February and March making shore entries and exits more challenging, if not impossible. Annual water temperature varies from 22/23C in August/September to 28/29C in February/March. Visibility is generally excellent all year. Contact Caroline Yon of Ascension Divers Club for more information.
If you don’t dive, you can still witness the beauty of Ascension’s surrounding waters by donning a mask and snorkel, English Bay and Comfortless Cove are the best beaches for snorkelling off.
Volunteering is a great way to meet people and get out there and see Ascension – AIG’s Conservation department are always looking for people to help out, especially during turtle season, or with the various projects they have going on – get in touch with them to see if they have anything suitable for you.
Sport fishing is becoming an increasingly popular past-time on Ascension, Ascension Island Fishing Charters recently set up base here and now operate from the island full-time. Some of the largest recorded Blue Marlin in the world have been caught off the shores of Ascension! However, if you prefer dry land, fishing off the rocks is just as thrilling – all you need is a rod or hand line and some bait, and within an hour you’re sure to have a bucket-load of delicious fresh fish. Of course the best thing to do with freshly caught fish is to cook it up right away – there are plenty of BBQ stands around the beaches fit for this purpose!
There are various sports played on the island; football, volleyball, cricket, softball, tennis, badminton, squash, racquet ball, golf, skittles, darts, snooker, pool… the list goes on and on! The different sports are usually played within seasons but if you’re only here for a short while, local sportsmen and women are always keen to set up an impromptu contest for visitors.