St Helena Island….A rock in the South Atlantic Ocean. That’s the best way to describe this place, when trying to explain to visitors on the RMS St Helena when the island comes into view on the day of arrival.
So when visitors walk the streets of Jamestown, stay in hotels or guest houses there is always that large and towering cliff hanging over the capital Jamestown. The capital is nestled in the valley.
With this in mind, safety is a priority or at least should be the top priority of those in charge.
I was contacted by CAN LTD a UK based company specializing in Rock fall protection and the likes of large infrastructure projects. I was naturally excited at the prospect of working with such a company.
With this information, I along with my spotter popped into the Mantis St Helena Hotel, where Colin & Collin were staying to have a quick chat about their requirements.
Yes I was a bit confused about which is which, even to this day when in contact with them I still need to think which one I’m emailing.
After a while chatting to them, I realised they were two laid back and friendly guys, I was nervous at the prospect of who they were.
Put it this way, one guy is more built then me and I saw a photo of his dog, a large Alsatian. So I had a right to bit nervous.
So information at hand, it was time to start the planning phase.
I must mention though, this was Thursday and they were flying out on Saturday.
But hey to get the job done and get a good reputation, you have to work fast.
So back in my little office, Google maps and Google earth loaded, application forms ready…..the planning begun.
After a few hours, forms were sent to the St Helena Airport and by the next afternoon around lunch time I had a reply and the green light for a flight in Jamestown.
Flight day on the first location consisted of a fly through of Maldivia. Capturing Photographs and videos for the guys to look through and see how they would form their proposal for the works.
We asked for one of the Colin/Collins to look over my shoulder to tell me what he needed me to capture for them. He felt like Steven Spielberg, directing a blockbuster movie 🙂
We had the usual safety items in place, spotter watching the done at all times, high-vis vests on and so forth.
After around an hour’s flight time, we landed the drone, and did the usual visual checks as i was packing away. Briefly showed the guys some of the footage and they were happy with it.
Once we left, it was time to go though the footage an ensure that all was of good quality and the mages where of high resolution quality. I then transferred to USB provided by Colin/Collin (Can’t remember which is which). Next day the flight was leaving and we had to get the footage on the USB to them before they left on the Saturday flight, so a trip to the Mantis Hotel was made were we caught both of them before they left.
Talk about fast service!
Anyway, we still had to complete the Rupert’s Valley and Jetty Flights.
So on another Week afternoon we completed the Rupert’s flights in the same manner in which the first one was done.
Now how do you transfer or deliver around 5GB worth of video and photograph footage to someone overseas from ST Helena, which has limited bandwidth speeds? Well we did it, and with the Gold Package on St Helena, it’s more than capable of doing so.
So after a few attempts the files made it though via online transfer methods, and they were pleased with the footage.
Both Colin & Collin were a great pleasure to work with both on Island and once they were back in the UK, i would gladly work with them again.
Overall from my point of view, Drones make great tools and customers overseas like CAN UK Ltd, see the benefit of these machines, small and larger and easy to get in the air and quick to a location for instances like rock fall surveys.
I do hope that companies and Governments see these benefits and ask us to work with them on Island, it will benefit all involved and save not only money but personnel as well from working in places that are both dangerous and take a long time to get too.