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Wonders of Ascension Island

Boatswain Bird Island with natural arch - one of the wonders of Ascension Island
Boatswain Bird Island with natural arch / Drew Avery, / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Ascension Island is a part of British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena. This remote island is neither part of Africa nor South America – but in order to keep files in some order, Wondermondo lists Ascension Island as a part of Africa.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldYellow About the Ascension Island

Fern Pteris adscensionis, endemic of Ascension Island
Fern Pteris adscensionis, endemic of Ascension Island / Drew Avery, / CC BY 2.0

Rather many species of animals and plants are met only on this remote island and in the sea waters around it.

The indigenous plants and animals of this island have been heavily affected by introduced species of plants and animals, but some have survived. There are the following endemic plant species (all endangered):

  • fern Anogramma ascensionis
  • fern Asplenium ascensionis
  • spurge Euphorbia origanoides
  • fern Marattia purpurascens
  • fern Pteris adscensionis
  • grass Sporobolus caespitosus
  • fern Xiphopteris ascensionense

Several species of fish (including Taenioconger camelopardalis and Helcogramma ascensionis) along the shores of the island are not met anywhere else. Endemism among the smaller animals – insects and crustaceans – is higher, f.e. 14 species of decapods are met only here. All 5 species of pseudoscorpions are endemic.

WorldViolet Top wonders of Ascension Island

Geological wonders

Hummock Point Blowhole

Impressive, a bit slanted blowhole in lava beds at the sea.

Hummock Point Blowhole, Ascension Island
Hummock Point Blowhole, Ascension Island./ JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Boatswain Bird Island natural arch

An impressive natural arch on the southern coast of this small island.

Biological wonders

Boatswain Bird Island

Sea stack, inhabited by numerous sea birds. The only place where the Ascension frigate bird (Fregata aquilana) lives. The island is white colored from bird droppings.

Legendary wonders

Dampier’s Cave

A shallow cave below Residency Cliffs. A legendary site where buccaneer William Dampier stored his treasure when he was stranded on Ascension island in 1701.

WorldYellow Recommended books

The Devil’s Ashpit: and other Tales of Ascension Island

The world’s interest in tiny Ascension Island, some 5,000 miles downrange from Cape Canaveral, Florida, began when the Lords of the Admiralty established a garrison on the island to thwart any attempts to rescue Napoleon from the island’s closest neighbor, St Helena. One giant leap occurred 151 years later when NASA built the Devil’s Ashpit tracking station to support Project Apollo.

Ascension: The Story of a South Atlantic Island

The bleak, volcanic island of Ascension, 800 miles from its nearest neighbor St Helena, was described by a Victorian naval officer as ‘one of the strangest places on the face of the earth’.

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