“A Signal”

Ascension Island

Along the western coast of the Sahara desert, about half way between the Canary Islands and the Cape Verde Islands, lies a sand spit called Cape Barbas. In 1441, ships attached to Estêvão da Gama’s fleet were sent by Prince Henry to explore the coastline south of Cape Barbas, which, five years earlier, was the farthest point reached by any of Prince Henry’s captains. Although there are some conflicting stories regarding the discoveries of the mid-Atlantic islands, it is safe to assume that in 1501 João da Nova discovered Ascension Island. The desolate island remained deserted until it was rediscovered two years later on Ascension Day by Alfonso de Albuquerque. He was also the first European to discover the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

Having been to most of these exotic locations I know that Ascension Island is the very top of a mostly submerged mid-Atlantic mountain. It is part of the mid-ocean ridge which is by far the longest mountain range on earth. As an active fault line it starts north of Iceland becoming the Reykjanes Ridge as it crosses the northern Island Nation and finishes in the Indian Ocean south of the Cape of Good Hope in Africa. Because of this active ridge, South America and Africa are 1,600 miles apart and dovetail each other, spreading apart at an annual rate of about 1 1/8 inches.

The story of Prince Henry the Navigator and the era of discovery, is detailed in the award winning book, “The Exciting Story of Cuba” by Captain Hank Bracker. Available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com. Read, Like & Share Captain Hank Bracker’s blogs found daily on his Webpage, Facebook & Goodread accounts.