Tristan da Cunha is a remote group of beautiful islands strung in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, some 1,732 miles (2,787 km) off the coast of Cape Town in South Africa and 2,487 miles (4,002 km) off the coast of the Falkland Islands — which themselves are some 900 miles (1500 km) from the coast of Argentina.
It’s about as far as you can go from any land surface while still staying on an inhabited island — because Tristan da Cunha is inhabited. The main island, which measures 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) boasts about 250 citizens. Now, this remote British territory is looking to add another inhabitant.
A Marine Protection Zone (MPZ) is being designated around Tristan da Cunha. Almost three times bigger than the UK, it will be the largest MPZ in the Atlantic, safeguarding one of the world’s most pristine marine environments and the wealth of wildlife that lives there.
“We got here through the tenacity and vision of Tristan, the support of seven international partners, and 20 years of working together,” the project’s web page reads.
The job is for a 3.5-year project supporting and enabling the Tristanian community as protectors of their rich waters. It will guide the marine protection zone through its infancy stage, creating not just a global beacon of conservation good practice, but also a reason for pride for the small but tight-knit community of Tristan.
The project is expected to last from September 2021 to 2024, though job shares may also be possible. What can you expect on the job? Well, the listing has a number of responsibilities and requirements, but the advert published by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) charity sums it up thusly:
“There are two key ingredients to making this work. Firstly, you need to jump into life on Tristan and try your hand at anything that comes your way. Secondly, the people of Tristan sit at the heart of our work, and building relationships with this community will be the cornerstone of yours and the project’s success.”
“Yes, we do need someone who knows a bit about the marine environment, has worked on similar projects before and can deliver field activities. But a can-do attitude and people skills are absolutely vital.”
So if you’ve got conservation skills and a can-do attitude and are willing to travel to a beautiful, remote island for three years… it doesn’t get better than this. The salary is about £30,000 per year ($40,000), but your expenses are mostly covered so you’ll end up saving a lot of that.
While truly a once in a lifetime experience, living on the island isn’t always easy. There are no air strips on Tristan da Cunha, which means all trips to and from the island happen by boat: a 6 day boat ride to South Africa.
There is, however, a village, and a supermarket. The village (Edinburgh of the Seven Seas) is home to some 70 families, farmers grazing their animals on common pastures and cultivating crops in patches (especially potatoes). Several houses are reserved for visitors. As Tristan da Cunha is a British territory, there is tea in every one of them.
There isn’t particularly much information about life on Tristan da Cunha. There’s not much going on in the local news section (other than the entire island getting vaccinated for COVID-19, which is another perk), but you get a sense of a warm community on this island.
“As you are likely to be invited to birthday parties whilst you are on island it is worth bringing with you a selection of birthday cards, wrapping paper, and small presents,” the advert’s travel guide notes.
Internet connection is likely to be an issue. There is an internet cafe on the island, but the speed is a very slow 256kbps. We couldn’t find if there’s any wifi on the island, so if you’re looking for a chance to get off the grid, this could very well be it — you may want to stock up on a large ebook library though.
Of course, in addition to its breathtaking scenery, Tristan is also home to diverse wildlife — especially marine wildlife and birds.
It’s definitely not a job for everyone, but it’s a job that has meaning, and it’s definitely a rare opportunity. Think you’re the right person for it? Here’s the advert, it’s open ’til the 9th of May.
This is not a paid job advertisement. We just thought it was cool. We actually reached out to RSPB for comment but they didn’t reply.