Fernando de Noronha; paradise on earth?

The anchorage by Fernando de Noronha was not exactly calm, with the big swell coming in from the Atlantic, making Chip-Chip feel as though we were still under way. But we were happy to be anchored below the impressive mountain that can be seen all over the island, and with a view to lush shores. Esben, of course, volunteered to make pancakes for breakfast to celebrate our arrival. Quite the feat in the rolly seas.

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The Atlantic crossing

We left Mindelo, Cape Verde, with the course towards Brazil at five in the evening, just before darkness fell. Our neighbors in the marina found it a bit odd to leave so late in the day, but we prefer starting out late and letting the kids have a night of sleep to begin the trip. This way, we find, that we have less seasickness onboard. Everybody went down to get some sleep, and I started our Atlantic crossing with just the genoa, in the strong winds between the islands. But soon we were in complete lee of the island and I had to start the engine. The whole trip to Fernando de Noronha is about 1320NM, so should take a couple of weeks. So far so good. Continue reading

From the Gambia to Cape Verde

Our visit to West Africa was very special to us, and we would definitely suggest anybody sailing from the Canaries to Cape Verde to make a stop here (just make sure to check vaccination requirements and malaria risk) – it’s so different and will challenge your perception of the world in ways that the “normal” cruising destinations do not. None of us had ever visited Sub-Saharan Africa before this trip, and we have learned a lot. We have seen a little part of the incredible wild life this continent has to offer, heard about the history of these countries and talked to some very interesting people, offering views of the world so different to ours. Continue reading

A visit to a school in The Gambia

The anchorage at Oyster Creek was full of life; here, tourists start their trip when they go on the river or in the mangroves by boat, and on land there’s load of little cafes, clothes vendors etc. We wanted to go and visit the holy crocodiles in the Kachikally Crocodile Pool, and again we decided to walk to our destination, much to the bewilderment of the many, many taxi drivers who offered us a ride on the way there. The road took us through yet another protected nature area – which seemed to be where the people from the city dumped their garbage.

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Oyster Creek

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The ancient stone circles by the Gambia River

The Baboon Islands in the Gambia River is a nature reserve where you’re not allowed to anchor, so we made sure to stay outside of the park limits, but anchored close enough to see the hippos through our binoculars. And as darkness fell, the animals started to come alive and we could hear their deep roars around us. A bit scary actually, when you cannot see a thing, but soon it stopped again and we were alone with the fireflies in the dark. Continue reading

Hippos and baboons on the Gambia River

As we made our way further up the river, the water became fresher and the wildlife changed. In the saltwater section, the river banks had been covered in mangrove, but now the vegetation became more like a jungle, and we were beginning to feel like we were sailing in an African movie set. As the sun started to set, the air became alive with birds returning home and as we motored on to find an anchorage for the night, we were all on deck to watch the spectacle. Continue reading

The Gambia River; of slave islands and desolate creeks

The Gambia River was calm as we motored against the tide towards James Island. Dolphins followed along the boat in the heat, and the river was so wide we could barely make out the land on both sides. In the afternoon we anchored in lee of the tiny island, which is the place from where the slaves were shipped out from the Gambia. The island has been renamed to Kunta Kinteh Island, named after the main character in the famous “Roots” novel by Alex Haley. According to the novel, Kunta Kinteh lived in the village Jufureh on the north bank of the Gambia River not far from the island, and was sold as a slave from the island. Despite of the fact that the historic accuracy of the novel has long ago been disproved, the Jufureh village are now making good money from the tourists by arranging “Kunta Kinteh history tours”, and for example presenting the visitors to the last living descendant of Kunta Kinteh. Can’t really blame them, it’s a cool story either way. Continue reading

Anchored in the creek by Lamin Lodge

The water around the Lamin Lodge, where we were anchored, was completely calm, as it was surrounded by mangroves. We made our way in to the lodge, a restaurant that looks like it was inspired by the movie “Hook”. Here, a number of colorful former fishing boats were moored, ready to take tourists on trips in the mangroves. We got our dinghy tied up and made our way to the restaurant to celebrate our arrival in the Gambia. It was nice to get into the shade of the open air restaurant, and when we received our food we soon had the attention of the monkeys living in the place, ready to grab some food if you don’t pay attention. One of them had figured out how to hide behind Esben’s back without being seen, and wait until he could quickly take something from the plate. Unfortunately for him, we made Esben aware of the wannabe thief, and Esben scared him away. Continue reading