After exactly 7 days at sea we arrived in Banjul, The Gambia.
The last night was hairy with lots of small, unlit fishing pirogues as far as 60 nautical miles offshore some with sleeping crew so we needed to keep a very good look-out. Upon arrival, we took the dinghy in with the crew from the Alutia to find the Port Authority, Customs and Immigration in Half Die (named for a cholera epidemic that claimed half of the population) hoping that they would let us check in late on a Saturday afternoon.
Banjul port is a rather ugly, stinky, busy port and we did not want to stay anchored there for the weekend. I remembered check-in in The Gambia as a lengthy and rather unclear process and it has not changed in the last 8 years. The process and prices seem to depend a lot upon the individuals that happen to be working on a given day.
We arrived on a Saturday and the Customs office that needed to inspect the boat was closed until Monday. However, the customs agent reminded us that “This is Africa” and encouraged us to give him a ‘present’ to allow us to travel up the river to Lamin Lodge for the weekend. With huge relief we paid 10 euros, promised to bring the boats back on Monday and set out just as the sun was starting to set. It was dark by the time we dropped our anchors in the calm creek deep in the mangroves.
Rest, happy to be here.