Bijagos bound

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Africa » Guinea-Bissau » Bissagos Islands » Bubaque
March 31st 2017
Published: November 2nd 2017
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My colleagues jaw had not un-clenched for about an hour, the tendons were standing out like cordage. It it was hardly surprising. The return journey had been long and the greenish coloured sea had been heavy. The incidental background music for the trip was the Gee-Jaw sound of the engine; the swells causing the propeller to go in and out of the water. We were also running out of petrol.

A garishly painted fishing canoe, so typical all along the West African coast, was waved down. A wad of CFA's exchanged for a white plastic jerry can of petrol and we were on our way back to Bissau's port. The entrance was again guarded by huge, rather decrepit Chinese fishing trawlers. New pilings were being sunk at the pier, a sign that after years of stagnation, economic life was moving again in Bissau. It was a far cry from my last visit to country in 2008, the airport, roads and hotels were all showing signs of renewal and investment.

We are coming back from the DaKosta Island Beach Camp on the Island of Bubaque in the Bijagos Islands. This wonderful beach resort had provided a warm welcome the previous day. A lunch had been served just after arrival. The food is served on a communal table made from a dugout canoe. It's a tough reach for those at either bow or stern ends. Oysters had been cooked on what looked to be the large lid of an oil drum. When served these were washed dashed down with a cold crisp Vinho Verde. The fish mains were substantial and resulted in a companionable silence descending on our group.

After the dessert we wondered slow and zombie-like to marvel at an entirely deserted long strip of fine sand. A rather incongruous looking cow was plodding across the beach ahead of us. We then made use of the chunky looking beach furniture to contemplate the feast we had just had. The sound of snoring drifted out as the contemplation went on.

The Bijagos Islands are seldom visited excepting some intrepid French and Italian tourists, but as further resorts spring-up they are becoming a hidden gem. DaKosta is relatively new and owned by Adlino Costa, a former kick-boxer by profession.The accommodation was found at the end of a two mile strip through the bush from the beach. Small bungalows awaited kitted out with shower rooms a basic bed and net. A fan provided the AC. The buildings were surrounded by bleached shells likely from an old shell bank.

An equally large meal awaited us in the evening and a quiet night ensued. It did take an age to return to Bissau port but the effects of the additional ballast should not be underestimated.


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