In englishEesti keeles

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Driving school on Senegal fish market

After crossing famous Faidherbe Bridge in Saint-Louis we made a wrong turn as GPS failed to show the way. GPS seems to have troubles after crossing the borders in Africa. Thanks to proper preparation we had alternative map helping us out. Heavy traffic was sprinkled with donkeys pulling carts and pedestrians walking on the road in all directions. The closer we got to the hotel, the tighter the traffic. Amphibear is not the easiest vehicle to maneuver. Hamor kept his calm between goats, chickens, and market booths. Then it got even tighter. Roadsides were filled with loading fish trucks. Fish market on the sides and just one narrow passage in the middle for the cars coming from both directions. Hamor got the instructions from me, in the role of navigator, to "keep straight from that chicken" and "do not hit that donkey driver on his head with a pontoon". We started to doubt that the street might have any proper hotel.

  507m long Faidherbe Bridge over the Sénégal River

Cart on the fish market

Mermoz Hotel was a nice, friendly place in Saint-Louis with its beach bungalows. The Atlantic Ocean on one side, the Sénégal River delta filled with brackish water on the other side. The hotel was polite, clean and secure; ocean roaring on the side. Amphibear was again a big hit in the hotel. It turned out that the hotel had a nice beach from where Amphibear could leave for the ocean and that hotel administrator could provide us with 600 litres of fuel. At the same place stayed a seaplane Latecoere 28 in 1930 piloted by Jean Mermoz that later crossed the Atlantic taking off from Dakar. The monument of the flight is right in front of the hotel.

Cosy hotel bar with fast WiFi

We took a taxi to buy food for the ocean crossing and we also took a drink for Neptune, just in any case to avoid storms. The city was a chaos with rarely any white people. At the same time taxi fares were according to the distance travelled. Prices in the supermarkets were fixed, though  the markets were more the size of small stores, 20-30 m2. Those who speak French can bargain on the markets.We saw the exotic markets more from the car window, better not to get under the spell of Africa, at least not yet. The continent invites to discover more. I felt pity not to speak French as this is a necessity to get along in this part of Africa.

Old fishing boats are on the shore, new ones are catching the fish on the ocean

One is for sure, I have found a good place to lower Amphibear in the ocean and sail away. Fishing boat traffic is so intense that no map is needed: just follow the boats. At the estuary the waves are similar to homely Gulf of Finland, sharp and short. Nothing new or extraordinary.

The estuary of the Sénégal River, a small bay in the front. Sea route goes along the other side of the estuary, sea traffic is heavy

At the moment it is not sure when I am leaving for the ocean. My co-pilot Hamor Kaha has excellently fulfilled his task, Amphibear has arrived without a scratch and is ready for the ocean. I have to wait for the replacement of a damaged control panel of Scottoiler chain greasing. The old was broken due to my own fault and new one has been ordered and is already in Dakar. I have to clarify the documentation for leaving the country. When the documents are settled and new control panel has arrived, the first ocean leg is waiting. The weather is as promised, every day the same.

The wind is blowing from north at the seashore, but turns at the ocean. The wind is blowing 6m/s during day and subsides in the evening. It is 22 degrees C during night and 25-28C during daytime. Water temperature feels like 19-21C. If a holiday is needed from Nordic darkness and the Canary Islands are boring, Saint-Louis is a good destination. Good hotels, exotic, long day and the ocean is like a pool for Estonians.

1 comment:

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.