Day 14 |
Sep 29, 2012

Banana Islands, Sierra Leone

By Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 08°08´N, 13°11´W
Weather: rainy
Air Temperature: 27°C

It was just a short sail from Freetown over to the Banana Island, and so the Silver Explorer arrived early in the morning on the northern tip of the island. Just like yesterday, it was raining when we lowered the Zodiacs. Today was an expedition day and so we sent out the scout team early to check the possibilities of a long hike, the exploration of the village and the opportunities of snorkeling and swimming on the beach.

The first landing site was not suitable to get our guests ashore, too much surf and the beach was covered by plastic trash, so we decided to move further to the east and north. There we found a nice little bay at the Banana Island Guest house. Locals were receiving us and helped us to scout the surroundings and give us information about what to do. Soon it was decided to offer a long 3.5 to 4 hours walk and a cultural explorative walk into the village. Due to the heavy rainfalls over the last days, the water in the bay was turbid and not at all appropriate for snorkeling and swimming.

We also got to know that on the island is a tiny school with about 30 to 40 students, so a good chance to do some donations of the school supplies that guests had brought with them.

At 8 am the excursion for the walkers started and under rain a group of 19 guests headed off to the other end of the island where it is connected with a stone bridge to another island.
First the path was running through the village and the further away we got from the village the denser the forest became. It was a pity that the rain now was even stronger so observations of birds and plants were very limited. But still our guests enjoyed the real feeling of being in a tropical rainforest. After approximately one hour and 40 minutes we reached our end point of the hike. The group was very lucky to observe (although very briefly) a monkey in the canopy of the forest.

Heading back, the rain got stronger and stronger and only after we were again at the village did it stop and a glimpse of sun came through the clouds. As we had still some time, guests could walk around in the village and had the opportunity of taking pictures of the village and the inhabitants.

Soon after the last Zodiac was on deck, the Silver Explorer set sail for our next destination in Ghana. In the afternoon my colleague Olga gave a presentation about “West African Cities in Today’s World”. She did a close look at the structure and function of these settlements and the enormous challenges they are facing after postcolonial Africa in their political organization and economic development.

As usual a briefing for the following day and a recap of today’s events finished this expedition day on the West African coast. After a very wet morning and a relaxing afternoon, our guests enjoyed a delicious dinner in The Restaurant.