Day 1 |
Oct 03, 2012

Tema, Ghana

By Christian Walter, Historian

Co-ordinates: 05° 25’ N, 0° 02’ E
Weather: partly overcast, hot

While most of our guests from the previous voyage had a full-day tour to the Shai Hill Reserve, the Botanical Garden before heading to the airport, 13 guests had decided to explore a little of Ghana’s capital Accra. Kara and Stefan and I joined this group, as did Noah, the guide from Togo, and Yao, our local guide.

We had been warned that traffic would be dense, and so it was. It took us quite a while to get through the morning rush-hour (by the way, the definition of rush-hour is “cars in slow motion”).

Our first stop was at a petrol station, and everyone thought that we needed some fuel, but it was to see the Kane Kwei coffin shop. This might sound strange, but it is one of the highlights of Ghana. Featured prominently on the Internet, they are actually considered “art”. Our tour continued at a snail’s pace into town, and we eventually saw the Freedom Square and Arch, several governmental ministries and the park where Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkruma was buried- all from the bus.

The museum was nicely set up, and we had yet another guide showing us around. Several books and booklets, as well as postcards were on sale, but unfortunately no stamps.

A short walk to Franklin House, a former slave trader’s home and dungeon, gave some photo-opportunities for local life and an excellent view of a fishing-harbor with many colorful boats on the beach.

A final stop at the artisans market gave a chance to buy some local dresses, necklaces and wood-carvings. I found some good masks and a door from Mali (unfortunately too heavy) before it was time to head home.

The rush-hour had stopped, but traffic was still dense. When we finally could almost see the Silver Explorer, it still took us almost 30 minutes to get there, as the area surrounding the harbor was so congested with trucks and containers that we had to make several detours just to be able to advance.

In the meantime the first new guests had arrived and by 4 p.m. all had boarded and it was time to set sail for Takoradi, Ghana.

Guests were invited to attend a presentation of the different department heads and the staff-members, during which Assistant Expedition Leader Jarda came with the news that our departure was imminent. Off we went on our expedition along the coasts of Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Benin and Togo.

During an excellent dinner new friends were made, and an after-dinner drink in the Panorama Lounge ensured that spirits were high….