Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Gambia, Day 5

Hello from what feels like the middle of nowhere!
We're still afloat! Drifting down the river. We've had a busy few days making our way upriver, and exploring along the way. It's been really amazing and we're all really glad we made the extra effort to come here. It certainly makes the Malaria meds and bug nets worth it :)
We've stopped at several villages, which was an amazing experience for all of us, especially the kids who were swarmed with local kids. A bit overwhelming! They don't get many visitors, especially white ones with 6 kids, and here I thought we didn't blend in in Europe! Here it's almost a small mob!
We also managed to get stuck on an unmarked mud bank in the middle of the river, sat for a bit scratching our heads, and ended up using our dinghy to get us un-stuck. No worse for the wear :)
Yesterday as we were going through an area of the river where the water was really calm, we finally spotted some hippos on the edge of the river, making their way across!! It as incredible.....we shut off the engines, and coasted, as they were surfacing all around our boat, and poking their heads out, wiggling their ears! The kids had fun watching and waiting on where they would surface next. We learned they are the 2nd largest land mammal, to elephants, and can hold their breath underwater for up to 15 minutes!
Today we went through the Gambia River National Park, which is where they are doing a rehabilitation program for several different types of monkeys. We were heading through there with our boat, and when the 'rangers' see you they come over, and 'escort' you though the park. The whole park consists of 6 islands, and there are monkeys on 3 of them. We saw a few scampering around in the trees, and we did the best we could to catch some photos.
We've reached the "end" or at least as far as we're going up the river, and are making our way back towards the Atlantic Ocean. We are roughly 130 miles up the river and the landscape has changed several times. Now we're in rice fields on both sides of the river, but we've seen thick jungles, loads of mangroves, and sparse palm lined banks.
The afternoons get super hot and humid, being on the river, and this afternoon, we took turns taking 'showers' (consiting of a bucket poured over us in our bathing suits) on the front deck with the fresh river water, and it felt great! Well needed after several days of sweating!
We don't have internet to post photos, but we'll get some up as soon as we can.
See you soon!


Ashley said...

I love reading about you guys all hot and sweaty on the river while I sit here shivering with blankets and waiting for the snow to come. :) Sounds like such a fun experience! Disney's jungle cruise comes to life ;)

Anonymous said...

I bet those showers felt sooooo good. Love you... Mom