Mass in Sine Saloum River

Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Sun 8 Nov 2009 11:10

Up at 5.30 for a 6am start and sail down the coast towards Gambia to the River Saloum over 60 miles away, David was pleased as we had great winds 15-20 knots, sailing on a reach 8-9 knots.  We arrived 2nd at the anchorage in front of Djifere outside the river and waited for everyone else to catch up.


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Fishermen in the Pirogues


Nicholas from the RIDS came out on a pirogue (canoe) to lead us over the sand bars into the river, the track had been sounded that morning, so we all went in single file following very closely tension was high as we could see sand on either side of us, anyway we all made it into the river where the current was ripping through at probably 4 knots.  We anchored in the bay in depths of 8-12 meters, where the whole fishing village had come to great us, then we ribbed up to the rickety pontoon to be warmly meet by the locals boat boys where we left our boats in their hand for a few euros.




Going over the sandbank


Djifere is a fishing village the first thing that hits you is the smell from the shell fish processing plant, where they just dump crate upon crate of shellfish on the beach to dry out, the smell is pungent. You can smell this a mile out to sea.




The village has lots of children all waving at you and wanting to hold your hands, asking you for pens, pencils and writing paper also money.  They are all trying to sell you something anything to get money as they live in little shacks with no amenities, no toilets or showers they have a communal area for the whole village but they usually just wash in the sea or river.




On Sunday we went to Mass, which involved a trip up the river at 8am in a pirogue for 40 mins then on a pony & cart which took us to the village.  We then walked up to the circular church, everyone was dressed in their Sunday best, the women in their colourful outfits and hats also the children were dressed up too.  The service was lively, lots of singing and prayers also communion, which David and I took part in.  Then after the service a walk around the village, it is a poor village little mud huts and animals running everywhere.  Lots of children vying for our attention, wanting sweets, pens etc and the women trying to sell you jewelry and material.  I gave a little girl my remembrance poppy which I had been wearing, as in England it would be remembrance day service (11th Nov).






Outside church




Our lunch was shrimps, then dried fish, rice and veg which seems to be a local dish followed by green bananas all served upto us on big blankets/mats on the ground. Sheltered from the 38 degrees by material hung from the trees.


We walked back in the baking heat to the Pirogues and they took us to a nearby bay, so we could all have a dip before we returned to our boats.  We all ended up in the hotel bar drinking the local Flag beer reminiscing on the day.


Today we motored up river to Hakuna Matata camp 1 hours motoring in two tracks, where we are going ashore to see mangroves, wildlife and have a big Mechoui party. 




Love to all


Suzanne & David xxx