Dispatch from Sierra Leone: Day at the Beach

This weekend the weather was supposed to be – well, “not as bad.”  So we planned a trip to the beach – a great opportunity to unwind a bit after a harrowing few weeks at work.  A co-worker and I got up before dark and got dropped at River Number Two Beach, which is “google famous” as the site where a 1970s “taste of paradise” commercial was filmed for the Bounty candy bar.  [sidebar: if you watch the commercial, there’s almost nothing of the beach itself, and you wonder why they went to the expense of coming all the way to West Africa to film it). It’s the same place I went last week for an hour or so, but this time I actually have my own photos to share.

River No. 2 Beach

The plan today was to take a canoe trip up the river to a waterfall, then return, when we would be joined by a bunch of other colleagues from work and spend the day there. We sat in a canoe with a good three inches of water in the bottom, and were taken up by Ibrahim, who rowed the canoe upstream through a series of rainshowers. The resort had given us a large beach umbrella to keep our cameras and gear dry, but there unfortunately wasn’t any way to keep all 3 of us dry.  So our gear stayed dry, but Ibrahim did not (though he didn’t seem to mind).


On the way, we knew there was a chance to see crocodiles or maybe a type of monkey which “catches” crabs that grab on to its tail. But the weather wasn’t on our side – we saw a quick shadow of a monkey in the mangroves, but other than that, it was just birds.  Such as a pair of pied kingfishers, and a pair of grey herons.

Pied Kingfisher


After a rainy half hour, we made it to the waterfall. Up on the top of the falls stood a red 55-gallon drum. We wondered why it was there and commented jokingly that it ruined the falls, and decided to hike up to it. Turns out it was just a drum full of water that had somehow floated downstream and ended up there. I told Ibrahim we should remove it, and he said, “It is useful for my village, I will bring it back.” And he dragged it all the way back down the falls, and into the canoe it went.

River No. 2

Waterfall at River No. 2

After that, we headed back down to the beach, to relax, watch the birds and the waves. Once, for about 40 seconds, the sun even came out! River Number Two also served us a great barbecue fish lunch.

Flock of Seagulls

Dog on the Beach

All in all, and despite the rain, a great day. I also flew the quadcopter over both the beach and the river – and let some of the locals fly it a bit! But that’s for another post…

You can see more pictures from Sierra Leone, including the one where the “ferry canoe” operator uses a shovel to row the canoe, at this Flickr album.

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