Back to the Blue

colobus-massageDuring a job interview I once answered the question about where I would see myself in three years time quite truthfully (but of course also very naively) with “oh, I have no idea. I stopped making plans that far ahead, cause they never turn out as planned anyway.” Surprisingly, I didn’t get that job … but I still believe that there’s something to my answer. We had so many plans for this journey, hell, Patrick spent the better time of two years trying to find the best route for a two years journey from pole to pole. But then the autumn gales hit early in Iceland, our engine broke down, and after fixing Widdershins up it would have been close to suicide to battle the countless low-pressure systems roaring mercilessly over from Greenland. So, what to do? Of course a change of plan was the answer. Forget Canada, forget the USA, Europe, here we come! Oh, and Africa, too.

After another few unexpected twists and turns we found ourselves managing over one hundred chimpanzees in the middle of the River Gambia, having signed a contract that would potentially keep us in the green jungle for one and a half years. However, however … well. To cut a long story short: we had a fantastic time, learned a lot, made many new friends and will never forget this time in The Gambia. But in the end our views of the project differed significantly from the views of our director, and under the scenario she envisaged we were simply not prepared to stay on.

So … what to do? After carefully considering our options we decided to hop onto our tiny Chinese motorbike, pack our few belongings and the dog in the backpack, and slowly make our way back to the coast. Camping along steep river cliffs, crossing the River Gambia on dodgy little ferries, marvelling at the iron age stone circles at Wassu that are mirroring their cousins from further north, admiring the wildlife and of course enjoying a not-so-fast ride past dubious trucks, donkey carts and TOUBAB screaming kids was a really good way to slowly say good bye to this country that was our home for more than half a year. Finally, after three days on the road, we got back to Lamin Lodge, where a very, very faithful Widdershins had battled all the rain, wind and thunderstorms of the past months by herself and was still happily afloat. Now we need to fix up a few things on the boat, and then we’ll be sailing once more into the blue! Next stop: Cape Verde Islands.

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2 Responses to Back to the Blue

  1. AfriBats says:

    Thanks a lot, Leonie, for your excellent contributions to the project:
    http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/leonie

    Please have a look on iNaturalist and update the identification of your Hipposideros-observation and add both this and the one of E. gambianus to AfriBats (think of the latter as a collection of observations within iNaturalist). You should see invitations for both, simply click on “Accept”.

    Thanks again, Jakob

  2. AfriBats says:

    Would you add your bat photo as a citizen-science observation to the AfriBats project on iNaturalist?:
    http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/afribats

    AfriBats will use your observations to better understand bat distributions and help protect bats in Africa.

    Please locate your picture on the map as precisely as possible to maximise the scientific value of your records.

    Many thanks!

    PS: this is Peter’s dwarf epauletted fruit bat, Micropteropus pusillus
    http://www.twointheblue.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/fruitbat.jpg
    and these are Gambian epauletted fruit bats, Epomophorus gambianus
    http://www.twointheblue.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/hippo-bat.jpg

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