Monday 21st November 2022

At 08:30 with sunshine and a moderate chop in 35m.p.h. winds we had 248 miles to go to the West African coast at Banjul in The Gambia.

We are heading due east for the landfall early tomorrow morning. The Gambia is the smallest country on the continent and surrounded by Senegal has only 50 miles of coastline. According to the guidebooks it is magnificent.

The Gambia River and its forests and mangroves are home to much wildlife which we hope to see in the Makasutu Forest.

This part of the continent was inhabited between the 5th and 11th centuries and stone circles and burial mounds provide the evidence. By 1456 the Portuguese arrived and turned the area at the mouth of the river into a trading point. The British arrived in the 17th century and built Bathurst Fort as part of the slave trade and upon its closure (1807) the fort and its surrounding settlement was renamed Banjul.

During the afternoon we sailed what was like a broken carpet of orange seaweed. Though not as extensive as the Sargasso Sea of the western Atlantic similar conditions must be present here as warm and cooler waters mix. Related to this on Deck 8 has its own version of this!

Around 4:00 p.m. we saw an advanced party of shearwaters skimming the surface and 4 gulls but no other evidence of nearing the African coast.

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