We were parked right on the front of the ferry so I was able to take this picture across the river so you can see where we were going. Because of tides and currents, the ferry actually heads out to sea slightly instead of making a straight run across. This is the mouth of The Gambia River so the ocean currents do affect it. The crossing takes anywhere from 25 minutes to over an hour depending on the condition of the engines. It isn't unusual to go across backwards because one set of engines is better than the other.
We were on the biggest ferry. See how we are packed in. In an emergency, you would have to go out the car window.
I won't bore you with an account of all our shopping and meetings during the 5 days that we were in town. Suellen may have some accounts of the sisters' activities on her blog. Suffice it say, we went out to eat several times, enjoyed air-conditioning, TV and hot showers, purchased our supplies for the next 2 months and then had to tackle the ferry again from the other direction.
On the Banjul side, we have more things to look at we wait and we usually wait longer because we don't get up before dawn to go to the ferry. We pack the car, take care of any last minute purchases and go to get in line.
If you're really hungry and adventurous, you can even buy a meal at one of these "sidewalk cafes".
Of course the worst part of not crossing a sunrise is the long wait in the sun. On Wednesday, we got in line around 11 AM and got on the ferry around 2 pm. So for 3 hours we sat and waited in the hot midday sun. We block out the sun as much as possible while still trying to allow some air flow.
One of the trickiest things about waiting a long time at the ferry is striking that fine balance between dehydration and having to use the bathroom. Trust me, dehydration is preferable. I usually hit this balance fairly well, but sometimes err too far into dehydration and get a headache. Even on my longest ferry wait (over 14 hours), I've never had to use the facilities at the terminal or on the ferry.
Finally we clear the terminal and head for home. Just thought I would show you that we do have one paved road on our side of the river. It starts near the weigh station and continues up river for quite a ways. It runs directly past our village, so we have an easy trip. This picture is also a picture of the one that got away. I had just taken one picture and was zooming in for another when a monkey ran across the road and then another. Unfortunately, monkeys are fast and a bump in road made me take a picture of the sky instead of the monkey.
Ahhh, home, sweet home! We arrived at 3:30 PM after leaving the guesthouse at 10 AM. All in all a fairly typical trip. We don't consider a 3 hour wait all that unusual. It was extremely hot that day though. Too bad I didn't have my thermometer with me. Maybe I'll take it next time.