Thursday, December 03, 2009

Fiftyish Fish for the Fiftier

As a present for Jan-Bart’s (s/y Victory) 50th birthday, the five other boats chipped in to take him for a guided fishing adventure on the Gambian rivers. The men thus departed at 1000 in a long wooden pirogue flanked by two dinghies with baskets of live shrimp and fishing rods and the ladies herded the seven children off for a day of land bound wildlife exploration. Our itinerary brought us to see crocodiles in the wild at the sacred crocodile pool of Mama Bambo Folonko, in the Kartong Community Forest. We were amazed that our paths were crossed by loose crocs as we wandered around the ponds (with a guide). They seem to be well fed and do not present any danger, except perhaps initial shock, and the children were even allowed to touch one (although they were discouraged from going too close to the head). I suspect that this enterprise would be uninsurable in the US. We followed this with a visit to the Abuko Nature Reserve. Although a relatively small park, 250 species of birds and 52 mammals have been sighted regularly within the reserve. This was a lovely area and we had a small tour but our visit was cut short by our tiring little monkeys who themselves had finally tired of looking at monkeys (and baboons).

The men had a very successful day, catching four large butterfish, 24 various smaller fish and a sting ray and a beautifully striped but apparently somewhat dangerous snake. The Lamin lodge agreed to cook it up for us (excluding ray and snake) for a fair price and we dined royally. Butter fish is a firm white fish and has become my new favorite fish.

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