Freetown sits at the mouth of one of the world’s largest natural harbors. The Lungi airport also sits near the harbor, but unfortunately it is on the other side. The shortest distance being a straight line requires the use of a water taxi (or helicopter, if you’re brave) and since a four hour drive from the airport to Freetown is not appealing, the water taxi wins.(Click on “x” in box to see Lungi)
When we arrived February 9th we took a couple of vans to the dock and got onto a decent size boat that could carry 22 passengers. With flaps on the side to protect against spray and wind, it was a fairly quick and pleasant trip (apart from the loud engine).
On my return trip there were just four of us making the crossing and so the company sent a different boat. This boat was a tight fit with four of us and luggage. It probably reminds you of a 14′ run-about that you skied behind as a kid.
Put that on open water (the harbor is open to the Atlantic without any breakwaters) with a breeze blowing across the bow (no taking waves perpendicular, that would be too easy) and you have a good chance of getting wet.
The Bergstrom’s seemed to take the brunt of the spray but I did not escape untouched. When I grabbed my luggage in Chicago to go through customs it was wet, and I discovered that the travel pillow in my backpack was soaked when I got home.
After 40 minutes we arrived at the other side and had a “sea-legs” test. The dock was jumping like a calf on a spring day, with the gangplank raising 12-18 inches every time a wave came through. Bad timing would mean squashed toes. Everyone displayed timing to make an old salt proud and we made it safe and sound to the shore, which means the story lives to be told (or at least, that I don’t regret not having steel-toed shoes).