Sunday, November 30, 2008

Offshore Fishing

Today was my first time fishing offshore Nigeria. Unfortunately Bob was not there as he was at work! ; ( I went with Jonathan (trip arranger), Sharon, Mike (fisherman friend with all the know-how and gear), Toussaint (S&J's cook), Steven (S&J's cook), Daniel (our cook, Toussaint's brother), and Johnson (Mike's driver). Lucky was our boat driver. We had a great day trolling for fish and snorkeling around some wrecks that were 0-50 feet below the water surface. The visibility was poor at the first wreck, which broke the surface of the water, and just got worse as the day went on. Here are some pics from the day.

Back Row (L to R)- Steven, Toussaint, Johnson, Lucky, Daniel, Mike; Front Row - Sharon, Jonathan
Here I am relaxing in the boat. Daniel is in the background as is one of the many wrecks poking through the water surface.

Toussaint (below) caught a small Mackerel, with Daniel and Mike by his side.Mike, smiling as always, and helping Daniel get trash off the line. We caught lots of plastic bags today and some water hyacinth!

Along with fishing was a bit of snorkeling and playing with the underwater camera. As I mentioned the visibility was poor so I took very few photos. Here is one from the first wreck with a fishing net and some colorful soft coral. While at the first wreck two guys came up with spear guns. They were catching all sorts of fish. We saw them again at the second wreck and they were diving down to the top of the wreck, at about 50 feet deep, then shooting a fish and slowly coming up. Mike had a spear gun that he was taking out for the first time into the ocean (he had practiced in the pool). We learned we all need to develop our lung capacity if we ever want to spear fish!

Just like in Dubai, they are trying to build some islands offshore by dredging sand and pumpng a sand slurry into the new island location. There were two Chinese ships doing this. In the background you can see that they are just offshore from the beach and I will be surprised if they can get the sand to accumulate with the currents here. Only time will tell!
The big fish award goes to Sharon. Great fight! She reeled in a 20 lb. Cobia, which was immediately put on ice and then bled and gutted soon after. Below is Sharon and Johnson back on the dock taking photos for proof (and having fun). Jonathan caught a Mackerel as did Toussaint.Toussaint and Daniel also wanted a picture to show off the catch of the day!
Once at home, we filleted the fish and grilled it up by the pool enjoying dinner outside.
It was a great day!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Toilet Situation in Lagos

Warning: If you are easiliy disgusted then don't read on...

There are no public toilets in Lagos! Last year, after doing a fundraiser fun run, I needed to use the restroom as I had drank a lot of water. I was told there was no restroom and to go behind the building! I thought this was crazy! How can you run any kind of event with no toilets! That is the situation in Lagos. When looking for an article online about environmental day (also called sanitation day) being cancelled, I ran across this article online called When There is no Toilet... It really describes the situation here. On a typical drive you always see at least one person squatting in the bushes! Why doesn't the government do something!!! This is a health disaster waiting to happen!

Dignified Mobile Toilets, a company that rents mobile toilets, has a motto which is The Shit Business is Good Business!

Third Mainland Bridge Bike Ride

I am now organizing the biannual Third Mainland Bridge bike rides for the Nigerian Field Society. We had about 35 riders signed up to ride the ~30km bike ride during environmental day this morning but I had to cancel the event on Friday afternoon. Envoronmental day is a day when people are to be cleaning and therefore are not to be on the road from 7AM to 10AM. This is the only time it is safe to bike the Third Mainland Bridge. On this day, environmental day was canceled (no movement restrictions) due to national examinations that were scheduled in the morning. Bummer! Link to news article.

Bob and I have done this ride on a number of occasions in the past and have some great pics. The bike rides usually occur in November and February. Check out these posts.
February 2008

November 2007

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Activity next door

In the past, I have posted pictures of the new beachfront property near our place. After they built out the beach (Aug 2007) by pumping in sand, they piled a bunch of sand in a rectangular shaped mound. Within the last week, dump trucks have been taking the sand away (they took about half, not much more than what was removed in pic below). I was told the sand was placed there to help pack down the sand so that a building could be built on it. It makes sense... I guess. I will let you know when construction starts!

Out in the distance in the picture below is an island being created by pumping sand. A LOT of Lagos is reclaimed land. In the bottom left of the photo (above the checkered balcony) is a building that was flattened one day (it happened a while ago but I never wrote about it). For months construction was ongoing to build this house. Not too long after it was complete, but after people had moved in, someone came to demolish it. Our steward watched it from the window. We don't know why it was demolished... maybe someone built on land that did not belong to them but that is just a guess. Daniel said the windows were removed but the contents of the house were not prior to the walls being knocked down.

Pics taken 15Nov08.

Friday, November 21, 2008

LYC's Annual Sail Around the World Event

The second year teaming up to run the USA Booth at Lagos Yacht Club’s Sail Around the World (SAW) was a success. Nancy and Marilyn came early to decorate and they did a fantastic job. Nancy O. provided decorations but was out of town for the event. Thanks Ladies! This year we increased the mini-burgers from 300 to 350 but the hot dogs stayed at 100 (Thanks for supplying the dogs Kelvin). Our cook Daniel prepared all the burgers in two days! He is amazing. Bob, the bartender, served lemonade solo or mixed it with Jack Daniels whiskey (Lynchburg Lemonade). When the cooking started we had an assembly line from the cook (Kelvin, Scott and Kevin (part-time)) to the construction team (Nancy, Lisa, Kevin (PT) & Malachi (PT)) who put the burgers and dogs in the buns and topped them with a USA flag toothpick.

The commute to the yacht club reminded me why we do very little in the afternoon/evening here. It took about 1.5 hours to go 8 km from work to the yacht club, but that time did involve resolving a minor fender bender. The commute should be straight forward, but due to traffic we took a longer but hopefully faster route.

I was thrilled to have two folks at SAW, TJ and another man, recognize us from the blog. The positive reinforcement just keeps me working on the blog! Thanks!

We got very few pics this year! Bummer! Here are some pics from during the prep stage.

The Booth
Scott and Nancy - Thanks again!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Degree Confluence Project

A friend of ours, Jonathan, always gave Bob a bit of grief for carrying his GPS everywhere... and now Jonathan has his own. He was talking one day about visiting confluences in Nigeria that have not been visited before... some geeky thing GPS nerds do. I thought he was talking about the confluence of two rivers as that was the context in which I had used the term before. What did I know?? Well he was talking about the Degree Confluence Project where GPS geeks travel to the intersection of whole number latitudes and longitudes documenting their visit with pictures and their story on the internet. Jonathan, Sharon, Kazeem and a guard went to 7°N 3°E. Click on the link to see their story. It is actually pretty cool what they did and not geeky at all (in my opinion anyway). Many of the easily reachable locations have been visited and documented but not all. This is just one more thing to research before a trip... our next trip is to Ethiopia.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yacht Hotel Moored in Lagos Harbor

We kept hearing rumors but did not believe them. They are true. There is a yacht hotel moored in Lagos Harbor right next to the yacht club! I saw it today. The Sunborn Yacht Hotel was last moored in London. Check out the article in the Vanguard paper. Here is an excerpt from the article.

"The obviously elated Afikuyomi described the yacht hotel as a delightful addition to the Lagos skyline as it is going to add value by being one of the very few floating hotels in the world thereby putting Lagos in the league of cities like New York, Barcelona, Paris and Finland just as it has already put the state ahead of cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha which are said to be at various stages of setting up similar floating hotels."

It will be interesting to see who stays here. We just might have to check it out ourselves.

A Day at Wreck Beach - Fish for Sale

We had another wonderful day boogie boarding! Bob, Sharon & Sheryl... we missed you!
The waves were great but the big event was the negotiation. Some men with line caught fish stopped by to see if we were interested in making a purchase. Jonathan bought the fish in the hand of the guy on the left. a yellowfin tuna (we think), and Wes and EG bought the huge fish. Anyone know what kind it is? grouper? Pictured above: Gord, Jonathan, Dale, EG & Kevin

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Life in Lagos can be a Rollercoaster

Last Monday was a bad day. It was just one of those days where nothing goes right. I tried to print something at the office and I could not find a printer that worked. I went to the bathroom, only to find there is no toilet paper (not an uncommon expereince... I should have known). I was going home and the power went out in the building so I had to walk nine floors in the dark (no back-up lights). Then I went outside to deal with the constant horn honking. Many of these experiences are every day occurrences but some days they just drive me crazy!

Now... all is on the up and up and after Monday the week just got better. I finally left the office before 6PM on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and spent some more time with Bob. This morning I went running with friends (which was great) and as I was walking back to my flat I had a smile on my face. Almost everyone I walked past greeted me and I greeted them back. Nigerians are very friendly. Life is good.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New date for Lagos Half Marathon

Looks like the date of the Glo Lagos half marathon is now February 21, 2009. I will be in town and will run it. It is my new motivation to get back into shape! Just what I needed!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Be back soon!

I am still here just swamped at work and have been busy travelling to Houston and South Africa. I owe lots of pics and details from past trips and I plan to do it as soon as I can!

Here is a link to a write up (not be me) on Nigerian Field Society trips that I/we went on:
Osogbo in July
Kano & Katsina in October

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Botanical Gardens, Cape Town

Once we got to Cape Town I was amazed at the wild flowers so I had to visit the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Here are some pictures. It was absolutely GORGEOUS! The colors were AMAZING!