Snake Island

The landscape change as we make our way to Snake Island.  As we leave Lagos behind,  we see palm trees at the water side instead of roads, and small villages in the place of high rise buildings.  The contrast makes me feel I have left one planet and entered another.

What strikes me first, is the vast amount of ship wrecks.  I wonder what happened? Pirates?

Ship wreck 1Simply just abandoned ships? I am not exaggerating: a little bit of googling to try to understand the context  reveals media reports on calls  on the Nigerian government to prese

rve its coastline and do something about the rusty ships that have been abandoned in Nigerian waters.  It is sad, yet fascinating as we navigate through this grave yard of ships. I have simply never seen anything like it.

Eventually, though, the boat slows down and we are met by a flock of children on the shore. We didn’t really bring a lot of stuff, but yet we pay them to carry what we have got, knowing they really could use a bit of cash. We walk through their village and to a beach area behind it. They come running after us.

A group of little boys approach me. They stop in front of me and smile.
“Have,” they suggest. As if my pale, blue-white skin colour doesn’t give my tourist status away, it is certainly confirmed by the camera around my neck. They stare at the camera.  They don’t seriously think I am going to give them my camera? I wonder.
“Sorry?” I ask.  “Did you want to have your picture taken?”

I am met by vigorous nods and they look very grave and serious as  I take their photo with my digital camera. The great thing about the digital camera is that as soon as we find some shade, I can show it to them afterwards. They high-five each other, and run off.

boys on the beach

I go for a stroll along the water side. The sand is coarse, the waves surprisingly brutal. I walk into the water, allowing the water to reach my knees and before I know it I am face down in the sand, splashed with salt water, some small, sharp bruises forming on my knees. I didn’t know that grains of sand could cause bruises. I learn a new thing about Nigeria every day!

The village we are nearby, is a fishing village. I observe the houses, the fishing nets, and I realise again what a world away this really is. You don’t ask for the password to the wi-fi here. You don’t look for a place to charge your near-dead camera battery either.

Fishing village snake islandBut I could observe this place for an eternity, I think.   With or without my camera. I am not really ready to leave when the boat decides it is time to go.  I don’t feel the urge to return to buzzle of the city yet, I would prefer to stay here, under a palm tree, contemplating papaya and coconuts.

But, as the fishermen make their way out on the waters again, we head back to our tiny boat that will take us back to Lagos.  I still have a little bit of battery left. I take photos as if my life depended on it until my little, red camera really decides to pack up for the night.  The one below might just be one of my favourites.


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