Our morning started off with a pirogue ride through the mangroves.
Thomas our local Senegalese guide and his partner, Ignace - who managed the navigation had been working together for about 7 years. They work as a team because - as Thomas explained it - the guide wants to share his knowledge can't concentrate on the labyrinth of mangrove crossings at the same time - so he leaves the driving to his partner. For conditions like this, multitasking is not a requirement for the job. In fact Thomas had all the right qualities - outgoing and informative - he was well suited for the job! Having already arranged for the ride the day before - the lodge asked if we were okay including another person - Marie Jo - it helped cut the cost a bit yet it turned out to benefit us as well - she was French and spoke English so when Manning and I were a little uncertain about the translation she was there to step in. You'd think the boys would have helped but they charge a slight fee these days for their services.
Honestly - I wish I could remember all that he shared with us but it was lost to me since I did not write it down and was just enjoying the scenery around us and the relaxing nature of the ride. At one point we stopped off and got a good close up view of mangrove root system including the incredible underground world of the oysters thriving below for cultivation, consumption and export by local oyster farmers.
|(credit to: Julie London since I missed this shot)|
Thomas cut off two stalks without any of us thinking much about it.
Before we realized it we came to a wide stretch where the Sine River and the Saloum River met and our guides worked their way towards a stretch of an island/sand bar. Little did we know we were in for a big treat!
Ignace looks around for some help - oh you boys - you look like the kind that might want to help get this fire started.
Grilled Oysters - Here we Come
All I could say is that those oysters were oh so tasty - I could have stayed there having them grill us more oh so easily. But alas our time was coming to a close..
Hey wait a minute - as I discovered afterwards - on the lodges website writeup - one thing was missing "you’ll set off to discover the mangrove and its fauna. You’ll call in at a deserted beach and taste the mangrove oysters opened on a wood fire accompanied by chilled Muscadet" - next time we'll remember to bring our own ;+}