My trip to Bureh-Town beach was unusual. Located in coast of the Freetown peninsula, Bureh-Town beach may be easily reached by road and that doesn’t take more than an hour and half from where I live. Nevertheless, when I went to Lakka beach over an extended weekend, from there I took the much longer and hazardous sea route to Bureh-Town beach rather than reaching there by road. I decided to get adventurous and hired a motorized country boat to explore the fringes of the peninsula and the islands off the peninsula.
Those of you who are curious about Lakka beach may check my post on it.
From Lakka Beach, my first trip was to the Banana Islands located off the peninsula, and I have described this memorable trip in some detail in another post. I sailed diagonally from the Lakka beach, through the high seas to reach Banana Islands in a journey that took about two hours. From Banana Islands, I then took off for the Bureh-Town beach, sailing back diagonally towards the peninsula and arrived at the beach in about 45 minutes.
As my boat approached the Bureh-Town beach, the long pristine beach with two sweeping curves, crystal clear waters with the surf, huge rock outcrops, fringe of coconut trees and the backdrop of verdant mountains presented a sight of spectacular beauty. A special feature of the beach is the place where a shallow river originating in the mountains behind the beach takes a long sweep along the beach, curves and finally meets the sea. Between the river and the sea, there is a narrow stretch of land which has the river on one bank and the beach on the other, presenting an unusual and breathtakingly beautiful geographical feature.
The sounds of the waves breaking on the beach on one side, the gurgling shallow river on the other, mountains at a distance and a clear blue sky with it specks of cotton like white clouds – if there was a paradise on earth, it was there. It was like a timeless dream.
As midday passed into late afternoon, my guide and boatman kept reminding me that we had a long journey back by boat to Lakka beach. I kept warding them off, keen to capture the beauty of the place in my camera in fading light of the sunset. When we finally took off around 5.30 in the evening the sky was overcast, but the waters were calm.
However that was not for long and soon the placid waters gave way to rough weather. Within fifteen to twenty minutes into the sea, the winds had begun picking up and high tide started setting in. The sense of a placid boat trip soon gave way to that of an adventure and then quickly to the sense of a dangerous expedition.
A sense of nervousness started creping in with the approaching darkness and with the waves getting bigger and more violent. I checked my watch, looked at the darkening horizon and then zipped up my lifejacket. My guide picked up my sense of nervousness and reassured me that we will be safe.
At times the waves were huge and our little country boat rolled (swayed from one side to the other along its axis) and pitched (the bow of the boat going up and down) vigorously. The bow of the boat raised high up against the huge waves from time to time. At times it glided down smoothly and at other times it came down with a sudden crash. And once in a while, the boat swayed violently from side to side, little short of throwing us overboard of toppling us altogether. Since I had a life jacket on, I kept reminding myself “come what may, I will not drown”. My boatman and other companions however were unfazed and seemed completely oblivious of any danger.
In short, we were tossed around by the sea, as we slowly and steadily edged towards Lakka, our destination.
We passed through one of the most spectacular coasts I have seen so far – to our right was the mountainous peninsula with its stretches of long unbroken beaches, dense vegetation, rock outcrops and the occasional fishing village and to our left was the high sea, with the occasional uninhabited little island – all visible in fading light.
Truth to tell, I was as terrified of the dangers of this rather long, adventurous and risky boat trip, as I was mesmerized by the breath-taking beauty of the densely wooded hills and beaches lining the coast at a distance. Finally when we reached Lakka Beach around eight in the evening, it was pitch-dark and the tide was at its highest point. Needless to say, I was almost sick to death with dizziness and at the edge of my nerves. It was against the lashing waves and with great difficulty that my boatman and his assistants managed to anchor the boat. I managed to scramble out of the boat in neck deep water to get to the beach.
I offered my silent prayers that I was alive and safe.
The journey was in all respect a great adventure for me. I am as happy about having embarked on this risky and reckless adventure as I am sure of not doing it again.