Guinea Bissau

George.Curtis2 (Past OCC Member)
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Guinea Bissau – 11°12.00'N, 15°16.00'W
Recommended cruising guides

West Africa [ - Steve JonesThe RCC Pilotage Foundation []
Whilst living and working in the Gambia, Steve Jones and his family cruised extensively on the West Africa [ coast. It soon became apparent there was an unfulfilled need for a yachtsman’s book on the area, so he set about writing one. His cruising guide covers the West Africa [ coast, off -ying islands and navigable rivers from Dakar in Senegal to Guinea-Bissau. In addition to the pilotage detail it includes a wealth of information on the practicalities of cruising in this, as yet, little-known sailing area. It is designed to be a valuable guide for yachtsmen who feel encouraged to spend a while in this fascinating area when doing an Atlantic circuit or when en route to or from the South Atlantic.

1) Information Submitted by Jill Schinas - Ma Amari

2) Date 1990

3) Harbour or Area Covered Include Lat & Long Guinea Bissau 11°/12°N 15°/16°W

4) Suitability and Attraction for Yachts The Bijagos islands are a group of low lying sandy islands in the mouth of the river Geba, They cover an area of about 60 square miles. The offlying area is unsurveyed. The Portuguese survey is about 20 years old but is still fairly reliable.. Navigation is intensive, excellent sailing among the Bijagos islands Reliable wnds in harmattan season

5) Marinas, Berthing or Anchorage In Bissau anchor off the port. Very muddy at low tide.

6) Entry Ports Bissau

c) visa requirements Yes . Costs £20, get it in Senegal (Dahar or Ziginchor) or at the airport in Bissau.

10) Attitude of Officials to Visiting Yachtsmen Surprise! Needed a `present` but then took us to watch the carnival

11) Repair/Hauling Facilities None

12) Sailing Directions or Charts Portuguese charts. We obtained ours in Lisbon (near the railway station)

13) Cruising Guide and where Obtainable. Include Phone and/or E-Mail

14) Port Radio Services None

15) Weather Forecasts None

16) Yacht Club(S) No Chance!

17) Other Facilities: drinking water You risk cholera if you drink the water fuel Yes gas (propane)/gaz Probably obtainable as the people cook on gas chandlers No bank Yes, but it is better to change money in the main tourist bar opposite the bank shops/market

One supermarket carrying very limited stock, it caters for the resident population of aid workers. Excellent vegetable market on the way to the airport, but eggs were the equivalent of 60p each in 1990. restaurants/hotels A couple post office/telephones including mobile facilities Phone calls have to be booked a week in advance Mail is said to be unreliable internet cafes best mailing address showers laundry No transport/air services There are flights from Dahar medical facilities/hospital Very primitive, rumoured to have no permanent water supply

18) Recommendations or Warnings The islands are what you go to see. The southern ones are the easiest to reach as the channels are deeper (this is all apparent from a study of the charts). Surprisingly enough there are some navigational marks. The area is a maze of sandbanks and shallow broad channels. Radar is very helpful as often you can not see the islands to take fixes. You can not navigate from the spreaders as the water is a dark brown colour and very thick.. When you want to stop at night you just pull over to the sandbanks and drop the anchor, often you will be four miles offshore. Very little other traffic.

19) Other Information – please include here general impressions, opinions, comments or any other matter which might be of use to those visiting. The people are friendly but have nothing. They will pester you for T shirts etc. Give them cigarettes or empty glass bottles - but please don’t give them lots of goodies. The more you give them, the more they want. Communication is a problem. Some of the people speak some Portuguese but the main language is Creole.

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