Monday, 31 October 2011

Phil and Ali return...

October saw two of my closest Mercy Ships friends return to the Africa Mercy. Phil and Ali had been away for over a year and the last time I saw them was in Cape Town in September 2010. It's awesome to have them back onboard. Phil will continue serving as an Electrician, and Ali initially as a Ward Nurse. As per my tradition, I made sure I was across at the airport to meet them when they arrived. Welcome home, my amazing friends!

Phil's Air France flight on the tarmac at Lungi International Airport. Ali arrived two weeks ahead of him.

With Phil on the ferry...

And with Ali on the ferry!

Mercy Ships Ultimate: Sierra Leone

One of the enduring traditions on Mercy Ships is a Friday night game of Ultimate Frisbee. I've been playing Ultimate Frisbee since the end of 2007, and our games of Frisbee have happened throughout many nations in Africa, including Liberia, Benin, Togo, South Africa and now Sierra Leone. Frisbee is a great way to stay fit and attracts a large crowd of enthusiastic players each week. The skills may vary, but everyone is there to have fun and enjoy being outside. It's also often just what's needed after a busy week in the Purser's office!

Here are some more photos from one of our recent games.

Nathan unleashes the disc!

Good to run around, chasing after a disc!

Good Frisbee times!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Forklift fishing...

There was an accident on the dock last week, which unfortunately culminated in one of our two forklifts coming to rest on the ocean floor. Thankfully no one was hurt, and that must remain our main focus at this time.

The very next day a large crane arrived to fish out our forklift. It was quite the process, involving our divers and deck hands, as well as the outside contract workers. But after a couple of hours our waterlogged forklift appeared from the murky depths of Freetown's natural harbour.

Here are some photos from the morning's events.

The forklift being lowered back onto the dock.

The damage is clearly visible...

... As is the mud from Freetown's seafloor!

Friday, 14 October 2011

University Trek...

This past Tuesday, after work, I joined a friend in hiking up to the University, perched high above Cline Town (a suburb of Freetown) and the harbour. It was a pretty steep climb, but the view at the top was fantastic. We could see all the way across the river to Targrin Ferry Terminal and the airport at Lungi. It made me appreciate more the bustling city of Freetown and the kaleidoscope of colour that one finds here. It made me appreciate more being able to serve here with Mercy Ships.

Looking down towards the port area - the Africa Mercy is towards the left of shot.

This is Kissi Dockyard below, and the point jutting out across the bay is Targrin Ferry Terminal.

Close-up of the Africa Mercy.

Yep, down there and just out of shot on the left is my home!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Sunset from Targrin...

I went across the river to the airport last Monday and on the trip back we were treated to a spectacular sunset. Waiting onboard the ferry at Targrin Ferry Terminal, the whole sky turned red as the sun slipped beneath the waves of the Atlantic. I love it when God treats us to such awesome displays of beauty!

The colours were beautiful.

I love the reflection in the waters of the Atlantic.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Cable-layer 'Ile De Sein'

I have always been fascinated by interesting ships that sail the waters of the world, and one of these vessels pulled into Freetown yesterday (Thursday) morning. The French cable-layer Ile De Sein sailed into Sierra Leone's natural harbour and is here to work on the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) fibre-optic underwater telecommunications system. I may be wrong so feel free to correct me. :-)

This ship is perhaps more well-known in recent times for its role in recovering the flight data recorders, bodies, and other wreckage from the doomed flight AF 447. Air France flight AF 447 crashed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on its way from Brazil to France in June 2009, with the loss of 228 lives. The wreckage was only discovered earlier this year.

Sierra Ferry M/V Bai Bureh sails past Ile De Sein on its journey to Government Wharf, Freetown.

Saturday, 1 October 2011


There were a number of accidents on the road that leads down to the entrance of the port this past week. Working ports - with large container stackers (TEREX machines) and countless trucks - can be dangerous places. This truck misjudged where the edge of the tarmac ended and tipped into a trench, badly damaging the cab and causing some traffic chaos when the container was removed. It was a good reminder that we do live in a commercial port and need to be aware of the hazards located with such an area.

The container was removed with the help of a TEREX machine, and the wall has already been rebuilt.