Kayaking and birding

We made it to the one year mark of our tour in Equatorial Guinea yesterday.  We celebrated by having a normal day– I spent the day cooking and cleaning, and Cormac went up to Moka to work on a project with the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program.  We ate dinner on the couch, then watched a movie before going to bed at a crazy hour of 10:30.  We had originally planned to have some friends over to celebrate, but we’ve both been so busy at work that we were too tired to party.  Cormac recently started teaching a course for Drexel University’s study abroad program, so he’s been staying up late to perfect his lesson plans.  I’ve been trying to spend every last penny in the Embassy’s accounts before the end of the 2014 fiscal year (September 30th).  I’ve purchased everything from typhoid vaccines to a prefabricated guard booth in the past month.

Before the storm of work began, we got a nice little treat for ourselves in the mail.  One day when we were out at the Sofitel Sipopo, we ran into someone with an inflatable kayak.  We had never heard of such a thing, and went home to research it on Amazon.  $120 bucks later, we began our countdown to receiving our very own kayak.

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Passing the time: working on our golf swings on a rainy night. Don’t worry, the practice balls are made of foam!

The night the kayak arrived in the mail, we tore open the package and blew up the boat in our living room.  It was too dark to take it out, so we sat on the carpet and practice paddling indoors.  A few days later, we finally had the time to test out the boat on the water.  We made the 20 minute trek out to Sipopo for the maiden voyage.  We dragged the kayak and paddles down to the sandy shoreline and neatly spread out the parts for assembly.  Our life jackets were on, the paddles were ready, but the air pump was no where to be found.  It was still at home snuggled on the couch.  As we headed back to Malabo to retrieve the pump, it began to rain.  We would have to wait for another day.

The next time we set out to sea, we ensured we had all of the required pieces.  We pumped up the boat in record time and hit the water.  We cruised around the small island off Sipopo beach, exploring the rocky inlets and coves.  We sat and watched the birds swoop over our heads, and peered into the crystal clear water at the few fish swimming beneath us.  The only issue we had was forgetting to plug the drain hole in the bottom of the boat.  When we got back to shore, we were sitting in a couple of inches of water.

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Fresh out of the bag

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Five minutes of hand pumping later

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Extreme ocean kayaking!! Okay, maybe not.

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Our favorite birds to watch

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Active group of fishers

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Still and quiet water down an inlet of the Sipopo island

We figure the next time we go out kayaking, we will be pros.  We’ll remember all of the pieces to assemble the boat, we’ll remember to plug the drain hole, and we’ll pack some snacks to enjoy while we’re birding.  Third time’s a charm, right?

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