Very carefully I placed the strap of my laptop around my neck and made sure all the loose change, keys and passport were safely put away and could not fall out of my pockets. The boardwalk was OK, and our tickets were ripped apart, then we were told to approach the jetty itself one at a time, and walk, as calmly and with as much dignity as you could muster, to the boat to be helped on board.
We were each given orange life jackets that in the humidity were uncomfortable to wear – hard and itchy and making you sweat all the more. The boat had a plastic awning that you could not have open for fear of being drenched, and the mixture of people, oil and west African humidity gave the space a fairly noxious odour.
Once underway it did improve – yes the noise of engine and waves was deafening but we did get some through flow of salty air. I was on the ocean side of the boat could not gauge much of our progress until the lights of the city loomed up on the left and we came into a small inlet. I was glad to see that there was a proper wooden jetty on this side. My next challenges were to retrieve my luggage and find my lift. I had tried to text my driver from the airport side but had received no reply. I need not have worried. Wearing a USAID t shirt and a trilby hat, there stood Haba, a Guinean man who had settled in Freetown. And I got my bag back in one piece.