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Cabinda Travel Blog

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...the few bits of real life i got to see...
I flew out from the UK on friday, eventually but too late to make my connection in Lisbon and so enjoyed a cheeky break there for 24 hours at some multinational's expense (what else would they spend it on?) and opted to head out into the old city and soak it all in, rather than going to the nearest bar and soaking it all in, as other in my situation are want to do.

I've now left my nice jungle camp, leaving behind the surf rushing against the sand and the mind-boggling scenery. Seeing an oil facility (this is a huge operation out here) plonked down in such a luscious landscape seems about as natural as a zebra crossing in your back garden! The camp is best described as a 'five star prison', where the scenery is very nice but your every move is noted and everyone gets a 15-minute phonecall allowance a week.
...were strangely beautiful...
That's if you can find a phone which will allow outgoing international calls, and you are not told by the sulky youth on the end of the phone 's'not possible'. I don't even know if he knows what it means, other than a phrase to get rid of work, like connecting a call.
 
Anyway, away from that now, and have resovled to take the piss at all possible opportunities to make them earn me!
 
So, today I took a speedboat for about an hour up the coast to a big old field called Takula. Despite our portacabin accommodation (a nightly choice between noisy airconditioning and silent sauna), the camp was nice. I never got to see all the monkeys playing together, as Matt so often did. I think he was witholding his 'monkey king' title from us. Good lad though, I wish I were on his team as we get on very well.
Fruitbats! Outside the dining hall- brilliant!
He is in the process of buying a cafe in his hometown in New Zealand, so may have to go and visit him one day,.
 
I will miss the noise of the crickets at night - not pleasant background chirrups, more of a carcophanous din like the start of an invertebrate grand prix! Last night I saw a praying mantis outside my cabin door! It wasn't as scary as they look on the TV, probably due to the more realistic scale, and the poor thing was quite frightened of me. Interesting-looking beastie though, like something from another world!
 
I Managed to sneak a picture of the bats the other night - sneak as no photography is allowed due to fears of espionage, so I felt like a right little james bond, snapping pictures behind my back while walking along! Hence the finger in the corner, though it's not too obvious! This is not an impression of scale - the fruitbats (I was told it is the biggest colony in africa) are the size of small (fully-grown, but not had a feed for a while and never going to be huge) rabbits.
Home sweet home

 
It's crazy - in the shetlands we had blackback seagulls, rabbits and midges. Here, we have birds of prey (have not fully identified them but some kind of fish-eater), bats, monkeys, monitor lizards (saw one over a metre long yesterday) and deadly mosquitoes! Oh and land-mines, though the minefields are clearly marked.
 
Had... now on the rig - must remember this - we had a barbeque up on the helideck this evening, which was a new and highly enjoyable experience. We can be outside and playing with fire as it our installation is 3 rigs joined together by a long bridge, and our accommodation jack-up (a rig which can retract it's legs and float to a new location) is a little more relaxed in terms of safety standards as it is a few hundred feet from the process areas- here at least you can go out on deck in your shorts and flip flops!
 
Well, that's probably the most internet I'll be getting for a while, better let someone else strap on the typing stick and wire home to stop the actuaries moving in...
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...the few bits of real life i got…
...the few bits of real life i go…
...were strangely beautiful...
...were strangely beautiful...
Fruitbats! Outside the dining hall…
Fruitbats! Outside the dining hal…
Home sweet home
Home sweet home
Cabinda from the air - heading home
Cabinda from the air - heading home
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photo by: hauteboy