Thursday, 28 May 2009

To Príncipe

At last, and in a very excited mood, we flew first thing this morning to Príncipe. What a beautiful island - even more so than São Tomé, with rugged volcanos everywhere, shrouded in dense green rainforest. And the beach where we are staying on Bom-Bom island is indescribably beautiful. Couldn't help running straight into the sea as soon as we arrived, for a quick swim before the afternoon's work.

The (Dornier 228) plane was quite an experience. The pilot himself described it affectionately as a "van with wings". We'd chartered it to make four shuttle runs between the islands, gradually carrying over the whole delegation (at eighteen seats per run, that increased Príncipe's population by 3%). When it arrived on São Tomé a couple of hours late from Cameroon for reasons unknown, the extra lie-in was actually very welcome. Things sped up - by the time we had got off the plane and greeted the Scientists In The World team, who had been at schools on Príncipe all week, it was flying back for the next shuttle. Unfortunately, that was the last we were to see of it, as a tyre burst after the third run. One group is therefore stuck in the wrong island, and hoping to fly over very early tomorrow morning for the ceremony. Fingers crossed...

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