While Senegalese cuisine surprisingly delighted me, I made a move to a small island located north of Dakar. It's called N'Gor and I had very little information about it other than the fact that somewhere around the island was surfable.
The island has a little tropical / exotic feeling and is only accessible by boat (XOF500 for a return, You could try paddling with your surfboard if you don't want to pay the fare). There appeared to be quite a few tourists from France on the island and it was very difficult for me to find decent and cheap accommodation except one surf-camp.
I had never stayed at any surf camps before in my life (I don't really want to), but this time I had no other choice. The surf-camp was owned by Danish surfer Jesper, and after I negotiated the price with him, I decided to stay in a dorm with a shared bathroom at his camp for EUR30.00 per night including breakfast and dinner. Not cheap at all for a shabby traveling surfer like myself, but thanks goodness that Japanese Yen was quite strong against Euro.
I came to Senegal for surfing. So I kept an eye on the forecast and it showed some swells to reach the coast of West Africa over the next few days.
N'Gor island basically has two major breaks - N'Gor Right and N'Gor Left.
N'Gor Left was completely blown off by onshore winds, but N'Gor Right was often light cross-shore winds or occasionally no winds with 4 to 6ft swells, plus a period of 14 to 16 seconds.
The photos below were taken by Jesper.
Honestly speaking, I did not expect waves in Senegal to be this big. Moreover, they were not only big, but also heavy then. I had a couple of big set-waves on my head and got quickly washed away to the rocky inside-section.
It actually took me a little while to figure out where to position myself - if I sit too deep, I will easily be sucked in by set-waves, and if I sit on the inside-section, the fast-breaking shoulder will throw me out. N'Gor Right wasn't easy for me in the beginning.
Besides the challenging waves in N'Gor, so far so good since I came to Senegal. However, on my third day on the island, everything turned upside down for me.
Being well informed by Jesper about where to paddle out and where to NOT paddle out, I unwisely chose a short-cut and accidentally stepped on to what appeared to be two nasty sea-urchins.
What was even more unwise of me then was that I didn't treat the wound either at the scene or after I came in. I was stupid and I completely disregarded Africa's sea-urchins, which I later regretted so much.
Late in the afternoon I started to have a shooting pain through my right leg and then I had a fever during the night. I could not sleep at all and I was in agony.
On the following day my right foot became badly swollen as shown in the photo below.
Unable to walk without some help by other guys at the camp, I miserably left the island for Dakar on the forth day and took a taxi straight back to Annex Kingz Plaza (Dakar's only hostel).
I initially thought that my right foot would eventually shrink in a couple of days, but it never did. It became bigger and bigger! It was definitely time to go to hospital.
Unfortunately, I had to wait for two days to go to see a doctor because it was Saturday when I left the island for Dakar. You might say that I could have gone to the emergency medical service on the weekend, but I realized one BIG problem.
I do not speak French and, presumably, most hospital workers in Senegal do not speak English. Ahhhh....
Very very fortunately, there was one French-Canadian girl who happened to be staying in the same dorm at the hostel. Her name was Ann Marie (pictured below on the right), a university student from Quebec and she was working as a volunteer in Mali, finished her work there and came to stay in Dakar for a few days.
She must've seen me being so miserable and barely walking. She offered me some help by going to hospital with me by taxi on Monday and explaining to the hospital workers what had happened to me.
Clinique de la Madeleine (shown in the photo below) is the hospital I went to and there I had my right foot X-rayed (not necessary actually), had the wound properly treated and obtained prescriptions for my medicine.
All and all, with some help from lovely Ann Marie, I neither had to be hospitalized nor did I have to go under the knife (No way!). Ann Marie and I went to a pharmacy in downtown Dakar and I bought whatever was written in the prescriptions.
In the end, the taxi-fares to and from downtown Dakar, the treatment at the hospital and the medicine including crutches cost me almost USD300 in total! Ooooouch!
This medical cost was actually more painful than the actual pain that I suffered from sea-urchins' thorns.
I don't know why I was smiling in the above photo. This was the first time ever in my life to use crutches. I must've been smiling at Ann Marie's charm which actually made me forget about all the pains.
Mercie beaucoupm, Ann Marie!