Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Day at the Beach

We are a coastal city, although since we are such a large coastal city you can drive forever and never see the ocean. We live on the north side of town and the beach is on the south side of town, so we don't even get an ocean breeze up here, but we definitely go down where the breezes are as often as possible.

There are a couple of swimming beaches in Accra, but the coast itself is very underused as a leisure destination and rather overused as a public toilet, so you have to be careful where you swim. Or walk for that matter. Once again, it's a matter of using what you have to make up for the great many things you don't have, and the ocean is right there for the locals, unlike, say a metropolitan sewer system with indoor plumbing for all. Or plumbing, period.

So anyway, we aren't terrifically fond of the closest swimming beach. It's part of a resort hotel and charges for parking, then on the beach you are swarmed by extremely persistent entrepreneurs trying to sell you everything from necklaces to carvings and they aren't shy.

So we head out of Accra across the coast a little ways (about 20 miles) to Kokrobite Beach (koh-kroh-bee-tee). The water is that lovely aqua green/blue of the tropics and we park at Milly's Backyard (restaurant, bar, rustic lodging, beach access) where you can get a nice meal and have doorstep access to the beach from the parking lot. That's Milly's back behind the palms and the flag of Ghana. :-)

The restaurant is a raised thatch roof building overlooking the ocean with a sand floor and about eight heavy wood picnic tables with benches, nicely shaded by tons of palms that blow in the breeze. The bar is an open air thatched roof affair with tables and chairs scattered around on the sand, and the lodging is in small individual buildings that we have not seen inside, but seem, as we casually walk by, fairly rustic.

There are lots of fishing boats (giant canoes) here and a couple of vendors- who are contained in plywood stores and wait for you to come to them, thank you very much. There are a few palm thatch umbrellas on thick poles at the top of the beach, and lots of space to lie down and bake in the sun, if you want.

The surf in Ghana is fairly tame- but the southern exposure makes for some nasty rip tides, so you have to be a little careful here when taking a dip in the ocean. The water is almost too warm, but it has a faint coolness that makes it ideal for swimming. Coop and I would like it cooler, but Ted likes his water lukewarm, so we are all reasonably happy with Ghana's corner of the ocean.