13-Feb-2003 -- Coming from Mauritania with a cargo of frozen fish and bound for Lomé (Togo), today we passed the coast of Ghana. Due to the humidity in this area the visibility is seldom good, and thus from the coast not much can be seen. 5N 1W is more than 22 km offshore, and accordingly the coastline is almost invisible. Closer to the Confluence, however, there is the oilrig APG-1, with a tanker actually moored close by. The closest town is Saltpond, the commercial and administrative centre between Cape Coast and the capital Accra.
The name "Ghana" stems from a powerful monarchy which ruled the region of the Middle Niger between the fourth and thirteenth centuries. The area first became known through Portuguese navigators in the fifteenth century. English and Dutch traders and companies exploited the district in the seventeenth century, their main object being the slave traffic. The Dutch held settlements on the coast until 1871, when a convention was made transferring them to the English. In 1886, the Gold Coast, as the territory was then called, was constituted a separate colony. The Republic of Ghana came into existence in March 1957.
The Volta River is dammed at Akosombo and forms the 4th largest man-made lake in the world, being 320 km in length and covering some 8,500 km². This project was begun in 1961, and the lake was filled in 1967.
The moist hot climate makes Ghana unhealthy for Europeans. The most important crop is cocoa, although Ghana is no longer the world's largest producer. Mining constitutes the country's second largest industry with gold, bauxite and diamonds as the main earners of foreign exchange. The amount of timber extracted annually has reduced during the last years, and there is greater emphasis towards sawn timber, plywood and veneers. Exploration for oil is being carried out.
Information about Ghana obtained partly from Nautical Publication Nr. 1, Africa Pilot, Vol I, "The West Coast of Africa from Cabo Espartel to Bakasi Pensinsula", 13th ed. 1982 and Supplement 7th ed. 1999, British Admiralty, Hydrographer of the Navy, Ministry of Defence, Taunton, England)