30-Mar-2008 -- In Search of Adventure – Boys from Borneo
Saturday, 29 March 2008 and planning for confluence point 7N 3W complete; the Boys from Borneo adjourned to the Camp A Wet Mess at Ahafo Gold Mine. By 19:00 hrs the band was in full swing to Freddie Mercury's 'I Want to Break Free', and all were contemplating just that with the rising of the next hot African sun.
The plan included breakfast at first light, departing through Security at 7°01.464'N 2°20.541'W by 06:15 hrs. Travel on a westerly heading to cover the 39 nautical miles direct route via some anticipated sub-standard West African roads. Through Kenyasi to Hwidiem and the only road map available has a shortcut to Mim at a village called Nakiem; this shortcut either does not exist or is overgrown with the growth of an early wet season. In the village of Nakiem a group of young people marched to their early morning fitness drill, complete with drum and trumpets, blocking the entire roadway as they go.
At the only roundabout in Goaso the directions are clear to Mim, the early morning Sunday crowd now gathering for Sunday church services, mums and dads, young and old, in the their Sunday Best walk both sides of a well paved roadway. The road to Mim and on to Bediakukrom is as good as any carriageway in Ghana. A saw mill with its cranes high above the fallen lumber comes into view and discussion centres on the pros and cons of logging.
Now to get back on track we need to leave the asphalt and follow a dirt track towards Sekyepekurom and Kaspen. This track got worse with every creek crossing, and every creek crossing included a detour in preparation for concrete culverts. Still on track and travelling through Sopia and Krakamon, parallel to the 7th North parallel and within 25 n.m. of our destination.
It is obvious that our only road map used in conjunction with a well used tourist brochure was not exactly to scale. Often the compass turned south or north as the road wound through the forest separating the Western Region and Brong-Ahafo Region. The Garmin 60CSX and 60CS had us at 6°57.444'N 2°50.546'W and converging. Discussion moved onto how close we were to the border of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, without passports/visas it may not be a wise move to cross this border by mistake.
At the village of Biposa the locals were a little perplexed at Patrick's attempt of gaining information on the track ahead. Patrick unaware, he used a mixture of English, Spanish, and Indonesian words to a now growing crowd who were amused at the words being spoken but not understanding one syllable. The episode not lost as Dan was out of the car, Canon D400 in hand; the locals loved this enthusiasm and gathered quickly for the foreign paparazzi.
Moving on, the obvious convergence of the required latitude and longitude was now a surprise as the track wound past some very large forest trees, untouched by the logging companies. Down to ½ n.m. south of 7°N and tracking parallel, with a further 2 n.m. west to cover. There was a need for the track to verge a little further northwest. Wishing this to happen and an intersection came into view. One track continued west (towards the Côte d'Ivoire border) and the other turned north. Not exactly what was needed but a decision had to be made, the undergrowth now appeared to be impenetrable. Sitting in the middle of the intersection pondering ideas, another track was noticed off the northern route. Could this track lead northwest?
This new one-lane track, obviously unused by automobiles, was well rutted with logs across the creeks, tall grass, and just enough room to allow the 4x4 to pass with a degree of safety. Now within 1 n.m. another village, these people would not see many outsiders though the children appeared not to be surprised, and waved and shouted as we moved past their mud-bricked rusty roofed homes. Down to 2/10 of a n.m. and as Joseph slowed the vehicle, our GPS was showing exactly 7°00.000'N 2°59.800'W in the village of Kwame Agi. Joseph spoke to a local lad in a dialect that was obviously understood and left the car under his care.
This village had a plantation of crops in the general direction of the final few yards to the goal. Following a well-worn foot track it was now obvious the need for machetes would not be required, ducking under low banana and mango trees, and walking on a bed of thick ground forage the confluence point of 7N 3W was located. It was 10:30 hrs GMT.