Food was great. Lots of good fresh food on the islands –

  • sea food (eat it..)
  • local rice, locally grown – top quality; not that nasty white US/thai import
  • limes (or lemons? Scotland is not the best place for a background in fruit..) , green/yellow sharp and sweet
  • tomatoes and lettuce in Bubaque (toms in tins from Bissau)
  • onions
  • peppers
  • chilis
  • plasas
  • chicken
  • pork
  • eggs
  • baobab fruit (direct from the tree if your aim is good …)
  • green tea and sugar
  • Maggi
  • red (palm) oil
  • vegetable oil

– much better than your average porridge and 3 minute noodle Highland trip…

We bought some food in Bissau, but peanut sauce was the only thing that we didn’t see on the islands, and Bubaque has pretty much all the basics for a well fed tour (and good restaurants if you just want to hang out).  People in the villages were happy to sell fish, rice, fruit, veg and chicken direct and the larger villages had shops with varying offerings from Maggi to biscuits.

Fresh fish (barracuda, capitaine, mackeral and numerous others) and shellfish (oysters, cockles, snails) was available from beach, sea and fisher folk .

Collecting large snails

Into the pot for chicken, crab and snail stew

Oysters to eat straight from the rocks

Fresh fish caught on Mepps flying C

Proudly displayed for the camera

A note on fishing:

The SAS Survival Handbook says:

Do not rely on fishing as a source of food

Pretty much every guide book on tripping says:

Do not rely on fishing as a source of food

I ignored this and the fish above was the ONLY decently edible fish i caught. Fish were everywhere; jumping out the water, shoaling in the shallows, chasing each other about; but not safely on my line.

In Scotland I can (reasonably) safely ignore the SAS advice cos i’ve been catching trout since i was a kid. I have not been catching red snapper since i was a kid.  I used a saltwater fly rod to spin mepps in a fashion that takes beauty silver bar salmon and top trout from Scottish lochs and rivers but this wasn’t Bijagos style.  The few denizens of the deep i did snare laughed at my light tackle. Heavier kit and a lifetime’s supply of Rapalas might have ensured more pescatorial protein.

Luckily there were professional fishermen about

Lime (lemon?) and grind your own chili from the village

Chicken in the camp. Not Kentucky Fried (yet..)

The small market and shops in Bubaque town had a fairly wide range of produce for what’s meant to be a backwoods kinda place. The sea food is very cheap, super fresh and some of the best I’ve ever eaten.

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