Ilashe Island: An escape within
While driving on a typical sunny day, a peep from the car windscreen or on the side mirror revealing a snaky gridlock can be frustrating. The intense sun does not help the matter either, while the toxic fumes from vehicle exhaust pipes that continually pollute the air leave motorists, their passengers and even passers-by who inhale them at risk of life-threatening sicknesses.
It takes a visit to an ear doctor to know the extent of damage noise from unnecessary blaring of vehicle horn does to the ear drum, while the dusty environment is almost making many blind.
But you can for once escape to a place where the land is fresh, friendly and natural. It is a place where no car horn blares; where there is no human or vehicular traffic, where the noise is sweet melody from the chirping of birds, the magical clapping of ocean water, and where freedom is free. It is an escape just by the corner.
Yes, Ilashe Island, a sleepy riverine community in Lagos, is just by the corner. Tucked in-between the lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, Ilashe has a peninsula of sort that is an escape from the madness of Lagos metropolis. It is just about 25 minutes ride on boat from Victoria Island, 20 minutes from Marina and about 10 minutes from Apapa.
While the inhabitants, whose occupation is mainly fishing, go about their business undisturbed, great fun takes place at the ocean bank at their frontage. One thing that will draw your attention is the serenity, freshness and freedom in the atmosphere around the community that truly negates the madness and life in the fast lane of Lagos metropolis.
The freshness starts from the array of beautifully arranged coconut trees that dot the roadside to the peninsula and also shade visitors from the intensity of the sun. The sand keeps increasing in volume and slows visitors’ pace as they move closer to their destination, the ocean bank. To ease movement, operators of the beach and most beach house-owners have quad bikes.
Unlike other shores along the several kilometres stretch of the Nigerian coastline on the Atlantic Ocean, the sight of Ilashe is unique. Of course, the beach has the signature of Lagos beaches: white, lush, sandy shores, coconut orchards just behind the beaches and all breath-taking view of the sea. But the ocean current seems stronger here to make surfers salivate on the prospect of riding on the waves of the strong ocean water that crash on the shores. The first thing that draws your sense of sight is the several beach houses owned by high-profile people in the society and expatriates, who use them as hideouts and for holiday outing.
Some of the buildings are in form of a simple bungalow, while many others have elevated balconies where the owners can sit to enjoy the ocean view. But they all feature beautiful designs on wood architecture.
Looking at how the houses breathtakingly dot the ocean bank, the picture that comes to one’s mind is that French Cote d’Azur reputed to be the millionaires’ playground. Going by the calibre of personalities that have beach houses there, Ilashe Beach is simply Nigerian millionaires’ playground.
You cannot beat the rustic allure of the beach house’s wood and thatch construction that lack nothing in terms comfort. The exquisite furnishings, swimming pools, personal bars, water pumping machines and generators are among facilities that ensure unending comfort and swell time in the beach house.
There are some of the beach houses that are rented out by their owners on holiday elsewhere or very busy. The locals also run some others. Ogini Ogunbiyi, an operator, says a beach house for a weekend stay costs about N45, 000, while the visitors also make provisions for their own feeding.
He assures of security and the high level of privacy has not yet been overrun by urchins.
From the beach house, one could explore a panoramic view of tens of ocean vessels as they berth on the high sea waiting for their turn to come into the Lagos wharf. It points to the congestion in Lagos wharf.
Why not join the millionaires and if you cannot, then come and see where they commune with nature and where things are as God created them. You are free to come with your picnic boxes, swimming pants, skirting and kayaking tools because there is enough space, water, sand and even sun to play and birth on.