Extract from Time to Tell by David Fulton

      Before he was imprisoned, local man David Fulton used to skipper a boat up The Gambia to lead the Alpha course in remote Gambian villages. Below is an extract from his book. He and some others are on their way back from one such village...


    …There’s nothing like a couple of crocs watching you, licking their lips and deciding what wine to have with black meat, or whether to have the white man for dessert, to focus the mind and I do wonder if we’d have gone much slower even if the outboard was working. We took turn-about with the paddles, ten minutes on and ten minutes off, but it was ever going to be touch and go as to whether we reached the Nautilus in time before she grounded out at low tide. However, as she hove into view she was still swinging from the anchor.

    “Make for the stern ladder,” I shouted, as I made my way towards the bow. I went forward carefully as the crocs were still with us like Red Indians round a wagon train. Slinging the gun over my shoulder I took the bow rope. “As soon as I make fast, I’ll go on board and get her started and into deep water, if you guys can transfer the stuff into the big boat that would be great.” I tied up to the stern ladder, climbed aboard heading for the wheelhouse. As I was unlocking the saloon door there was an almighty scream. “S**t,” I thought “the crocs have got someone.” Leaving the door I unslung the shotgun and raced back aft. I couldn’t believe what I saw; I took it in at a glance. One of the immigration officers was hanging backwards by his leg that was trapped through the two top rungs of the ladder. One hand holding the rail and the other holding the generator. The two officers in the tender were trying to take the weight of the generator, but there wasn’t enough room in the bow and with everything and everybody forward the water was lapping in and the crocs were wringing their hands in anticipation.“ “Permission to abandon the generator sir?” he said, I couldn’t believe it, it was like something out of a comedy. “Let the bloody thing go,” I shouted (I just can’t imagine myself saying “Permission granted”) which he did and it fell back into the tender on top of the two who were struggling to take its weight and the lot fell into the thwarts of the tender and thank God not straight through the hull. I threw the gun on the aft cabin roof and grabbed the man and hauled him up. “S**t,” (and I’m sorry for the language, but I’m just telling it like it happened, so,) “S**t,” I thought, “this is a bummer.  “Hey you guys, get your arses up here and see to your mate.” As they were sorting themselves out I quickly took in the amount of blood that had saturated the man’s trousers and of course as he’d been hanging upside down it looked to me that his upper leg and groin area was worst affected. “Cut his trousers off,” I shouted as the others were scrambling on to the deck, “I’ve got to get the boat into deep water” 

    Quick as a flash I was on the flying bridge starting the engine and raising the anchor at the same time. As soon as the hook was clear of the water I pushed the throttle full forward. “Bugger,” (this seemed to bring out all the wrong, but descriptive words in me) she wasn’t moving. Reverse full, forward full, reverse full, we were slowly moving, muddy water everywhere, but she was dragging herself into deep water, Yes! It only took a minute to find two fathoms of water where I dropped the anchor, cut the engine and dug out the first aid box. Making my way aft I was appalled to find the deck awash with blood and the DIG and his sergeant looking down at their moaning comrade. They had cut his trousers off and the blood was pouring onto my recently painted deck (no consideration, youngsters these days). He was lying on his back with his left leg extended and the shin bone was sticking out from his leg through a large triangular flap of skin, just like the piston on the outboard. So to prevent anymore mess on my deck, I took off my belt and used it as a tourniquet on his upper leg and almost immediately the blood slowed down to a seep.

     You didn’t need to be a Harley Street surgeon to know that it was a compound fracture, which was a good job, as I wasn’t one. I wasn’t even a back-street one. Anyway something had to be done and done quickly. He was moaning with the pain and I could empathize, as a few years previously I had a compound fracture to my left arm while playing rugby. OK, a moment to consolidate, look at options and see what’s to do. We were about twelve hours from the nearest medical centre, which is the problem with bush work. I believed that a tourniquet wouldn’t be good for that amount of time; even working it slack to let the blood flow and tight to stop it. It didn’t seem to me that an artery was severed, just a lot of veins at and around the damage, where the skin and flesh was torn. “Right,” I decided, “it’ll have to be a DIY job”……


To read what happens next and the rest of David’s experience in The Gambia, purchase the book for £9.99 in the shop or order now by calling 01392 427171 or email sales@bridgebookshop.co.uk.

Having known the Fultons for a few years now, I can attest to how much God has worked in their lives, which is clear even in the way Time to Tell is written. Though I feel I should warn you; reading Dave's book will disturb you. You may never view the world in the same way again. Prepare to have your eyes opened to what life is really like in The Gambia and the persecution that still exists today.


   Gary Lee

     Bridge Books shop owner.

Extract Copyright © Dave Fulton , Used by permission of the author.