How close is Tortola to Africa? In geographic terms, not very -- about 3000 miles from the nearest point, Mauritania. That's about the same distance between New York City and San Francisco: a continent or an ocean apart. In climatic terms, though, we're pretty close. Close enough that when there is a sand storm in the Sahara, like the one filmed here for the Human Planet series, it affects our weather. Dust particles from the Sahara travel across 3000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean and cloak the island in a golden haze, making it difficult to see the outer islands, four or five miles away. The photo below was taken as the westerly winds were helping to clear the Saharan dust -- compare the clear skies on the right side of the picture with the haze on the left.