Namibia - Swakopmund
In Swakopmund we stayed at the "Alternative Space" a private house open to "friends" for a prescribed donation. The owner was an Architect and not surprisingly had designed it all himself. He also exhibited [almost] exclusively the work of some local artist throughout the house with nudes bordering the erotic. The couple that run it were very welcoming and friendly and helped me book a ride on a dolphin tour for 0800 the next morning. (I had planned to drive up to Cape Cross seal colony but couldn't face another day's driving.) Still the dolphin tour promised champagne and oysters and er dolphins, not a difficult decision!
Sun 21 Sep
The house we were staying in was right on the edge of town, ie the edge of the desert. From the bedroom window you could see palm trees and sand dunes. Well at least you could if it wasn't for the heavy morning sea fog - which it would seem is what keeps Swakopmund green and pleasant. I said goodbye to Mike - he was hoping to get a coach back to Windhoek and on to Cape Town - and headed off to find the Royal Yacht Club at nearby Walvis Bay.
Our first hour or so was very slow - we learnt that seals very readily climb on to tour boats and teased with fish will pose for photos. We saw cormorants nesting on breeding platforms and we saw fishing trawlers, container ships, patrol vessels. There were different boats for different types of fish. Anchovy nets are not even hauled on board, they are pumped out of the net and piped away! It seems Walvis Bay is a big exporter of fish to Europe - particularly Spain. Speciality fish is caught at sea and within 17 hours of being brought into port is cleaned, packed, and flown to Madrid.
We saw pelicans too and eventually after three hours sunshine AND dolphins. The dolphins were numerous and playful - but even so still difficult to photograph. Later we coasted along a seal colony, some [seals] took to the water. The young ones splashed and played. The whole scene reminded me of Weymouth beach in the height of summer. We stopped a little further on and enjoyed the promised "picnic" of oysters and champagne.
Back at the car park I found I had carelessly left the car lights on and now the battery was flat. Fortunately I had tipped the boatman well so once he'd put his boat away he happily came and gave me a jump start.
Back in Swakopmund I found an internet café with a really fast connection. It gave me a chance to catch up with a few things although I was obviously a bit stressed out with arrangements and bookings as I wished my twinned brother and sister a belated Happy Birthday 5 days early!
I dropped the car back at the guest house and walked the mile back to the sea-front briskly - just in time to see the sun setting into the Atlantic.
Mon 22 Sep
Left around 0830 and found a local computer shop equipped and un-phased with my request to copy 8 digital "films" to CD. It took a while but well worth the peace of mind the photos particularly of the dunes would be safe and that the chips could be reused. I made a second copy of the CD and bought a padded envelope so I could post it home for safe keeping. Bought some bread and cheese for the journey - amused to discover "Colchester" cheese marketed as "stronger than Gouda, milder than Cheddar".
Started the drive to Windhoek at 1030 with estimates varying from 3˝ to 5 hours. Even allowing for a puncture I had ample time to get back with time to return the car and catch the coach. The roads were a good and tarmac all the way - in fact I made such good time that I spent a couple of hours back at Cardboard Box - a chance to have a swim and shower before my overnight coach ride to Zambia. I had covered 1400km in 5 days.
Namibia - Swakopmund