jeudi 18 mai 2017

Namibia, Day 6, Thursday, 20 April 2017. Swakopmund

Off to a catamaran cruise on Walvis Bay, a small harbour town south of Swakopmund protected by a large bay.
We saw white pelicans which were used to being fed by the crew, so they came very close. Large herds of cape-fur seals were sunning or swimming around the boat. Dolphins accompanied us throughout. Some oil rigs were moored in the bay but not for drilling, they were just parked there because it was cheaper than in Angola.
A nice light lunch was served on board.
On the way back we saw the last flamingo flocks, most of them had already flown north. It was a beautiful sunny day and just sitting in the sun on a boat was heaven for us snowbirds.
At 4PM we set out in two jeeps to discover the life in the dunes. The guides were very knowledgable, you  feel their passion for the desert. I don't remember most of the names and details but the main thing is to remember that there are lots of creatures living there, that they all play a vital role in the ecology of their environment and that they should be respected. It all starts with wind-blown fluff and seeds from trees which collect on the bottom of the lee side of a dune. Tiny larva and stuff emerge, these are eaten by bigger ones and so on. Lizards, geckos, scorpions, caméléons, snakes and spiders are the biggest, I think.
These animals all have a most amazing strategy to survive, like hanging upside down facing the sea to collect the moisture from the fog.
The guides were very good to detect those small creatures and show them to us. On the road we surprised a caméléon in hot persuit of a lady. He managed to mount her twice, a privileged moment to watch.
After the scientific part we had a good dune ride, really cool. Actually I would have been scared stiff to drive like that myself, but in the hands of the guide I just hung on and enjoyed it very much. This is a protected area, no other vehicles are allowed, although some do cheat. Normally our jeeps always take the same route so they don't disturb the site more than necessary.
Although there is WiFi, I don't bother. I really enjoy not to have the news, not to see what's his name's face and to pretend the world is as pristine as the Namib desert.

 A day in Swakopmund, 133 km including 27 km on the water and 25 km on the dunes
 On the way to Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay

 Our 27 km catamaran sail
 Cape-fur seal. Very friendly... but don't touch
 Pelican, expecting to be fed
 Friendly indeed
 Very calm waters
 Cape-fur seals on display
 Hundreds of them
 Seals and Water fowl
 A parked, unused oil rig
 Nice meal on board
 Mathieu and friends
 We sailed back on wind power
 See you
 Flying off
Our 25 km dune tour
 Our guide Doug explaining the life cycle in the dunes
 Miniature dung beatle
 Catching a gecko
 Not really too sure
 Back he goes
 A toc-toc beatle
 A funny feeling holding a snake
 Sand diving lizard
 Doug chasing the lizard
 Here's the lizard
 Courting cameleons
 In action
 Don't know its name
 Amazing dunes

Sunset on the sea

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