We arrived in Walvis Bay around 10 AM this morning. While we were having our breakfast on the way in to the port, we saw many seals cavorting in the water just off the side of the ship. A real show during our breakfast!
Norm was a bit under the weather yesterday and spent most of the day napping while I went out exploring, but he was feeling much better today. It is surprisingly cool and refreshing, so we will bring layers on our trip.
Walvis Bay is rimmed by the Namib Desert and it boasts a huge natural lagoon that atttracts hundreds of thousands of birds, including flamingos, pelicans and migratory species. The flamingo flock is the largest in the whole of Southern Africa.
The town was snatched by the British years before the German colonists could get their hands on it. It waa then part of South Africa for years and was transferred to Namibia in 1994.
Our excursion was a dolphin and seal cruise. We took a small van for a short ride to the Walvis Bay Yacht Club where we boarded our boat for the cruise. Before we all got on board, a seal beat us to it, and he stayed for the first part of the journey. That was certainly unexpected! Our guide called him Nicholas and said he often joins in the fun.
We saw many seals in the water as we made our way out to Pelican Point. We learned that they lie on their backs with one flipper extended as a “solar panal” to absorb the heat into their bodies as the water is very cold here. When they are sleeping, they rest on their backs in the water and join the flippers together forming a kind of sail which allows them to drift in a circle vs being washed out to sea or onto land!
We saw pods of dolphin, including mothers and babies and learned that most are Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, the same kind that we see on Long Beach Island. There are also heavyside dolphins here but we didn’t see those. We were told that if we drink the “coffee” the dolphins might come.. the coffee was sherry and it was delicious. Still no heavyside dolphins though!
They do a lot of oyster farming here and the oysters are quite big due to the cold water. The oyster farms look like big steel drums set a few feet apart with these baskets hanging from the nets between the barrels.
My friends know how much I love pelicans, well we got up close and personal with them as they came and sat on the boat as we cruised in the bay. I must have hundreds of pictures of them, but here are just a few. Yes, I did get that close!! They are beautiful.
We went to Peilcan Point where we learned that coastal Namibia has about 2 million seals, and approximately 60,000 live on Pelican Point. Due to sand bars in the area, we couldn’t get close enough for good pictures, but the coastline is covered with them and there are so many in the water too. We saw huge groups of flamingos, and some in flight. We spotted many other types of birds, there are 4 varieties of cormorants and 9 species of terns found here. And, jackals and hyenas also live here and do kill some of the baby seals.
We heard that Namibia made a deal with the Russians about fishing rights. They have a 35 year right to fish in the waters and it hasn’t been a very good deal for the Namibians. Our guide says that there is an inbred feature in Africans – a pocket in the back – so there is a lot of corruption and greed.
On the way back, we had a “picnic” of oysters, champagne, and lots of snacks and sweets. People who like oysters said they were some of the best they have had.
Tonight the world cruisers have a special event, an open air dinner at Swakop River Canyon. And tomorrow we will go by off road vehicle into the Namib Desert, so watch for my next post. I hear we can ski down Dune 7!