Friday, April 5, 2013

Cold and Wet in Africa

Now, I've never been to Mars, but I imagine it looks like a
slightly redder version of this...
Saturday morning we woke up early because we were heading to Walvis Bay, another town about a half hour out of Swakop, for a dolphin and seal cruise around the harbor. We got in the taxis and drove out of town, where I swear we were transported onto Mars. The sheer vastness of the desert and dunes was beyond anything I have ever seen, or could even imagine. Even though it was a dreary, rainy, morning, the view of the ocean on one side and towering dunes on the other is something that will forever be burned into my memory.

After another stressful cab ride to the wrong location, we finally made it to the boat that would take us out on the harbor. Now, I was expecting a large, whale-watching type boat, but what we found was a much smaller speedboat that we were cramming 20 people on. It had started to rain and the tarp creating a roof was not large enough for all of us. I was seated in the back of the boat which meant I was also receiving all of the spray back. I had forgotten my rain jacket in Onmutai, so needless today, I was soaked through my jeans in a matter of minutes. It was a pretty cold and miserable ride that we ended up cutting short because of the weather, but we did see some pelicans and some seals. 

Oh hai!
One of the seals even came right up into the boat so we could pet it and take pictures while our guide told us a bit about them (did you know they descended from bears?). We dubbed him Namibia's Next Seal Model and became best friends. We also got to see an old shipwreck on the beach, and on the way back in, a thunderstorm started moving in over the water, so I got to see some spectacular sights of lightning striking the ocean near the shipwreck. Unfortunately my camera was buried in my (sort of) still dry pocket, so I didn't even attempt to catch that photo.

Once back on (not-so-dry) land, we were treated to a snack of various meat-filled puff pastries, oysters, crackers, and champagne. After a bit of a wait and another case of mis-communication, we got a ride back to Swakop where we all took much needed hot showers and changed into dry clothes before heading out to get a bit more food and do some more exploring of the city.
There's a reason it's called the Skeleton Coast

There is a tower in Swakop that offers amazing views of the city, dunes, and ocean that had been closed on Good Friday that we were anxious to check out. We headed to the supermarket to get some food, and on the way walked through this little pedestrian area where I actually literally forgot I was in Africa for a bit. There was a bookstore with an outdoor cafe, a German bierhaus  boutiques, and even a movie theatre! With a quick check of the showtimes, we decided to come back for a movie (probably out only one of the year) after dinner. We  found an adorable little Italian cafe with delicious coffee and ate a light lunch. At this point, I had started to really not feel well, so I left the group to head back and try to shake whatever I had before dinner. The rest of the group was going to check out the tower, but it turned out to be closed and they returned to the hostel not long after I did. We all ended up climbing under the covers and napping until dinner time. I still wasn't feeling great so I decided to stay in for the night to try to get better before sandboarding the next day. As much as I would have liked to join the girls for dinner and a movie, it was nice to stay curled up in bed with the wonderful cast of The West Wing and get some much needed rest.

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