WALVIS BAY

April 19, 2010 - Walvis Bay, Namibia

Because of its stark, surreal landscapes, untamed wilderness, and harsh environment, our next port call, Walvis Bay, Namibia, is often referred to as “The Land God Made in Anger” and is said to be home to some of the most desolate and spectacular scenery in the world. 

We arrived in Walvis Bay, the second largest city in Namibia, at about noon on Sunday, April 18th. Having not been scheduled to escort any tours, the whole group, minus Gabe, made our way outside at around 1:00pm to see if we could get the shuttle bus into town. Apparently, this was everybody else’s idea as well because it was a little crowded. Well, the high population of passengers mixed with the very small, fifteen passenger-only shuttle busses they were using didn’t add up to effectiveness.  After we waited through two rounds of shuttles and still didn’t get seats (passengers before crew), most of our crowd dispersed and went back onboard. Nic and I, however, decided to stay and wait for one more, and luckily, grabbed the last two seats left.

As we were getting on the shuttle, passengers who were coming off warned us that it wasn’t worth the drive, but we still figured we’d see for ourselves. Well, we should’ve taken their advice. The town was absolutely barren. Not a store was open, not a person to be found! I was waiting for tumbleweed to blow across the street. After two quick pictures of nothing, Nic and I jumped right back on the shuttle and took it straight back to the ship. Had this been our only adventure in Namibia, I may have been more upset, but our lack of activity didn’t bother me because our plans for the next day were quite exciting! Jamie had set-up an excursion with just him and the ten of us to go four-wheeling in the desert!!

We were all so excited! The next morning it took everything in us to stay patient for the crew drill and entertainment department meeting we had. Once we were finished with those, we inhaled a quick lunch and met Jamie outside at 12:15pm. Today was also special because not only were we going to be driving on the dunes, but it was all going to be filmed for a segment of Jamie’s Journeys. As I mentioned in a recent post, this sailing marks Jamie’s thirteenth World Cruise. And along the way, he has put together video segments in all the different places he’s been, which air on the ships T.V. They capture him interviewing locals, showing points of interest and often participating in the very unique, site-specific activities of the countries. Today was no different! Diana, our Broadcast Manager, was also with us and ready to film our fun-filled day in the desert!

When we arrived at Kuiseb Delta Adventures, Jamie introduced us to our tour guide, Fanie, who he had known from his last trip. Fanie (the owner of KDA) was clearly full of knowledge and ready to not only show us a fun time, but also teach us something along the way. In fact, before anything, the adventure started in his office, where he pointed out a map of the dunes, explaining their history and how the area got to be what it is today. It turns out, the dunes on which we were about to explore, are part of the Namib Desert, said to be the oldest living desert in the world.

Before we could actually get out on the open sand, we first had to go through some quick safety and operational preparation. One by one we picked our 4-wheelers, put on our sand masks (ski goggles) and listened carefully. The quads were automatic so it didn’t take long before we all understood and were on our way across the road and into the desert.

It was so cool! We had barely started and I was already having so much fun! But once again, before we could really venture out, Fanie wanted to make sure we were able to handle any terrain we were faced with, the main being the steep hills of the dudes. So one by one, we practiced going down the dunes, pumping the rear brakes as we glided down. We were all so excited by it that when we got to the next, even steeper hill, we grew even more animated and energized! We were already calling it the “best day ever”.  We had no idea that it was about to get even better.

Now that we were all qualified to handle our vehicles on our own through the desert, we were off! Fanie led the way up and down the dunes as the rest of us twelve followed behind. It was absolutely unreal! I can’t explain what a drastic effect it had on my attitude. It was as though I was drugged. I was on such a high and couldn’t help but grin, and even sing out loud, as I sped around the dunes with the wind in my face and beautiful desertscape all around me.

We made quite a few stops along our 3 ½ hour trek through the desert. Fanie showed us so many fascinating things, starting with a couple of desert beetles and the only native fruit found in the desert. Then the excitement propelled when we were shown the area of the desert where villagers once lived. The ground was covered in tracks and footprints of the people and animals that once roamed the land. Next, we were taken to a section of the desert where skeleton filled the sand. Remains of human and animal alike were scattered below my feet. We saw everything from giraffe jaws to children’s leg bones. We even saw two human skulls! It was crazy! What an archeological wonder!

Fanie was an incredible guide. He knew so much about everything! Every so many feet, he would lean over to pick up something to show you. He found countless glass and copper beads, which the villagers used to make things with. He even found a cross of St. Christopher and a smoking pipe. Sometimes, he picked up bits of what looked like nothing to us and then classify them as elephant tusks or fish bones. It was remarkable! He even knew the exact place to dig to find water. We all watched anxiously as he fell to the ground and began pulling the sand away with his hands. And before we knew it, up he came with a shell full of water, which we all took turns drinking from. Amazing!

Our day on the dunes will absolutely go down as one my favorite things I’ve done on this entire voyage! I had the time of my life and can’t thank Jamie enough for setting it all up and for letting us be a part of one of his Jamie’s Journeys segments. It truly was the BEST DAY EVER!

Love,

Erich

 


Pictures

Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay (2)
Walvis Bay (3)
Walvis Bay (4)
 
 

2 Comments

JIM:
April 26, 2010
HI ERICH,
FOUR WHEELIN' IN THE NAMIB DESERT. WAIT TILL MY REDNECK STRIPMINE BUDDIES HEAR THIS ONE.
LOV U, UNCLE JIM
MAMA:
April 26, 2010
This is exactly the kind of thing I can believe you loved!! I can see you on the desert and soaring over the sand hills. I am so glad your director Jamie thinks so much of you all to arrange such an adventure to partake in. I can only dream of such things honey and you are doing them. All my love.
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