A short drive south of Swakopmund is Walvis Bay. The drive is ocean on one side and desert on the other. Thanks to the helpful ‘Sand’ sign, we knew we were surrounded by sand and not brown sugar.
I’m still wondering why anyone would ever build a town here. While I pondered life’s mysteries we arrived in the industrial town of Walvis Bay. It’s not the prettiest of places from what I could tell, but was home to the Mola Mola Dolphin Cruise. I’m not sure why I let our tour guide talk us into this, but I figured it’d be something different and besides they promised oysters and champagne. We arrived early and were able to enjoy a drink by the bay as we marveled at that size of the pelicans. They’re much cleaner than their American relatives and about twice as big…a little pink too.
We set off aboard the Gambit around 9am and really didn’t know what to expect other than champagne and oysters. I was naturally a little afraid of seasickness, but calm waters all around were a good sign. Our guide for the day, Wally, began his schpeel in both English and German (i think). He informed us that we’d be taking a tour around the bay and having some seals on the boat. Ok…so we’re thinking they just sit on the back or something.
First up we were entertained to pelicans eating from Wally’s hand as the boat was moving. He’d whistle up a storm and they’d all come in hoards. Pretty cool, but not that cool for those that got pooped on. I would save that for myself until later.
Next up were some seals. They stopped the boat, opened the back gate, everyone stood on the perimeter of the boat leaving the middle seating area open and onboard came a seal by the name of Googles. He came all the way on the boat and quickly made ready for some fish. This was pretty great and completely unexpected. We were able to feel the seal’s hair and how it was dry underneath. We could see the nails it had on its flippers that it used to scratch itself. We were loving every second of it and I quickly spotted a second seal about to board and noticed it was a bit bigger. In fact, it was way bigger! (see video) Robby was his name and he brushed Googles aside as it was his turn to shine. I felt a little like Jeff Corwin as I repeatedly said the same thing over and over again in sheer amazement…’Look how big it is.’ Robby spent the rest of the time posing for photos with Shannon, pushing people around, including me, and not wanting to get off the boat. Fun times with Robby.
Because there is so much to tell and the rest isn’t too important I’d like to make some highlighting comments. We saw a seal colony, learned about the oyster industry in Walvis Bay, saw some dolphins as we braved the waters outside of the bay (i did not get sick thank you very much), were treated to the sights of a guano platform built by an ingenious man and finished with our champagne and oysters. The seal colony was a hoot because if you’ve never heard a seal before they sound a little like a sick goat…so basically hysterical. Shannon and I made our best impressions. (see video) The oysters were delicious, which is something I never thought I’d say, but nevertheless were great with some tabasco and champagne to wash them down.
The three hour boat ride was definitely one of the highlights of our trip and would recommend it to anyone as a must on your journey around Namibia. The afternoon we had some ATV riding to do in the desert so we’ll see if that can match the dolphin cruise.