Friday, March 18, 2016

Swakopmund Museum and surrounds Mar 2016

A display of local seashells included these limpets.  I've been collecting them recently and hope to make something out of them.  These are in the museum in Swakopmund, Namibia.
We only spent one day in Swakopmund, and it was spent at the Kristall Gallerie and the Museum mostly.  The shot below is the beach here, a big tourist draw.
Another part of the beach further down and on the other side of the breakwater.
Big curlers here and what looked like a rip current.  Nobody was in the water this day.
The beach sand is red and black, just like the many rocks around here.
The different hues in the sand were kind of pretty.
Jason looking out over the water at Swakopmund.
Inside the museum, we found this picture of the Weltwischia plant, a desert succulent plant that can live for 1000-2000 years.  The plant below the picture was carbon dated to over 1000 years old.
A pangolin, like an armored anteater.  Pretty hard to find them these days, but they do live here in Namibia.
Sharks teeth found in the desert here when a sand dune blew away.
An eclectic collection of stuff in this museum.  Here is an old covered wagon with old suitcases, probably used to cross the desert roads.
The old bottles and containers from an apothecary shop.  Some pretty interesting stuff in those old bottles.
A photo of a Herero woman in her traditional hat. They are made from material rolled to look like horns.  They still wear them today, but we didn't go into that region to see them.
Photos of Himba people.  They still walk around topless and wear red ochre (clay), mixed with fat on their hair and skin as a cosmetic.  The shape and direction of their braids tells you more about them, too.
There were several women like this selling carvings by the yacht club, but they want you to buy something in order to take their photograph.
One of the girls in the coffee shop in Luderitz gave me a necklace made like this.
These dolls were made by the fathers of young girls to give to them.  Only the men could have them until they were given to the daughter.
A giant woven grain basket.  Cool tribal artifacts in this museum.
Pouches to carry stuff made from little turtle shells.
A kneading machine to make bread with.  I thought this was a great idea.
A type setting machine.  Such a cumbersome contraption.
The blue-haired lady in the middle is staring after the three Himba ladies that just walked by topless, with their hair caked in the red clay mixture.  the ends of their hair are like giant pompoms of hair, sticking out of the long red braids. I wasn't fast enough with the camera to capture them.
A purple bug that pulled into the parking place just before we got here.  We've seen lots of old VW bugs here.
An example of the artistic baskets the tribes now weave out of telephone wire. Very colorful and very expensive.
Another design of telephone wire basket weaving.
An old 1906 German architecture example, on the corner in Swakopmund.
A piece of driftwood that looks like an elephant, on the jetty in Swakopmund.
The view of the beach from the old iron jetty in Swakopmund.
This jetty was built back in 1905-6.
Karen on a chair carved out of driftwood.  I waited here while Jason strolled out to the end of the jetty.
Jason is out there on the jetty while the waves roll in.  The last 4-5 pillars of the jetty create huge splashes as the waves roll in.
Looking at the top of a power box near the jetty.  It is covered in chunks of broken crystals.
A view out the window of the van as we drive back from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay.  The Namib desert is just alongside the road here.  A beautiful blue sky.

Walvis Bay, Namibia Mar 2016

Walvis Bay, Namibia has one of the largest flamingo populations and is the best place in the world to view flamingos.  Looking along the lagoon, they create a pale pink stripe along the horizon.  They aren't bright coral color, but the undersides of their wings are bright pink and black.  Too bad they fly so high.
The rock breakwater here is fairly new and keeps the small craft, like us away from the busy commercial and fishing harbors.  The skyline looking north to these harbors is lined with cranes, either loading and unloading cargo or building new stuff.  This port is making a run for the best port to use instead of Cape Town, I think.  It's a bustling place and listening to the Port Control channels on the VHF radio can be quite entertaining some days.
Jason working on the Honda generator, again.  He didn't think it was running smoothly enough.

The Raft restaurant, where a few flamingos always seemed to be hanging out.

The Walvis Bay waterfront.  Not much here really except the tour operators offices, a few restaurants and souvenir shops and the Walvis Bay Yacht Club.  The main part of town is a 40 minute walk from here so taxis were commonly used.  No buses run here.

The filters from a baleen whale, hanging in front of the office for the Dolphin and Whale Project.  They are trying to gather data to show that the commercial boats are polluting the waters and damaging the ecology, as well as showing that blocking the water from flushing in and out of the bay is harming the ecology.  It is a deep bay with little chance of the water getting clean and once it is polluted the ecology will never come back.  But the organizations don't have enough base data to prove that, so they are trying to gather info on the sea mammals and other sea life before it's too late.
Dolphin and seal tours on tourist catamarans are big business here.  Tourists fly into Swakopmund a few miles away and come down here to Walvis Bay to go see the seals and dolphins.  These huge pelicans are enticed to come close and land by hand feeding from the crews as they motor out of the anchorage.  Even the pelicans here have a pale orange blush on their breasts from what they eat.  They crews feed the seals, too, and I watched one leap through the water like a dolphin to catch up to a catamaran, hop aboard the back transom steps, and waddle to the front to get fed.
Flamingos feeding near the beach
A flock of flamingos flying overhead.  Not great for colors but you can see what weird shapes they make, even in flight.

These birds stand and wiggle their legs to stir up the bottom to feed on the food that is disturbed.
The tips of some of their feathers are the same bright red as their legs here.
The small group here is just a tiny fraction of the thousands of flamingos that feed here.
A few ruffled feathers on a couple of these flamingos.  The bird life here in Walvis Bay is fantastic.
Their backward-bending legs are strange to watch.
This pelican was left after a flock followed a tourist catamaran away.  He eyed me to see if I was going to toss him some food.
A group of pelicans roosted on the top of this boat shed that is floating in the middle of the anchorage area.

We spent St. Patrick's Day here and went to the Irish boat, Saol Eile, for dinner.  Jason, Phil and Brian enjoy a pre-dinner drink. Guinness was popular that afternoon.
Myra in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day with her t-shirt that outlines  "You know you are Irish when....
The best reason to do something is for the craic (the hell of it), You Thank Bus Drivers, It's OK to live with your parents until you're at least 30, and You have no idea how to make a long story short."
Myra and Paraic on Saol Eile on St. Patrick's Day.  Of course, Paraic has a Guinness stout in his hand.
These folks are extremely generous and they bought me some tumbled stones of Pietersite, a gorgeous blue and gold stone that is found only here and one other place in China.  They know I like rocks and Myra has now begun collecting stones to tumble once she returns home later in the year.  The blue in Pietersite is like a blue tiger's eye and they are very pretty.  The stone was only discovered in 1962 and named for its finder, Mr. Pieters, here in Namibia.  These are meant to make earrings and a necklace for me.

The green, white and orange of the Irish flag.  Our appetizers were red and green pepper slices with cream cheese, laid in stripes on bread so they looked like tiny flags.
Jason opening the first bottle of wine for dinner in the saloon of Saol Eile.
Another Irish woman, Norma, and her British husband Phil, from the boat Minnie B from Belfast also joined us for the festivities.
Even the dessert was green, white, and orange:  green jello, whipped cream and sliced peaches.  Yummy.
The dinner crowd for St. Patrick's Day in Walvis Bay.  Paraic, Jason, Brian, Karen, Norma and Phil
We had a great time in Walvis Bay but the open seas beckon us and we decided to leave for St. Helena Island in the Atlantic within the next few days.