Oh this is Downton Abbey! The tv programme is based on the lives of Ups and Downs, who are expected to stay in their assigned places. When they do not, we have an Episode! Georg (Down) thought I (Up) were Down, and he invited Up to mingle with other Downs! Because Up, who works like a Down, thought they were a Down, they went! Should Georg be dismissed, and Up be reprimanded. Probably. But this is not Downton Abbey, it is community afloat, and useful individuals cannot instantly be replaced. Georg is still here and so am I, and it reminds me that if they don’t know where to put you in the social order you naturally go to the bottom. It’s quite comfortable down there, there’s no competition. Incidentally we loved our safari with the Downs, we didn’t know it was an Episode!
There were plenty of guests who had a less successful day in Walvis Bay. The shuttle dropped guests at a grocery store. Groceries are the last thing we well fed cruisers need, and walking is not an attractive alternative in this hot desert town, where it has rained 5 times in the last 5 years. Some guests on tour were wined and dined in magnificent style at tables set up on the top of a sand dune. ($168 per person) A more affordable option ($128) was to climb aboard a 4×4 with books and binoculars to look for birds, or with a magnifying glass to study the geckos, lizards and frogs who hide in the rocks or burrow into the sand which lies beneath everything. There is food for both….clouds of flies hang around the shoreline. The seawater is chockful of red jellyfish, up to 16 inches across, trailing streamers of gills and strings. Am I putting you off Namibia?
Walvis Bay is the only deep water port on the skeleton coast, a dangerous shore littered with shipwrecks. The Namib desert, the name means place of emptiness, is the oldest in the world, and it is a birders paradise. We had a good day……and each one is closer to finish! We found free wifi in a shack close to the water, the cell phone towers disguised as palm trees, a safe taxi ( we hadn’t heard the story of the group who were fleeced by unscrupulous locals) took us to see flamingoes, the salt mine, and to Dune 7 so I could climb in deep sand to the top (163 meters) and then dropped us on the esplanade for a long and hot walk. Shore days give us a welcome opportunity for exercise, sadly lacking on sea days. We donated funds to some locals selling carved wooden items from a blanket spread on the ground, came back with a giraffe and a rhino, and enjoyed the sunset sail out into the Angola Basin.