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Pip&Judi’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 04 Aug 2005

Location: Swakopmund, Namibia

MapWell - we luckily survived the sharks and the thrill of being in the water with them was just fantastic. We set off in the White Pointer, a 35ft sturdy looking boat with thankfully an upper deck a reasonable place to run to I guess if Sharky gets a bit too close. As we left the safety of the harbour we realised that a 'normal' day on the atlantic coast of the southern african cape peninsular is really bloody choppy!! The sea had 6-10 ft swells and the boat shuddered to a halt everytime it hit an oncoming wave. The ocean suddenly looked very forbidding when you know that somewhere in there under your feet are hundreds of man eating giant sharks that move silently and with menance waiting for the opportunity to eat a seal. So I put on a wet suit, looked remarkably like a seal and got in the water!! Good idea ....NOT!!
After about 30 minutes of 'chumming' the watrer with mashed up tuna we got a 'sniffer'. A Great White shark about 2.5meters long circled curiously. After keeping it's attention for a while the call came to get in the cage which is really a giant size shopping trolley - it was worth it!!! The sight of one juts a few feet from you is awesome - they move very serenely and even with teeth visible it really did not appear menacing - just graceful and curious. These creatures are much mis represented and our perception of them as wanten killers is so far from the right one that they have until recently been hunted and feared far more than they should be. We saw 5 or 6 Great Whites in total and the largest being about 15 feet long and weighing avbout 2000kg. They nuzzled and toyed with our dummy seal decoys and seemd genuinely curious rather than agressive. Itwas an experience we shal l not forget - sadly Jude was confined to deck as her broken arm prevented her getting in the cage safely. Another time maybe - and we were even lucky enough to see a Southern Right whale just off the coast on the way back to Cape Town. If I can get my pictures onto a CD then I will put them on here!!

Farewell Cape Town.
DAY 1. We boarded our truck 'White Nile' on Saturday morning and now after nearly 6 days on the road we have arrived in Swakopmund, Namibia. The truck is remarkably comfortable and when some days we have done 10 hous driving on dirt roads through desert and literally nothing for hundreds of km's it needs to be. It has been a fairly hectic drive so far with the most stunning scenery of mountains,hot springs (which we obviously had to soak in) sand dunes, desert, fabulous sun rises and sunsets and star filled night skies in the most stunning surroundings......."awesome" is the word of the trip thatour guide uses freely but everytime she says this will be awesome so far she has been spot is.

We have been camping under fabulous night skies and can see the milky way as clear as day....mmm that doesn't make sense really but hey we are hippy travellers so please excuse the slighlty bizarre analogies (and no - it is not 'herbally' induced!). I have lost count of the number of shooting stars we have seen.

On Monday we camped at Orange River on the border with South Africa and Namibia and after a long hot day I decided to make an 'illegal' entry to Namibia with some fellow travellers and swam the river from the camp site for my first touch of Namibian soil - sadly Judes arm pevented her from becoming an illegal immigrant (must be in my blood I guess!!!) - Luckily there were no snakes in the water as the crocs had eaten them, and there were no crocs in the water the sharks had eaten them!! Dinner cooked on an open fire in camp set the tone for our culinary habits over the coming days.

Next was Fish River canyon - 2nd in size only to the Grand canyon apparently - watched the sun set there and then headed back to the tent. This is not all easy you know.... it was ~7C the first night and we have camped out every night and it is bloody freezing so we are suffering - honestly! I am sleeping in my full thermals (and even a fleece hat on some nights and Jude is sleeping in nothing - but she has lovely thick warm sleeping bag and I dont!!! - I keep trying to talk her into sharing it. Once agan we were up at about 05.30 for a 10 hour drive to the Naimian desert. Luckily the 'road trip' is being made a bit easier by the BA Gin & Tonics (ice cold of course - Thank you Nicky!!) which are really going down well.

Next - the giant sand dunes of Sossusvlei, trekking in the Namib desert and will we or wont we go for it and jump out of a plane from 10,000 ft complete with plaster cast???!!! -