Day 94

This was our last day in the Walvis Bay area. We joined a tour titled, “Moon Landscape and Welwitschia,” which began with our second visit to Dune #7, just 20 minutes away. When we were here yesterday, I thought how great it would be to be able to slide down the dune, instead of walking, falling, or running. I remembered how we used to slide down our local grassy hills on strips of cardboard and thought perhaps this technique would work here. I asked for and received two cartons which Mac cut open and spread out. We brought these with us up the dune. Mac wanted to take pictures, so I gave the second piece of cardboard to our friend, Jeff. Jeff and I climbed the dune almost to the top and sat down to begin our slide. We went nowhere fast. We sank into the sand and the sand got on the cardboard. We definitely needed one of those plastic sleds to stay on top of the dunes. My long-awaited slide was a disaster and we ended up walking and running down the slope before tossing the cardboard in the trash. Oh well, I tried.

From here we drove to the Namib-Naukluf Park to the Moon Landscape. This is a combination of sandstone and granite outcroppings from the time that South America and Africa split apart. The landscape reminded me a bit of the Badlands of South Dakota and a little of Craters of the Moon in Idaho. Mac and I took lots of photos. It was pretty scenery and the sun was shining. We stopped at two locations in the park.

About 40 minutes from here, we got to see the national flower of Namibia, the welwitschia plant, named for Dr. Friedrich Welwitch, who discovered it and brought one home to the Royal Botanic Garden. Some of these plants are more than 1500 years old. They grow very slowly and only have two leaves, which often split into many as a result of being whipped by the wind. There are male plants with large red pods, and female ones with dainty brown flowerheads. They are pollenated by several types of beetles. Although they appear to be almost dead, they are quite alive, and perk up when water is available. There were several plants in the area, and even our guide was surprised when we came upon one plant with both male and female parts. These are very rare botanical specimen, but I don’t think I would want these in my backyard.

After lunch, we all needed to meet Namibia immigration officials face to face, so they could see us and stamp our passports. The passports were quickly collected by ship’s personnel to be ready again for Argentina. This ran very smoothly with hardly any waiting. Later we applied for a VAT refund from the Namibian government. We needed to produce our purchased items, sales slips, copies of our passport and credit card information. We found that 16% of the purchase price here is tax that could be refunded. We are supposed to hear about our credit within six months.

We were late for mensa because of this meeting and we did not place in point range in trivia.

We left the dock at 6PM and watched the ship sail out of the harbor. Mac also went back on deck to see what we hoped would be a vivid sunset, but clouds moved in at the last minute and obstructed the view. He met Lisa and Morry up there, and they asked us to join them for dinner in Sette Mare. We had already planned to go there since that restaurant was serving swordfish tonight, so we had enjoyable company for dinner, too.

We all decided to pass on tonight’s show, The Great American Song Factory, which we have seen 4 or 5 times already, and make it an early night. We also turn our clocks back an hour as we head west and will be a mere 5 hours ahead of east coast time tomorrow. We will need that extra hour of sleep.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac