Sandboarding

8/23-8/24/09

Day 51-52 Morning

It’s been just over three months since my accident and I’ve been procrastinating writing about the last of my trip. Procrastination no more! I’m determined to finish what was promised and to finally get loads of wonderful photography posted.

When I last posted I had been in Windhoek, Namibia eating a variety of game meats and had spent a night in Sptizkoppe falling asleep under the stars. From here we headed for Swakopmund with a stop at the Cape Cross Seal Colony.

Cape Cross Seal Colony

Cape Cross Seal Colony

Cape Cross is along the Atlantic coast of Africa and his home to hundreds of thousands of seals. While I’d seen a few seals before, the sheer number here is staggering. As I exit the truck the smell of half a million seals feces is overpowering to the point one almost gags. It’s worse than walking through a barn full of chicken shit. I’m not sure what to call the sound a seal makes. Honking? Squeaking? Screeching? One almost needs earplugs as the overlapping sounds cascade up the shoreline from the thousands of seals covering every square inch of the sand and rocks combines with the frothy sea-foamed waves crashing onshore. They’re cute yet ugly. Some lay asleep, others are nursing their young, some poised in conversation with others as if chatting with a friend, some are preaching, others are fighting, and my favorite is watching some frolic in the waves crashing ashore. I’m glad the stop here is short, for my noses sake, and we’re back on the truck in a jiffy after a few picture perfect moments.

Swakopmund is a small touristy town along Namibia’s western coast. It’s squeezed between the Atlantic on one side and the rolling desert on the other. It’s clean, neat, and fairly cosmopolitan, yet it has a village feel. I set out early in the morning with a dozen others for sandboarding.

We arrive on the outskirts of town, it’s bright, sunny, desolate, and all I can see are rolling hills and mountains of sand as far as the eye can see. We’re given some basic instructions and a small piece of paneling like particle board. We don helmets, gloves, and elbow pads and march toward the dunes. As we begin to ascend toward the peak of these enormous dunes everyone falls into a single file line stepping in the footprints of the person ahead. Doing so makes it significantly less strenuous a climb as the sand packs hard and the ascent becomes more like a stair stepping event. If one veers off course from the footprint path the top couple inches of sand is soft and slides around engulfing ones shoes as if stepping into soft flakey snow making it significantly more difficult.

Sandboarding

Sandboarding

We arrive at the peak legs sore from the hike and the task is simple, scary for some and exhilarating for me. Lay the board on the ground plop your belly on the board grab the front lip bending it up and go screaming down the sand dune as if tobogganing down a ski slope. Awesomeeeeee!!!!! Arriving at the bottom a lady with a radar gun tells me I clocked 73 MPH down the dune. Not quite enough for me to break the record of 76 mph for the day, set by one of my fellow truck mates. We repeat this cycle all morning hiking up a dune to go screaming down in seconds. I could do this for a few days of fun, however this afternoon I’ve booked a quad bike with the rest of the group.

The beginning of the Africa pics are now online, starting with Namibia.

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