I must go down to the seas again,
to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship
and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song
and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face
and a grey dawn breaking.
— John Masefield
I’m sure that many a child has sat listlessly in a stuffy classroom listening to the words of the poem, Sea Fever, by John Masefield, wishing he/she was down at the seaside. We don’t often get to the coast, so it was a pleasant interlude when we drove down to Walvis Bay a few weekends ago to show a family member the delights of this area. We decided to take a marine cruise around the bay with a company called Mola Mola Safaris, and it turned out to be an absolute treat!
The weather was perfect and from the moment we stepped on board the enormous catamaran we were entertained by both the staff and the varous sea birds and mammals that live in the bay. Our first encounter was with a Cape fur seal that jumped on board for a meal of several fish before disappearing off the side to waylay the next boat coming up behind us.
Then it was the turn of the sea birds, with lots of gulls, pelicans, cormorants and a lifer that generated a lot of excitement for us – a Subantarctic skua. The gull below would have been a good subject for a Garmin advert!
We also saw two shy African penguins that dived underwater when we got a bit too close for their comfort. We cruised past oyster beds and rusty old factory ships, long since abandonned, and made our way towards Pelican Point which was not only lined with hordes of smelly seals, but home to thousands of cormorants as well.
Throughout our journey our guide was enthusiastically pointing out the inhabitants of the bay and warming us up with shots of sherry (or “Namibian coffee” as she called it).
The highlight of the cruise had to be when a pod of Heaviside dolphins swam in the spray at the bows of our catamaran.
As they dived and surfaced happily they elicited plenty of oohs and aahs from the tourists on board. This has to be the next best thing to actually swimming with dolphins. No less exciting were the Dusky dolphins that were also visible in the bay area.
Before we headed back to the jetty where our ride began, we were given a taste of fresh oysters and some snacks, washed down by sparkling wine. Definitely a lifestyle we could get used to! It was a professionally run operation and perhaps the only fault we could find with the whole excursion was that they didn’t have enough oysters! If you’re visiting Swakopmund or Walvis Bay, be sure to take a marine cruise with Mola Mola – you won’t be disappointed. They also offer trips to Sandwich Harbour.