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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Magic of Namibia -- TJ Articles from the coast & the desert

Wet Hugs and Oyster Eating, Anyone?
By Ariela, Junior/Senior, Connecticut 

Diggy lost all feeling in his fin after being caught in fishing plastic. He was rescued, rehabilitated, and shortly after returned back to the wild. Now, he spends his days lounging and using both his fins-- to hug any willing and eager people, like all sixteen Traveling School girls.

Imagine something like this?!
This warm interaction with a loving Cape Fur seal took place on Saturday on the coast of Namibia. For three and a half hours, the girls enjoyed a boat ride for dolphin, seal, and bird watching. Martinette Fourie led the boat tour, and shared the story of Diggy's rescue while dangling fish over Katherine's head, as Diggy lept up and embraced her with two arms. Martinette works for Ocean Adventures, and is an active member of the Namibian Strandings Network, which conducted Diggy's rescue and others in the area. Martinette has been working as a tour guide for three years, stating, “I love my job. I love meeting new people and being out on the ocean.”

Although Diggy's story is sad, it's an uncommon occurrence, as a result of Namibia's extensive conservation acts. Martinette spoke of her pride and happiness toward Namibia's acts, as the girls watched seals bob their heads and flip in the water beside the boat. Hannah, who aspires to be a marine biologist, was greatly impressed, but says, “I was not expecting to hear that. When I saw all the ships in the bay, I thought it'd make the water extremely polluted. I'm glad to hear this is not the case though.”

Hannah was talking of the various foreign ships that come in for a few weeks at a time to fish. The bay also has a big oyster breeding business, that has become a source of revenue for Namibia, (Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe). Biologists have implemented a system to breed the oysters in a few months versus the normal three to four years, therefore speeding up the process tremendously and bringing in more money.

For those feeling adventurous, a side plate of these oysters was put out, alongside a complimentary lunch. “The texture is weird to get past at first, but I really like them,” said Mara, pushing another oyster into her mouth. She then threw the shell into the ocean, “Back to where it came from,” as Martinette says.

Although no dolphins were seen, “That's nature for you,” according to Martinette-- and just the way it should be.

Hannah, Senior, Michegan 

The whispers of many different languages meshed together as the tourists unloaded off of their trucks. They were sleepy-eyed and peacefully taking in the serenity of Dune 45... until TTS arrived. Despite the fact that it was 5am, we shrieked in anticipation as we stumbled out of Big Blue and bolted toward the mountainous sand dune.

We scrambled up the side of the seemingly endless dune in a race against the sun to reach the peak. Our calves started to burn as we fought the sand with each step upward but we kept climbing, leaving the mass of tourists standing literally in our dust. At the top we sat side by side watching the sun creep up over the waves of towering dunes in the distance. The pink glow of the sky fell across our faces as we sank deeper and deeper. We were standing on top of the world, yet we were being consumed by it at the same time, being dragged beneath by the tugging desires of the endless mounds of sand.

It wasn't long before our eagerness to charge back down the dune overcame us. When we began to run toward the base, our bodies were moving impossibly fast for our legs to keep up. Most of us ended up flipping through the air, tumbling down the steep face of the dune, laughing uncontrollably as we fell. When our spinning bodies finally reached the bottom sand was stuffed in our pockets and falling from our hair.

After the excitement of the day we arrived at our campsite we could only think of sleep, but tonight we would not be in tents. We grabbed our sleeping bags and scampered up the rock formation nearest to us. At the top we laid out on a flat section and whispered amongst ourselves about the natural phenomenons we had seen. Despite our unwillingness to let the day end, the stars lulled us to sleep as they danced in the open sky above us. We were slowly engulfed in our attempts to create a dream as incredible as our current reality. 


  1. Wonderful re-caps gals! Thanks for sharing! Amazing memories.
    Cindy-Bird's Mom

  2. Thank you for the amazing writing. We felt like we we there. Debby --Juliana's mom