Sunday, March 19, 2006

Close-up, dolphins, getting it, illustration, the bells and bottle.

1. Touching a seal. I was rather taken by the seals at Cape Cross and now I get to meet one in person. We were on a dolphin cruise. We saw dolphins and obviously, it was a deeply moving and spiritual experience. Wow. Dolphins, they’re great. Whereas the seals... they jump on to the boat and bully the passengers. Of the 1.8million seals in Walvis Bay, about six jump into boats. While we were boarding, a huge male leapt on and tried to steal fish. The skipper, Arche, told us to ignore him ‘That’s Flipper. He’s bad.’ They had to encourage him to jump overboard by throwing fish into the water, and eventually he left us alone. Later we met a female who had learnt some tricks. She swam alongside the boat and for the usual reward (a fish) would cover her face, roll over and jump.

Then we met Bushman. He is about seven feet long and I couldn’t get my arms around him at his widest. He jumped on to the boat and we all jumped to the other end of the boat. ‘Sit down next to him,’ said Arche encouragingly. Rather nervously, I went over and sat. Bushman put his nose right up to mine. I took in his thick whiskers and enormous liquid eyes and his tiny ears and his leathery flippers with their cunning hidden claws. I touched his neck, ready to snatch my hand back at any moment, and felt bristly hair where I had half-expected oily smooth skin. Then rather meanly, Arche waved a fish behind my head and I found myself pinned beneath this swimming machine. I wriggled free -- it was just like dealing with a drunken man at a party -- and fed Bushman a fish myself. Then I had to let someone else have a turn.

2. I know I’ve just been a bit sarcastic about dolphins, but actually it was good to see them. Apparently the vibrations from the boat engines stimulate their skin in interesting ways. Gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘pleasure cruise’.

3. Went quad biking in the afternoon -- it’s a great way to see the dunes without walking up and down them. As predicted, I struggled at first -- you really can’t steer by leaning to one side -- but when I finally cracked it, I felt very pleased with myself.

4. Rosey and I wrote a Mother’s Day postcard. We illustrated it with scenes from truck life -- most notably, the dead hippo.

5. Kev says: ‘Sitting in a pizza place I heard church bells. I don’t know why it was a beautiful thing -- perhaps it reminded me of home, or perhaps it was the thought of all the people congregating.’

6. Kev also adds: ‘The number of Amarula bottles in the truck.’ The total stands at about six.
Swakopmund, Namibia