The Secret Garden Guesthouse, SwakopmundAugust 22, 2012
Bird’s-eye view – Peregrine falconAugust 22, 2012
Oysters, penguins and a minke whale
by Ron Swilling
The sea glitters. A minke whale (the second smallest of the baleen whales) catches the light as it arches in front of us, then disappears into the blue depths. Behind us Lüderitz and the harbour grow smaller, the boats appearing like multicoloured specks in the distance. The rocky Penguin and Seal islands glow with a golden afternoon hue. Cormorants gather, gulls bob on the water and then fly off screeching into the sky.
A sunset cruise on the Zeepaard catamaran passes the two islands and then heads towards Agate Beach for a view of the dune sea. Nearing the harbour on our return, the fishing boats appear vividly on the blue, with the hills of Lüderitz surrounding the bay, as if holding the harbour in large calloused hands. Shark Island and The Lighthouse are visible on the one hand and fishing factories on the other, with the Waterfront directly ahead of the colourful array of boats.
Zeepaard is the Dutch word for seahorse, a suitable name for the large white catamaran owned and operated by Heiko Metzger. Its previous owner christened the Zeepaard, and as it is bad luck to change a boat’s name, the name was kept when Heiko took it over. The catamaran needed extensive repairs due to an unfortunate mishap in high seas. After eight month’s work repairing and reinforcing it, he began boat tours in May 2009.
Halifax Island tour
The hour-long sunset cruise is an excellent way to enjoy the afternoon with a glass of wine in hand, breathing in the sea air and gaining an understanding of the layout of the town, including its bays and islands. At times dolphins can be seen, and when lucky, a flash of a minke whale.
For those whose Lüderitz days are full to the brim, Heiko also offers a two-hour Halifax Island tour in the morning, leaving enough time to catch the 11:00 Kolmanskop tour. A colony of African penguins can be seen at Halifax, Heaviside’s dolphin before Dias Point and Cape fur seals lounging at the point. An oyster trip is an attractive new extension of the Halifax tour, including a stop at the oyster farm where oysters are pulled out of the lagoon and eaten fresh with a glass of champagne, an iconic Lüderitz experience.
The catamaran is considerably more stable than a mono-hull and is therefore preferable for people who are concerned about being on the water. As Lüderitz is known for it south-westerly winds, this is something to keep in mind.
Heiko has been a qualified skipper for over 20 years and has extensive sea-going experience, including a complete circumnavigation of the globe. With his 11 years of sailing experience around the world, he is the perfect skipper and captain to introduce you to Lüderitz’s landmarks from the sea. (RS)
Tel (+264 63) 20 2173
Cell (+264 81) 604 2805
This article appeared in the Dec ‘10/ Jan ‘11 edition of Travel News Namibia.