Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sand Boarding at 77 km per hour!!!

Today we enjoyed a lovely breakfast at the Villa Margarita which is a great bed and breakfast in a converted house with a wonderful hostess named Carolina. We were then picked up by Beth who owns the local sand boarding company and driven to the nearby dunes.  We geared up with boots and boards and started hiking up a nearby dune.  The hiking was much easier than Dune 45 because the sand was hard in places and the boots had better surface area so we did not sink in too much.  When we reached the top of the dune we had fantastic views out to the Atlantic ocean only a mile away.  Our guides gave us instructions and we were off.  I grew up skiing but never boarded before so it was a unique experience to shoot down the dunes.  The others in my group we more experienced boarders and soon they were tearing it up and even doing jumps off a wooden platform.  Everyone was very supportive of us beginners and my first two runs were quiet successful (meaning I didn't fall on my face).  However when my third run came it was time to try linking turns and I did two huge face plants!!!  It did not hurt but the face full of sand was not fun... 

Next it was time to try lay down boarding which is done in a hard flexible square sheet of thin composite wood. You lay face down and then pick up on the front edge of the board as the guide shoves you off the steep face of a 200 foot dune.  You race down the face at up to 50 miles an hour.  Marc had the best speed at 77 km per hour - amazing.  It looks a little sketchy but once you do it you realize it is not as scary as it looks and actually is quite fun.  We were pretty wiped out by the time we had climbed the dunes about 7-8 times so we called it a day and headed back to Swakopmund.  It turns out Beth, the owner, is from Marin and has been living in Namibia for over 10 years.  Small world!  We invited her to join us for drinks at the tiger reef bar which is a fun beach bar set on the water with lounge chairs and a wrap around bar.  The cold beers tasted great after our physical day and the sunset was absolutely spectacular.  The sun actually mushroomed out and then somehow created a doubling effect so it seemed that two suns were setting on top of each other.  We were all blown away!  

We headed down the pier to the very cool jetty bar restaurant where we dined on local oysters, sushi and other yummy seafood dishes.  It was good fun to learn about Beth's life in Namibia and her experience starting and running a business that is so unusual as sand boarding.  Very cool. After dinner we found a German pub to watch the big Euro 2012 soccer match between Holland and Germany.  The place was packed and the atmosphere was lively and rowdy.  Lots of Germans travel l Namibia because it is a order colony and everyone speaks German here.  The Dutch also come due to heir heritage in nearby South Africa.  There are lots of "self drivers" that we are meeting here that rent a extended cab truck and do their own camping safari so the place has a fun vibe of authentic travelers.  Tomorrow we say goodbye to Scooter, Ryan and Nicki as they fly to Cape Town in South Africa for their final 4 nights.  Marc and I will pick up our rental and head north up the Skeleton Coast and inland into the Danaraland region in search of rare desert elephant and rhino.  It should be an adventure!!!

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