A Travellerspoint blog

Day Forty Two – Oil Rigs and Shipwrecks

3rd November 2011

sunny 35 °C

The day got off to a belting start when the park guys started fixing their car at the break of dawn. We lay still in our crumpled sleeping bags for a while contemplating rising. Eventually we could take the noise no longer. My entrance on the scene in just my boxers was made more impressive as my foot slipped on the first rung of our dew laden ladder. I very briefly hit every other rung on the ladder as I fell semi-graciously to the dirt. I stood quickly, dusting myself off. I pretended that the girly little squeak hadn’t happened and that I hadn’t just fallen seven feet down a ladder. The guys fixing their car stood in bewildered, but only mild, interest at another white man acting weird again.

A short distance into the park we found the wreck of The Benguela Eagle (1975.) Further on we found the cinematic remains of an old inland oil rig. It seems the entire thing was built of iron and steel and now this huge structure sits in the desert rusting away. There isn’t a square inch of it that isn’t rusted.

Somewhat coincidentally, that morning we’d decided it was high time we made a music video and this spot provided an amazing location. Somers, it seemed, slipped very naturally into the role of music video icon and performed brilliantly in front of camera. My talent was lacking, I was well aware of it, and so in an effort to pad out my part of the routine I went for the highest point on the rig. That was a lot easier said than done. The rusted steps had no actual ‘step’ remaining; the square floor panel on which I was stood was covered in about six inches of excrement from the local bird life, not that we could see any of the offending creatures. My scene involved a jump before swinging my arm out towards the sea. I wasn’t sure that the floor would stand a jump and it was telling in my face as Somers started the camera rolling. My half baked jump landed heavily. The floor beneath me flexed. Not like a piece of thick rubber or thick metal but more like a piece of peanut brittle. I heard a crack and looked down to see a line running along past the heels of my feet out to the edge of the golden brown structure. My mojo was gone. I gingerly climbed back down like a criticised prima donna and muttered something about being over this video making crap.

We went for a walk along the beach near Toscanini, an old diamond mine. Sadly we didn’t find any diamonds but we did find bones. The beach was littered with seal and whale bones. In a few kilometres we saw more than thirty seal skulls, we saw whale ribs, 15 or more feet long, Somers lay lengthways next to one, and vertebrae the size of a bath tub; the parks title is clearly no misnomer,

The afternoon was spent hiking across five kilometres of salt pan come sand dune to the oceans’ shore where lay the Montrose (1973.) By far the best wreck we’d seen yet, it still has its mast and is therefore far more potent and pleasing on the eye than previous wrecks. It was also one of the most scenic, and remote, picnic spots I’ve ever dined at. Arabian pepsi tasted amazing. It’s not just the fifty P shop in Liverpool that still sells Arab coke with the old style ring-pulls.

We weren’t allowed to camp overnight in the Park unless we stayed in the eighty quid per person lodge. That didn’t suit, so we drove off to find a secluded spot on the pebble beach at the shores edge nestled in behind some dunes to keep us clear of the road. As we climbed into bed a storm was brewing over the Atlantic the waves crashed thunderously against the shore, lifting and smashing pebbles as big as a human head against the beach. From all the way to my right, north, all the way to my left, the south, and all the way from the roof of the sky in front of me down onto the horizon ahead lay one huge black cloud. It’ll never hit us I thought as I slipped into a dream about Redvers being washed into the ocean.

Posted by ibeamish 10:28 Archived in Namibia

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