Friday 23 May 2008

The season begins!!

I have now arrived in Walvis Bay (..WB) and have been welcomed by our hosts John and Barbara Paterson (along with Spliff and Widget the dogs, and Jacob the parrot). John runs the Albatross Task Force in Namibia for RSPB/Birdlife ( and Barbara is an ecological modeler working for MaRe at University of Cape Town.

Spliff, the dog

It's been a busy week, starting with meetings in Windhoek with staff at the Namibian Nature Foundation ( who are suporting this project and Joaquina Eduardo, a student at U. Nam who will be joining the team this season.

I arrived in WB on Tuesday evening after dark so didn't get much chance to look around, but have been gradually finding my feet. The house is great (pictured left, complete with bicycle courtesy of Jeanne at Eco-marine kayak tours).

I plan to spend these first two weeks here before the rest of the team arrives meeting the relevant stakeholders, organising accommodation, vehicles and boats, getting familiar with the area and animals here etc, etc. Got off to a good start on Wednesday, by meeting up with Keith Wearne, who chairs the Coastal Environment Trust of Namibian ( and is our main local contact. Keith has been fantastically welcoming and has really gone out of his way to introduce me to everyone I need to meet and to show me around town. Among the more mundane logistic tasks of Wednesday I met two of the local ecotour operators, Mola Mola safari's and Eco-Marine Kayak tours, both of whom have been very supportive of our project and have kindly offered to take me out to help me get a feel for what they're doing and as well as the local sea conditions.

The very welcoming dolphin themed loo seat at home.. :)

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