Friday, January 10, 2014

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

I’ve never really been one to believe in ghosts.  I enjoy the haunted house at Disney.  And I scream in scary movies.  But I don’t really think I believe in ghosts.

When I was in Namibia I visited one area which had a bit of a reputation for being haunted: the Skeleton Coast.  The Skeleton Coast is the term used to define the Atlantic coastline of Namibia running from the northern border with Angola to about midway down the country at Swakopmund. The region gets its name from the rocky, shallow waters which have caused countless ships to run aground there.  Thus, it is a kind of ship graveyard if you will.  The early Portuguese traders called the area As Areias do Inferno which means, “The Sands of Hell.”
Naturally, most of the hundreds of shipwrecks along the Skeleton Coast are from colonial times, but that doesn’t mean today’s sailors are immune to the harsh conditions there.  You would think with modern technology that shipwrecks would be a thing of the past.  Quite to the contrary.  In 2009, the Russian ship Ze’la ran aground and was unable to be salvaged:
Perhaps the most famous shipwreck along the Skeleton Coast is the Eduard Bohlen.  The Eduard Bohlen was a 310 foot ship which weighed 2,272 tons.  It was shipwrecked in 1909 when it ran aground at Conception Bay in thick fog.   Due to its size it is particularly impressive because it is nearly half a mile away from shore.  I took a flight over Skeleton Coast during my trip and here is the Eduard Bohlen from the air:
Aside from the shipwrecks, the Skeleton Coast is also well known for the 200,000 cape fur seals which live there.  Birthing season for the cape fur seals is in early December, so we visited when the little ones were only a couple of weeks old.  You could see, hear and smell nothing but seals for several miles:
Check out these teeth:
And some of the babies.  They already have teeth:

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