For a month we’ve been cruising around and past Pelican Point, viewing the desolate, 10 km long sand bank with its millions of noisy seals from the sea. Today we off-roaded through it, all the way to the seals at the northernmost tip. 2 cars, 12 people, 1 kayak, and lots of food for a beach barbecue. We could naturally not do a beach outing without gathering some data, too. The kayak was brought along not just for fun, but also to record Cape fur seal sounds. The seals often move with the dolphins when feeding, and so it is good to understand the noises they make. Two from our team also snuck up on the seal mothers and their pups in the nursery on land, crawling as close as they possibly could, and leaving a SoundTrap behind.I crawled close to the seals, too, just to watch. On all fours, we three people ultimately got about 10 meters from the “gentlemen’s club” of male seals, lying away from the big group of mothers and pups. The furry, almost shaggy large males sat proudly with their noses in the air, as if they owned the world. And from their point of view, they probably did.
From time to time, the fat old bosses would scoff at the younger or weaker one, yelling, jaws open, straight into their faces. For no apparent reason than to just vent their egos.
The seals and the jackals inhabit a long, lonely stretch of the world. If the wind picks up, there is no way for the jackals to go except for to trot ten kilometers back towards mainland. Or to burrow themselves down into the 4WD tracks. Because this is Namibia and it is full of desolate places.
(Pelican Point, Walvis Bay, Namibia; July 2017)