Day 5 – Fishing along the Skeleton Coast north of Henties Bay. Caught 3 kabeljou and 1 galjoen – 24 Sep 2013

Trip Report:  Day 5 
  • Sunrise at 06.50am and sunset at 18.59pm
  • High tide at 06.46am and 18.59pm
  • Low tide at 11.51am and midnight
  • Moon overhead at 04.32am, moonset at 10.11am, underfoot at 16.57pm and moonrise at 23.45pm

We filled up with diesel at the petrol station in Henties and came across “The Lion Man” of Namibia who spends his days tracking the wild lions, some fitted with tracking collars while others are still roaming around freely in the wild.  He tries to protect them as best as he can, especially from humans who usually want to kill them if they see them on their land.  I couldn’t help but think, what a beautiful life to lead in an old faithful vehicle with a do not follow this vehicle sticker on it for all to see.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.001

The clouds were rolling in from off the sea.  The fog it created was as wet as can be.  Today was a jacket day.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.002

We went onto the beach further up north from Henties Bay.  The cold front off the coast looked damn cold with its dark grey clouds, far out to sea.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.003

The sea foam says it all!  The tides been churning itself up off the sea floor and depositing the sea foam all along the beach.  When the wind blows, the foam rolls its way down the beach with the wind, multiplying in size after catching more sea foam that comes across its path.  It’s the dance of the sea, continuing down on the beach.  When driving through the foam, it creates a huge mess as the tyres capture the sand.  It ends up being a big clump of mucky mud covering your wheels and the undercarriage of your car.  Nothing that a good wash won’t take off.  It could hinder your driving performance on the sand though as your tyres tread can become non-existent, to say the least!  It’s great fun.  The sound generated by the sloshy mud hitting your car creates an adventure, awakening you to the here and now.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.004

In times like these, I’m grateful that my feet are placed firmly on the land and not on a boat, far out at sea.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.005

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.006

A pleasant clearing of the clouds happened in the middle of the day. The temperature was extremely pleasant for Namibia.  There was hardly a breath of wind.   The cloud cover was keeping most of the lands heat from dissipating away.  It was enjoyable being on the Skeleton Coast without having to pitch our windbreaker for protection during the day.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.007

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.008

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.009

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.010

Ian caught a kabeljou and released it back into the sea to grow a little bigger.  The minimum size allowed to keep a Kabeljou is 40cm.  The main picture at the top of this page is Ian with this small Cob he caught as it was his first catch of the day.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.011

We decided to move further up north, looking for the larger fish and maybe a wider variety. We headed back towards the salt road to make up some ground as beach driving can be taxing on your time due to the slow speed.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.013

The gravel road from the beach joined up to the C34/Salt Road at the Fisherman’s Inn Bar.  We were stocked up enough for that not to entice us in so we drove on.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.014

The landscape has a way of speaking for itself.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.015

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.016

The cold front being held off for now by the air emitting off the hot desert land.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.017

I will track the GPS coordinates for the crystal tables in due time from our GPS.  These tables are along the road with an honesty jar for you to place your N$ into once you have chosen the salt crystal you want.  They all have their prices written beside them.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.018

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.019

The lichen (algae and fungi) fields are protected as best as they can with a fence around it in places.  No driving is allowed on any lichen growing area.  The colour of lichen may range from green to orange, grey, black or brown.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.020

The Messum Crater Route, which is one of the richest lichen stretches in Namibia, where you will find the green foliose lichen standing up proudly from the soil surface, in abundance.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.021

Once we were a few kilometres past the lichen fields, we took a two spoor track back towards the coast. Keep on the tracks as there are enough of them to use.  There is no use making new paths as the little vegetation they do have, is of utmost importance to preserve.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.022

Ian caught a Galjoen just over size.  The minimum size of the Republic of Namibia Fisheries and Marine Resources Act is 30cm. You are allowed to catch ten Galjoen per day of size.  You are not authorised to fillet them as an inspector couldn’t  prove the actual size, should they stop and check.

They are known to be plentiful in Namibia between the months of May to August so it was lovely to catch one in late September, just before the season was coming to its end.  You are not allowed to catch Galjoens between 15 October to the end of February every year.

Anglers have always said that the best conditions to catch a Galjoen would be when the wind is blowing in your face, after three days of turbulent waters and when the tides are pushing, especially the days leading up to the Spring tide.  The spring tide is the best time to catch a nice big one.

Galjoen love Namibia’s cold water coastline with its rocky shoreline, hundreds of gullies running out into the sea with their kelp beds and churned up water from the constant wave action.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.023

Galjoen – 

  • South Africas National Fish since 1992.
  • Minimum size allowed for you to keep 35cm.
  • Only found along the coast from Kwazulu Natal in South Africa to the southern part of Angola.
  • They are indicated as red on the SASSI list which means that shops or restaurants shouldn’t sell them.  You are not allowed to sell a Galjoen.  They are considered threatened.  You can’t catch them commercially.  This species is a protected species. You are only authorised to catch 2 per day as their numbers are dwindling.
  • No catching Galjoen during the closed season from 15 October to 28 February.
  • They enjoy cold waters below 19ºC.
  • They reach a sexual maturity at five years with a length of approximately 34cm for females and 31cm for males.
  • A female can spawn around a million eggs at a time.  Spawning occurs several times in a year.
  • Females reach an average length of 67cm and males 47cm.  They have a slow grow rate.
  • The South African Angling record for a glajoen is 6.5kg.
  • Feeds on – mussels (white and black), prawn, red bait, lobster, chokka and bloodworm.  Please note that you not allowed to fish with any worm in Namibia.
  • Their coloration can change according to their surrounding of rock or sand.  From silver bronze to dark, almost black. Their markings change once they are out the sea.
  • Once caught and wanting to keep to eat later,  you should cut it through the gills to let the fish bleed, ultimately improving its flavour.
  • The flesh is white with a dark edge to each segment, making it a darker flesh than a natural white fleshed fish.

We decided to head further north but came to an area where it was well sign boarded, not to cross further so we made our way back to the C34 via a two spoor road.

We had to backtrack a bit as the salt pans were cutting our access off towards the salt road.  We made sure we stayed clear from the pans as they have been known to cause severe complications should your vehicle get stuck in its thick, soggy mud on the far outer edges.  They may look dry in areas to the eye but it is very deceiving as its just the upper, dried out crust.  It’s best to steer clear of them for your safety unless a manmade road has been laid by the placing of truckloads of gravel, thereby creating a safe way to travel on across the pans.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.024

After a few kilometres on the C34,  we came across the signboard for St Nowhere.  Who could resist not taking the turning and finding out where nowhere is.  We went to investigate and drove down a long, windy gravel/salt road with huge, wet salt pans on either side of the road.

The upper crust of the salt pan has millions of cracks running along the surface, as the edge of the pan dries out.  When the side of the pan dries out, even more, the spectacular large pink and white salt crystals form in abundance.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.025

We were intrigued by this sign indicating a spa and a campsite down this road to St Nowhere.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.026

The picture below depicts the wetness of the area with the man-made, bulldozed road, to ensure your safe crossing through the pans.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.027

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.028

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.029

St Nowhere wasn’t anything much to write home to about.  It is perfect for the fishermen fishing further up the coast.  They have a very basic camping set up where white painted rocks demarcate their sites.  The bathroom facility was complicated.  To have a shower, you fill up a bucket and hang it above your head in the tin ablution facilities.  They also needed to know the time you would be showering so that the water could put on as water is scarce in Namibia at times.  The water in the area is brought in by truck.  They had facilities should you need to charge an electronic item but only for a short period.

The spa treatment sounded delightful where you’re able to ‘bath’ in the salt pans.  Imagine bathing in a huge salt bath under the light of the full moon, exfoliating all the dead cells from your skin.  One for the bucket list of things still to do.

We had a look around and decided to go fishing.

Ian’s line had just hit the water, and he caught a lovely Kabeljou, which was bigger than the one he’d caught earlier, a few kilometres south.  We were fishing just a bit further south than St Nowhere.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.030

It was 43cm so we decided to keep it for our meal tonight.  There is no greater freshness which gives one immense enjoyment than eating fresh fish from right out of the sea that you have caught.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.031

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.032

Our magical view around us.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.033
Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.034

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.035

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.036

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.037

Beyond your wildest wonders of breathtakingly beautiful, majestic, magical, marvellous, tranquil, peaceful splendour beyond words in each and every breath you take that takes your breath away.  You are alone and as one with the world.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.038

Whenever I see a seagull, I’m reminded of my grandfather.  It makes me feel that he has sent his angels to keep an eye out for us. He was a seaman who loved the sea. Seagulls are scavengers just as we as humans are, at times while living on this earth as hunter-gatherers.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.039

The waves lapping up onto the beach and washing up the bank then back out to sea is mesmerising to watch.  The swishing sound as it washes over the sand is a beautiful white noise to hear instead of the hustle and bustle of a town.  Peace and tranquillity to a capital T.  A fisherman’s delightful place to be.

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Sunset, the best time to fish.  It is well known that the fish love to be on the bite at night.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.041

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.043

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.044

Ian caught another kabeljou and released it back into the ocean as it was undersized.

Day 5 - Skeleton Coast, north of Henties - Namibia 2013 - 24 Sep.045

Once the sun had set and the clouds started rolling in, with the thunder and lightning far out to sea.  We awoke in the middle of the night by a loud thunder clap sound that almost rocked our tent with its vibrations.  The wind picked up and the rain came pelting down.  The lightning was scary once above us. There would be a few sheet lightning displays across the sky then suddenly a sharp, bright lightning fork would lash out from the heavens and try to connect itself to the ground.  We weathered the storm snuggled together quite comfortably for the night.

Useful contact numbers  –

Fisherman’s Inn Bar, C34 – Cell +264 (0)81 2333675

St Nowhere Spa & Campsite – Cell +264 (0)81 2529422 or alternatively Cell +264 (0)81 1240879.

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