The red salt- packed road ran in a straight line up the Skeleton Coast of Namibia.
We had left behind the seal colony at Cape Cross a hundred miles back, where the stench of ammonia was so strong, that it brought tears to our eyes, and cleared the sinuses instantly.
We were the only travellers on that road at that time, where a permit had to be obtained to travel; it was for our own safety, should we get lost.
We had arrived at “Mile 108”, to the fishing spot where the warm current from the Amazon River in South America was reputed to reach the shores of the Skeleton Coast in South West Africa.
The waves crashed on to a shore littered with the bleached bones and skulls of a thousand seals. The grey ocean stretched endlessly away and there was not a ship in sight.
However, the occasional shipwreck could be seen all along the coast, forlornly thrusting itself through the pebbled beaches.
We parked our campervan side on to the ocean. The knowledge that there were no human beings within a hundred kilometres or more made us feel like castaways on a desert island.
Driftwood and twigs that lay scattered everywhere were gathered and a good stone fireplace built behind the van and sheltered from the breeze.
The Skeleton coast in August was cool, not more than 17 Degrees Celsius and the mist that would envelope us when darkness came would feed the desert behind us.
It was time for our evening meal, fresh from the sea.
Harry cast into the bountiful ocean and within seconds hooked a six pound Copper Steenbras. As he cleaned and filleted the fish, I prepared the vegetables.
Then our guests arrived, a pandemonium of Pelicans, their pouches yapping beneath their bills.
What else can you call such a gathering?
Perhaps plenitude or even a pageant?
For not only were there many pelicans, but they were our entertainment too as their unwieldy shapes bumped each other and they rose into the air like lumbering Sikorsky helicopters, snatching fish entrails from each other.
When Harry finally threw the centre bone with head and tail attached, the cawing and squabbling became frantic and the winner quickly opened its mouth to swallow its prize;
The carcass jammed in the pouch, head one side and tail the other, and the outline in the now stretched skin gave the pelican a macabre grin the width of its body.
The fire was ready and I cooked part of the fish with lemon juice and butter; the new potatoes and fresh peas, purchased that morning in Hentjiesbaai, added delight to the meal; the bottle of white wine was the perfect accompaniment.
Our guests had departed flying in their cumbersome way back to wherever Pelicans sleep.
As we sat watching the ocean, and setting sun, we were silent, enjoying each other’s company.
It was the end of a deeply satisfying day. What more could a body want?
©2021 gentlelifehacks.com| Author| Doreen – Memories of Africa