Lüderitzbuchter (Lüderitz Bay) locals are called “buchters”, kind of like folks from Boston are called Bostonians. There's a mix of black and white and brown people, but all seem friendly and cordial. Everyone greets us with a smile and a hello and a how-are-you. Our first conversation with a local was with Andy while he was working on his trimaran. He pointed us to our mooring, if you'll remember. He's since come over for wine aboard and we've had the chance to learn more about him. A Brit, he's a diver and came for the diamonds and never left. He rows out and works on his boat daily in hopes of sailing off into the sunset sometime in the near future.
Liz at Lüderitz Safaris and Tours is an absolute sweetheart … knowledgeable, pleasant and happy to share local info.
When we bought our Namibian courtesy flag from her, I asked about the woman who made the flags. Her method of making flags with fabric paint on duck cloth was unusual and I was interested in learning more as an alternative to sewing them. Well, Liz called Doris and they set up a get together for sundowners one evening. We met Liz at the shop and rode with her to Doris and Ian's house, a short distance from the waterfront. We had a great evening learning about each other.
Doris is German and her husband, Ian, is a Scot. They're ex-cruisers and Ian was actually the Port Captain here in Lüderitz for several years. It wasn't far into the conversation before we were comparing passages and routes and folks we'd met along the way. Not so amazingly, we knew some of the same people. I learned about Doris' little fabric-painting enterprise. She's a very creative woman and makes other fabric painted products and crafts, as well as courtesy flags.
Quite unexpectedly and most graciously, Doris offered the use of her washer for our heaps of dirty laundry. She also offered hot showers (a hint, perhaps?)… and lettuce from her garden. Once a cruiser … always a cruiser. What a generous offer. No need to offer twice ...we brought over the laundry the next morning.
I spent a most pleasant morning with Doris. She's an animal lover. She has two solid black cats that follow her around like puppies. Additionally, several neighborhood cats stop in for snacks quite regularly. She also has three tortoises that she adopted when they were abandoned. Hugo is her favorite and she found him sunning himself in the back yard and introduced us.
We keep meeting more and more locals. There's Evaldine, the Port Control Officer, who checked us in and who's continued to help sort out a possible long term mooring for a friend hoping to visit Luderitz soon. Then there's Maritje at BB Car Hire. She and her family are heading to the USA for an archery competition and vacation in August and she was interested in chatting about their impending visit. And when we were returning to our dinghy one day, we met Heiko, who is captain of the Zeepard, the local harbor sightseeing boat. We spoke for a few minutes while he was boarding passengers. It turns out he and his wife are also ex-cruisers, and we have mutual friends in common.
Each day, we learn a little more about the town and its people. All in all, this is a fine, friendly, pleasant place to be. It's relatively safe and secure and perfect for cruisers like us. When will we be moving on? Not any time too soon.