Tell us your name and a little about yourself:
I’m Marcelo Gomes Teixeira. I’m 54 years old, and I love traveling. I’ve been in 80 different countries; I’ve lived in the United States, Mexico and Hong Kong. Getting to know Namibia has always been a dream of mine, and combining this trip with Kiting could not have been more perfect.
What’s your profession?
Business Administrator, financial market executive for 34 years, and one year living the dream of a gap year.
How long have you been kiting?
I started sailing an Optimist at 8 years old and from there I never stopped. The kite first was released quickly and had an unsuccessful experience in 2000 – it was a crazy sport, and at the time I had a lot of responsibilities in my hands, so I had to set it and its risks aside.
Three years ago I decided to dedicate myself to the sport. I went to Rancho do Peixe and from then on I have not stopped >> Dominican Republic, United States (Hawaii, Hood River, Miami), Cook Islands, Philippines, Sri Lanka and, of course, many days between Ceará , Piauí and Maranhão.
How were the logistics of the trip when leaving Brazil?
It was a quiet trip.. I flew from Brasilia to Windhoek – where I was already receiving a great reception, and from there we went directly to Luderitz.
Can you discuss the contrast between the different geographies and reliefs you saw in the region?
The feeling of being in the oldest desert in the world is great, with such beauty starting early in morning when the magic of the sun’s rays creates these colors reflecting on dunes until the peaceful nights with a sky full of stars.
The Sossusvlei Park – 375 km from Windhoek (pronounced Wintuk) has a mixture of origins and means endless swamp/marsh. Vlei is the word in Afrikaan for swamp and sossus is a nama dialect for “endless”, where they house the largest and untouchable dunes in the world, with unusual beauty due to their shapes and reddish color.
It was a dream come true to see the famous Big Daddy dune, which is considered to be the biggest dune in the world, reaching 380 meters tall.
I really enjoyed getting to know Luderitz – it’s a small European-style town and where since 2007 is held The Lüderitz Speed Challenge,an annual speed sailing event. A straight course was created by digging along the shore, providing also a very uniform water depth over the entire run of 800 meters long.
We then drove and kited along 500km of the Skeleton Coast. There are many sunken ships, each with a lot of history, including a Brazilian ship called Frotamerica.
Walvis Bay is also very interesting – it’s a port city, very different from Luderitz, and strong from the Namibian mining.
So, what makes it worth while to give up the luxury of a hotel to experience an expedition in the desert?
Traveling through Namibia is as if you’re returning to an early history of earth, and therefore living that experience, in an inhospitable place where man cannot change his surroundings.. this is something inexplicable. It’s only possible to experience this by camping and traveling by 4×4.
I felt life during the trip, because it was 7 days of digital detox. We only had one satellite phone that the support team was using.
Tell us a little about the day to day life in the desert.
We would wake up with breakfast ready, and then drive to find a place to have lunch and organize our kite session.
We did a 20km downwinder in Luderitz a few others of 20k and one 70km downwinder along Skeleton Coast, with beautiful waves of around 1 and a half meters and always ending with an unforgettable sunset.
Each one of us had our own tent and mat with a sleeping bag. The temperature always dropped at night, and it was actually very pleasant with a temperature below 22˚C, due to our proximity to the sea.
Our shower each day was a bucket with an electric hose. The bathroom was eco-friendly and fitted inside a tent. All of the garbage generated was disposed of in the city at the end of the desert crossing. The whole team had a lot of concern for the environment; for example, the cars are driven on one single trail, to reduce any trace or impact they could leave.
There’s so much Wild Life! We saw several orix, black backed jackals (dog mixed with a hyena), springboks and several wonderful bird species. The wildlife was truly amazing. I really loved the flamingos that were everywhere. Kiting with seals was another unique experience, we saw hundreds of thousands of them.
We ate lots of fish and had a special dinner with the Orix beef, which was like filet mignon – a strong characteristic of the region, as they are carnivorous.
Would you consider it a ‘poetic’ experience?
Yes, it was very poetic due to the landscape, the scenes that I will never forget. I returned full of poems that tell of the dazzling visuals.
I would love do this trip again with friends and family.
What kinds of thoughts come into your head while you were in the desert?
All of my thoughts derived from this euphoria of waking up in the middle of the night and feeling in the sky – which was completely full of stars.
How was the kiting experience, and would you recommend an adventure like this?
Yes, I would recommend it, but it’s not just for anyone who wants to go Kitesurfing— it’s actually a life experience. I only identified Mongolia as somewhere other than Namibia, with this characteristic of untouchable landscapes, interesting culture, and quite receptive natives. The windy season is between October to January, where the kites being used are between a 5, 8, or 10. At this time there wasn’t a lot wind, but we were about to kite around 7 times.
Do you feel any sort of transformation after completing a challenge like this?
I feel transformed because now I’m wanting to explore more wild places of the world, away from the big cities. I want more.
The trip surpassed all of my expectations due to the unexpected surprises. We created friends within the group, who all can agree it was an unique experience.
Can you tell us a little about the guide, who took care of the logistics during your trip?
Carsten – he’s an extremely organized and detailed person, I believe that having worked in the luxury Yatch industry helped a lot, even with incredible ease of dealing with people and always having a concern for the safety of the group.
Besides the very positive energy, he was always willing and the first to wake up and last to sleep. He always worried about what pleased everyone on the trip. And most importantly, the essence and passion for the sport, as a good kiter, he slept and woke up always positive in relation to the wind.
Interview by: Jalila Paulino
Translated by: Hammond Sale Jr.