Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/39

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31
FISH—WILD-FOWL.

Town, with cattle; and had, in addition, a contract with the British government for supplying St. Helena with live-stock. The latter speculation proved exceedingly lucrative for a time, and a profit of many hundred per cent, was said to be realized. From some mismanagement, however, the contract for St. Helena was thrown up by the government, and the parties in question were fined a large sum of money for its non-fulfillment. Shortly afterward the establishment was broken up, and for several years the house and store remained unoccupied; but they are now again tenanted by people belonging to merchants from Cape-Town.

Walfisch Bay affords an easy and speedy communication with the interior. By the late explorations of Mr. Galton and myself in that quarter, we have become acquainted with many countries previously unknown, or only partially explored, to which British commerce might easily be extended. Walfisch Bay and the neighborhood abounds with fish of various kinds: at certain seasons, indeed, it is much frequented by a number of the smaller species of whale, known by the name of "humpbacks," which come here to breed. Several cargoes of oil, the produce of this fish, have been already exported.

At the inner part of the harbor, a piece of shallow water extends nearly a mile into the interior, and is separated from the sea, on the west side, by Pelican Point. This lagoon teems with various kinds of fish, and at low water, many that have lingered behind are left sprawling helplessly in the mud. At such times, the natives are frequently seen approaching; and, with a gemsbok's horn affixed to a slender stick, they transfix their finny prey at leisure. Even hyænas and jackals seize such opportunities to satisfy their hunger.

Walfisch Bay is frequented by immense numbers of waterfowl, such as geese, ducks, different species of cormorants, pelicans, flamingoes, and countless flocks of sandpipers. But, as the surrounding country is every where open, they are dif-