24 July 2024

Bushcamp in a strange lunar landscape of sand dunes and almost dried out saltwater shallow lakes or saltflats. Apparently, the area around here used to be the bottom of a shallow sea once. I guess the water table must be pretty high also. We’re about 100km away from the Arabian Gulf. Or maybe its called the Persian Gulf. I’ve see both names used. (check out my pin in MAPS.ME)

I pitched my tent in what looked like a sandy level spot with lots of small uneven rocks scattered around. When I stood on these rocks, they crumbled into smaller shale like fragments. I think they were old calcium carbonate deposits. I tried to hammer in my tent pegs but most only went in a few centimeters. It was like hammering into solid rock. I guessed that old hardened salt or chalk deposits were under the sand which possibly blew in more recently and covered them. Luckily, pegs are only necessary when there is a wind as the poles tension the tent well.

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I had forgotten that the clocks go back an hour in Saudi so dinner was earlier than usual. However, it gets darker earlier this far north so we still used our head torches to see what we were eating; a delicious Thai green curry. Kudos to Karen, the organiser and to the cook team, our youngest tripmates, Tyson and Lena.

I’m glad I bought the headtorch I did, a Ledlenser P7. It’s rechargeable and unfussy with a simple dimmer knob to vary light intensity from low, for eating etc, to high, for seeing at a distance. It’s also easy to change from wide flood to narrow spot. The wide flood is great for walking around at nighttime. You can see everything around you for 15 or 20 meters. Just right to spot scorpions or snakes before you trod on them. I wonder how they managed back in the old days but manage they did, evidently.

I slept like a log from around 9pm to 5.45am with just a few visits to answer a call of nature. Damn you, prostate. I don’t go outside and have a peebottle I use in the tent. With care and Dettol, it’s hygienic and unsmelly. Nuff said about that.

(Please click on any thumbnail above to enlarge the whole gallery for full size sliding photos)

About the other thing, the number two thing, that’s also easily managed with a trowel, a short walk to a private spot and a hole in the sand. So long as you gets the mechanics right, ie, the position of you feet in relation to the hole, the distance between them, the position of your nether gatments; too high and you can’t stoop, too low and them get in the way of the main purpose of the operation. Then there’s the angle of attack or the squat factor. Too high and you might have an unfortunate accident, too low and you might fall backwards. You don’t want to fall backwards when you’ve done the business. Not a good idea at all. If everything coincides, it’s a very satisfying experience indeed. Definitely nuff said about that.

When I was having dinner, I heard a noise I hadn’t heard since my trip to Africa almost 3 years ago, the whine of a mosquito. It must be because of the brackish standing water but the little bastards were in feasting mode. I’ve several lumps now I’m resisting scratching.

We’re off at 7am-ish for the next leg of our trip.

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