We had a great drive out of the dunes on Tuesday, following the rally route with a some adventure on the way! We got back to the bivouac at about 8pm, where I was reunited with my lovely hubby, who had driven straight down to Liwa after his 3 week offshore rota, and we enjoyed a wee drammie in the company of friends. It was our first night camping there, and after the peace and the serenity of the desert, it wasn’t a very restful night, with the sounds of generators and motorbikes!
Next morning saw Neil don his kilt as we headed to PC3, another desert posting, although it was fairly easy sand track for 90% of the way. We had not one nor two, but three helicopters drop in on us, my Scottish-arabian tablet was getting quite a reputation as an energy booster among the medics!
After we were stood down from our passage control, we got to do a little bit of sweeping as we escorted two rally cars out of the desert, but en route we came across a new style patrol in a deep deep stuck, so I just HAD to stop and winch them out! It made an interesting photo for one of the rallyists who turned back to take a photo of this unusual sight in the desert, an old patrol piloted by a woman, winching a brand new patrol (only available in the middle east) out of a mega stuck, with the operation supervised by a Scotsman wearing a kilt!
We were meant to be heading into Arada again for another desert posting, however the heat had taken its toll on me and I was a bit dehydrated and felt overheated, even though I had drunk 8-10 litres of water during the day. I couldn’t face a two hour drive to the entry point, so the chief marshal was able to allocate a road point for us the next day.
After another night camping in the bivouac we headed to our point – and for the second time in Mizairah’a this year, Xazu’s exhaust came apart! So a quick visit to the industrial area, where an exhaust and a/c repairman deprived me of 60aed (10GPB) to weld and bolt it together, including gaskets etc, and within half an hour I was on the road again. Passage control four seemed very busy as we had lots of photographers, support crews and others from the rally visit us. The day went past very quickly, and the last car made it through our point one hour ahead of schedule, so for once we got back to base in good time.
We decided to go and visit one of my favourite spots on the eastern side of the Liwa crescent – the top of the world plateau, so we picked up some friends and headed there by sand track, negotiating some wonderful dunes on the way. The sunset was extremely beautiful with the dunes as a backdrop, and the friends we introduced to the plateau for the first time were well impressed!
On 3 out of the 5 days we spent in the desert, we saw some interesting atmostpheric effects; on two days we saw sundogs, and on another two the sun had a beautiful halo round it.
Final episode of my Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge blog will follow on Monday!