21-Nov-2010 -- We are currently involved in a gas exploration survey of the Risha gas field at the eastern side of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Our team consists of Johnathan Stone, Walid Eid, Jochen Schade, Ian Thomson, Robert Redden, Stuart Richards, Brian Manning, Victor Vella, Mark Craig, Mike Evans, Salman al-Majali, Ibrahim Kayed al-Badawi, and Gary Pierce. Two members of the team, Brian Manning and me (Gary Pierce), had an opportunity to recce the southern border with Saudi Arabia and arranged a mission to visit confluence point 32N 39E on Sunday, 21 November 2010.
Our convoy, consisting of two vehicles, departed base camp at 06:20. We traveled along the eastern side of the Risha gas field for approximately 2.5 hours, arriving at the tri-border point of Jordan/Iraq/Saudi Arabia at approximately 09:00. We were attempting to get a GPS position and photo at the tri-border point, but were unable to get to that section of the border due to a secondary berm that prevented us from accessing the point. Shortly after our arrival we were approached by the Jordanian military patrolling the border. The enlisted men contacted a Jordanian Colonel, who arrived shortly thereafter. After a brief explanation and badge check, we were informed that travel to the East would be an issue, but we could proceed westward along the Saudi border. They were very courteous and after reviewing our military ID badges allowed us to proceed.
We proceeded westward, driving along the border berm, arriving at the point of confluence which was located on the Jordanian side of the border berm. The terrain was flat, easily drivable via a desert track. Once on position the Garmin Oregon 400T began to behave erratically. It went into some sort of a re-config mode and the screen began to display geometric patterns. I'm not sure what the issue was as I've never seen this behavior before... possibly a jamming device nearby? Brian and I had an additional receiver on hand, Garmin 705, which was operating normally. After a few minutes and a re-boot the Oregon was also stabilized. Photos were taken of GPS and N, E, S, W. Placed an X of stones at the position and departed after a brief lunch, traveling cross country back to basecamp, and arriving at 13:00. Total moving time was 5 hrs 39’ at 210 km. Mission accomplished.
It should be noted that Mark Craig was in the area previously, and was as close as the Tri-Border point, but never actually made it to the confluence point. He was unable to accompany us on this mission today as he was away on his break.