13-Nov-2007 -- From 10 to 17 November 2007, a 6-car group was travelling through the desert. The group consisted of Peter Gaballa, Badr, Wieke, Dionne & Louis Piet, Jan Bron, Brian Dewitt, Rick, Ineke & Femke Gelderblom, Bas, Elise & Wouter de Bruin. Plus of course, the legendary desert dog Gorbatsjov. They followed the east side of Abū Muḥarrik dunes, went via the old camel route Darb al-Ṭawīl, passed the Šāwšāw Mountains with their beautiful long dunes, and went through the Gusmund pass to arrive in Qaṣr, Dākhila Oasis.
About a month before, Peter Gaballa, Angus Rolle, Sandy Jorgensen, Rick & Gorby had been doing sections of this route. As you can see in the 26N 29E confluence report, I was seriously accused of being a lousy navigator paying no attention to the fact that we had been very close to two confluence points that were still open. Of course, this was not true; it was all part of my master plan to offer something special to my future in-laws who I would be taking to the desert for their first time. It was the Rolle/Jorgensen/Abulata/Lacy team that set out to try to steal our confluence points... but the lords of Abū Muḥarrik saw their cunning plan and caused them to successfully visit only one of the two confluence points... After the first point the 26N 29E team had to retreat pulling one of their limping desert machines 250 km back through the desert. This, by the way, was an impressive achievement by itself, compliments! Of course, any accusations that team 26N 30E had been bribing Basil's mechanic to keep the oil levels on the "low" side are completely misplaced..!
We calculated that we could not afford the fuel for the detour to the confluence point. But, how nice!, all of the sudden, by total surprise, we came across some extra jerry cans full of petrol left behind in the desert. Apparently the original owners lost interest in them. Also there was hidden some bonus firewood! The only problem was digging the jerry cans out, who were left behind only a few weeks ago at the foot of a little slipface. First we dug only with hands, then with shovels, and it ended up with a sandladder towed by the Jeep as a bulldozer. A serious amount of dune had to be removed before we could pull the jerry cans out. All of that sand in just a few weeks..!
After a nice campfire-warmed evening and another night in the 5-million star hotel, with the cars full of petrol, we set off to the confluence point. We travelled towards the South through a part of the Darb al-Ṭawīl, and just before the escarpment, we turned off into a wādiy network, direction south-west. The route to the confluence point had been carefully prepared by studying Google Earth in advance. The selected route was followed using a GPS connected to a laptop onboard the car containing satellite images. Deeper and deeper we went into the wādiys until big boulders blocked the way. We carried on further by foot. We had to climb onto the plateau by taking a little side arm of the main wādiy. The tough job here was to carry up all the confluence beer cans to celebrate the arrival at the virtual point in the desert. It was clear nobody had been there before. And it also is highly unlikely anyone will be going there in the future...
We did the GPS zero-ing, the message in the bottle, the pictures, and most important: the beer. (Note: this was a non-Sakara sponsored event) And Gorby marked the confluence point 26N 30E in his personal manner: he pee-ed over it... After all of this we had to hurry down the wādiy again back to the Darb as it was getting late. We arrived in the dark at a very nice canyon, a camping spot with yet another fantastic desert view over the large sand sheet area east of the Šāwšāw Mountains.