30-Jun-2006 -- On our trip to visit confluences 30N 11E, 30N 12E and 30N 13E on the weekend of 23/24 June 2006, fellow confluence hunter and trusty navigator John Brian Henderson and I passed up the opportunity to visit 31N 11E, deeming it to be inaccessible due to the terrain (as viewed on Google Earth) and almost certain encounters with the wind blown sand drifts found in the area. The relative ease of the visits to 30N 11E, 12E and 13E brought on a new sense of bravado and as such, I felt confident that 31N 11E could be accessed and was worthy of an attempt. Unfortunately, JBH left Libya for South Africa on 29 June 2006, the same day that we departed Tripoli to make the attempt, and he was unable to join us.
So with much enthusiasm (and trepidation of being stranded in the desert in the middle of summer), confluence hunter initiate Alex Palmeiro and I headed from Tripoli via the town of Nālūt, on the edge of the Jabal Nafūsa, towards the town of Sīnāwin late on Thursday evening. We arrived at our proposed turn off point (some 51 km from the Confluence) at 22:30, set up camp and got a good night’s rest in preparation for the day ahead.
On Friday morning we packed up and got moving early in order to try and avoid the heat of the day. After driving slowly up many blind valleys and on rough rock tracks, we finally managed to negotiate our way onto the plateau that would allow us access to 31N 11E. The drive time to get to the site was nearly 3 hours and we arrived at the site shortly before 09:00, the temperature had already starting to climb and was in the upper 30’s. We quickly took the necessary photographs, admired the stark beauty and remoteness of the area, and headed back towards the main road expecting the temperature to hit the high 40’s around midday.
Half way back we had a puncture and had to change the tyre, with the outside temperature at 51° Celsius! In the short time it took to change the tyre, it gave me a greater respect for the camel herder we had seen moments earlier walking through the desert tending to his herd.
With relief we arrived at the main road and headed back to Tripoli, with a small detour to investigate the watery 33N 12E confluence!