21-Jul-2006 -- In order to try and complete the east-west traverse of the 31N line of latitude in the vicinity of Tripoli, my aim was to attempt 31N 15E and 31N 16E on the 21 July 2006.
John Brian Henderson and I had attempted this Confluence once before (10 June 2006) in the Citroen C4, but due to the deep sand we encountered shortly after turning off the Great Man-Made River road, we had decided to abort the attempt until a more suitable vehicle could be used.
I departed Tripoli at 16:30 on Thursday afternoon and headed westwards for Miṣrāta, then southwards along the Great Man-Made River pipeline. Driving a Toyota 4X2 pickup made driving through the sand less of a problem than before, but caution still needed to be exercised. At 22:00 I stopped driving and the GPS showed that I was about 5.5 km from the Confluence. With there being no moon and very little wind, the night sky was one of the best I have ever seen and I sat for hours identifying the stars with the help of a star navigation program.
I spent some time preparing dinner, and whilst eating planned my route for the following day on Google Earth. I finally got into my sleeping bag and got a good night's rest.
I woke up before sunrise on Friday morning to yet another perfect day, with not a single cloud in the sky and made ready for the day ahead. A quick breakfast of fruit and cereal, and I was on my way.
Although the accessibility was far easier than I anticipated, it took half an hour of slow driving over the stony ground to reach 31N 15E. I took the necessary photographs and back-tracked past the densest stand of acacias I have seen in the area, towards the main Tripoli-Surt road and then headed southeast to attempt 31N 16E.