24-Jun-2006 -- 30N 13E was to be our second Confluence of the day. After returning 40 km across the desert to the main road from 30N 12E, being careful to follow our tracks (the GPS was now switched off to conserve its batteries), we turned east and continued in the direction of al-Qaryat al-Šarqiyya.
Switching the GPS on occasionally to check our position, we overshot the intended turn-off position but since the desert to our south was flat and firm, we turned off where we were and, with the GPS back on to guide us, headed in a straight line slightly back towards the west, but also towards our estimated target.
Just as we reached the target area and stopped the car, we saw a large desert lizard. It had probably been basking in the early morning sun and had been disturbed by our presence. At approx. 600 mm long it was probably a monitor lizard. Well camouflaged against the dun coloured sand, the lizard at first tried to creep away, flat-backed and long-legged, trying to be invisible. As I maneuvered around to get a decent picture, the lizard changed direction, arched its back, then moved in an attacking tail-up flash across the desert floor, directly at Justin – who immediately jumped out of the way. This demonstration of aggressiveness created sufficient confusion to allow the creature a chance to escape – which was probably its intention.
As the lizard became almost invisible within a few dozen meters, we left it to its own devices and walked over to the confluence point to make our photographic record of the GPS position as well as the four cardinal points of the compass. The temperature was still climbing and had already reached the high Thirties. It was barely mid-morning, so once we had done what we came to do, we loaded ourselves back in the vehicle and headed back across the desert to the North.