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the Degree Confluence Project
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Yemen : Hadramawt

5.6 km (3.5 miles) N of Thawbān, Hadramawt, Yemen
Approx. altitude: 325 m (1066 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 15°S 130°W

Accuracy: 7 m (22 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: View to the East #3: View to the South #4: View to the West #5: GPS #6: The entrance to Wādiy Hubourk #7: Oil drum fence #8: View of the wādiy #9: A bush marks the spot #10: Temporary shelter near the Confluence #11: Šarma Beach #12: Google Earth (c) map - the white line represents the main road

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  15°N 50°E  

#1: Overview and view to the North

(visited by Phil Boyle)

22-Oct-2006 -- Time once again for the annual `Īd trip and, of course, another opportunity to attempt some new confluence points. Last year's adventure netted 15N 49E in the Jawl and 16N 49E in Wādiy Ḥaḍramawt. This year, I planned to travel around the deserts and mountains of al-Mahra, the only Governorate I hadn't visited so far during my posting to Yemen. But, before getting to al-Mahra, there was some unfinished business at 15N 50E. This point lies just 9 km off the main road from al-Mukallā, which we'd driven along last year without realising that a CP was close by. Google Earth showed that the point was north of the road down a sandy wādiy.

A small town stands at the entrance to what is, according to a cheery man on a scooter, Wādiy Hubourk, and a track leads about 4 km into it. However, after getting that far, I came across my off-roading bête noire - a heavily bouldered wādiy bed that was excruciatingly slow to drive upon, not to mention hard on the car. Loud bangs from underneath the chassis and a fear for my tyres made me stop at 4.7 km from the point, and I took photographs for an 'incomplete visit' report. However, whilst sulking on the way back, I noticed tracks in the hills flanking the eastern side of the wādiy. I knew that the CP lay on one of these hills, and I'd been expecting a tough climb in the heat. There was clearly a better way to get to the point than I had been trying.

But, whilst rushing off to one of the hill tracks located near an interesting oil-drum fence, I managed to put both of my front wheels over some barbed wire that was lying on the ground. This was a potential disaster; I had two spares with me, but was already worried about my other tyres from driving on the boulders. It would be irresponsible to carry on.

Needless to say, I did carry on (after checking the tyre pressures after another kilometre), as I couldn't countenance losing the first point out of a planned eight for this trip. In the end it was the right decision - the tyres held, and the hill track took me to 361 m from the target. I was pleased that my initial approach (wādiy + climb) had failed - even this short distance was still a hard enough walk in the blistering mid-day heat of southern Yemen. The views over the wādiy were beautiful, but the point itself lay in a dip, so there are only moderate views to the North and East, and just a hillside peppered with black volcanic stones to the South and West. A bush almost perfectly marks the spot. There are no villages nearby, but there is a temporary shelter about 500 m from the Confluence, probably belonging to a local Bedu.

The drive back down the wādiy was uneventful, and just one kilometre further down the main asphalt road towards Sayḥūt I turned off towards Ra's Šarma. This area is popular with expats (or at least the few that ever leave Ṣan`ā') because of its beautiful beaches upon which turtles come to lay their eggs at this time of year. Whilst there, I chatted with two locals, who were excited about the end of Ramaḍān that evening, swam in the sea, and bedded down on the beach in the hope of sighting a turtle. That didn't happen, unfortunately, thanks to my sleeping soundly through the night. Oddly enough, the same thing happened when I camped at Šarma last year... it must be the good sea air.

The journey continues at 16N 52E.

Note: For more information about the involvement of the British Embassy Ṣan`ā' in the DCP, or confluence hunting in Yemen in general, please see my visit to 15N 49E.


 All pictures
#1: Overview and view to the North
#2: View to the East
#3: View to the South
#4: View to the West
#5: GPS
#6: The entrance to Wādiy Hubourk
#7: Oil drum fence
#8: View of the wādiy
#9: A bush marks the spot
#10: Temporary shelter near the Confluence
#11: Šarma Beach
#12: Google Earth (c) map - the white line represents the main road
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)