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the Degree Confluence Project
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United Arab Emir.

37.6 km (23.3 miles) SSW of Zuwayhir, Abū Zaby, U. A. E.
Approx. altitude: 121 m (396 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 23°S 127°W

Accuracy: 10 m (32 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Foggy morning at camp #3: Nearly there - 30 km down, 10 km to go #4: The proof #5: The proof :-) #6: After more than 50 km of duning, 1 km on sandtrack and a puncture forces a rest

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  23°N 53°E (visit #3)  

#1: The confluence point

(visited by Dom, Janice, Hakan, Ann, Tim, Funda, Jerry and Jeff)

04-Dec-2002 -- Having approached `Arāda by road from al-`Ayn via Abū Ẓaby, the party were more than ready to deflate, get onto the sand and into the desert. This left around 40 km of dunes to be crossed to reach the point. The sand being on the soft side, I (Tim) for one was soon to let a little more air out, having required a little nudge after been caught unawares. With sharper senses and fatter tyres, the rest of the day’s driving proved to be worth the long road trip from al-`Ayn, with wave after wave of dunes of zigzagging ascents and steep descents. Selecting the highest dune as our spot for the night we set camp 20 km short of the point and made ready for a rigorous evening of view watching, fire tending and star gazing.

The morning began not with the usual sun beating through 'canvas' but with a heavy fog reducing visibility considerably. Having waited 2 hours for the fog to lift and tents to dry, we set off for the point, the terrain continuing much as that of the first day. Arriving at the point in time for an early lunch we were a little disappointed to find fresh tracks at the previously virgin point - we latter learned that a party (Alasdair MacKenzie & co) had arrived several days before… oh well… lunch, I suppose…

Opting to head south on the return, after 6-8 km we ran across a track – on mounting which one of the Jeeps’ (mine) tyres went. It turned out that the tyre man had slipped in a duff inner-tube carrying a very poor attempt at a repair. This of course meant that we could no longer afford a tyre problem with the Jeep having used its spare, so plans needed amending – as it happens, while changing tyres, up popped a German engineer in a Landcruiser who informed us that we shouldn’t be on the track anyway as it belonged to the water company, for whom he worked. Producing a map with detail only dreamed of by those of us dependant on retail maps, he pointed us to a large track 20 km north-east and as he was heading in that direction himself offered to take us along a path he knew of… 40 km of 'dodging and weaving' later, we said goodbye to our German friend and decided to proceed along the track for 20 km before turning off in search of a good spot to set up camp for the second night… again guided by the views afforded rather than the shelter offered from the wind - which on this night gusted now and again…

The morning saw little fog and an easy drive back to `Arāda, near which the tyre was re-tubed, before we set off for home… Deciding en-route for one last plunge into the sands, we turned off a few km short of Ḥamīm and, having twice nibbled at the monstrous whalebacks and their myriad bowls, we opted, unlike Oscar Wilde, for 'the triumph of experience over hope' and returned to the asphalt homeward-bound…


 All pictures
#1: The confluence point
#2: Foggy morning at camp
#3: Nearly there - 30 km down, 10 km to go
#4: The proof
#5: The proof :-)
#6: After more than 50 km of duning, 1 km on sandtrack and a puncture forces a rest
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)