07-Oct-2004 -- We have been eyeing the confluences 29N 46E and 29N 47E for a very long time now, and due to the current situation, chances of visiting these confluences seemed as remote as ever. However, we decided to take the risk of visiting them before the onset of the Holy Month of Ramaḍān (Muslim fasting month). Joining us (The Brays and Mahmoods) for the first time for confluence hunting would be the Masud family (Talat and Naella).
We gathered at our favourite meeting place, the first service station on the Hufūf highway at 7:00 pm on a warm Wednesday night, and set off towards Ḥafar al-Bāṭin some 480 km away. On the way, just before al-Nu`ayriyya, we picked up Talat, who came down from Khafjiy, where he works, to join us for the weekend's adventure. Since we had been to Ḥafar al-Bāṭin before, we made it straight to the Hotel Bodl, where surprisingly, the receptionist recognized us from the previous stay. We settled in for comfortable night's sleep.
Early next morning, after a good breakfast, we set off towards al-Ruq`iyy on a good asphalt road. After travelling approximate 70 km, we turned northwest and latched on a good dirt track (known locally as Dabbāyat al-`Adhiriyya). We crossed the huge Wādiy al-Bāṭin where we saw numerous Ḍabb burrows and an occasional sighting. After about 45 km on this good track, we turned north towards the Confluence. After about 12 km of tense and nervous driving, our passage was blocked by a large man-made ditch and sand wall, which was about 3-4 metres high, running across the length as far as the eye could see. We were 200 metres short of the Confluence, which lay in the no man's land. We parked our vehicle and climbed over the sand wall. We walked quickly over to the confluence point, where we performed our normal confluence ritual (dance). The Confluence lay in a bland and featureless sandy plain, it was flat as far as we could see. We rushed through taking the mandatory photos whilst looking in all directions for any movements. We hurried back to our vehicles and backtracked. On the way back, we passed some bunkers, and from one of them a big fox jumped out and ran across the plains, as it scurried it left little puffs of dust. We also encountered a lovely yellow coloured Ḍabb.
Once on the Ḥafar al-Bāṭin – al-Ruq`iyy road, we settled in and headed towards 29N 47E.