22-Jan-2009 -- The colour map of Confluence Arabica is a sea of red, and only few specks of black are visible… and these specks are getting much tougher to get to because of their remote locations. Our challenge was to visit a set of four confluences, 29N 39E, 31N 40E, 31N 39E and 32N 40E, still available in the northwest corner of Saudi Arabia during our normal weekend break. It had taken us months of planning to materialize this challenge in a single weekend.
After the successful visit to 29N 39E, we stopped briefly for lunch at the "al-Bukhāriyy Restaurant" in a Wild West lookalike village. We were treated to a south Indian dish which we gobbled up quickly having had missed the breakfast. We travelled at a good pace on the highway heading towards `Ar`ar and passed the wonderful monuments of al-Jawf and Sakākā. We stopped for coffee just outside Sakākā before continuing on. We then made a tactical decision to cut across the plains and head west directly to the Confluence instead of going around all the way to `Ar`ar and coming south again towards the Confluence.
It was nearly 3:00 p.m. when started the offroading and latched quickly on to a good track (piste) which was also heading west. The terrain was very rocky and now and then we encountered white dust bowls which blew into everywhere. At one point over the rocks, we had a tyre blowout – the tyre had ripped together with its rim. Eventually driving more cautiously, we arrived at the Confluence just before the sun was setting at around 5:20 p.m. The temperatures were falling rapidly with fading sunlight.
The Confluence was in the middle of a rocky flat area. After the normal celebrations, we headed straight north to meet up with the great pipeline highway which runs from the eastern province to Jordan. The drive was during the twilight and the darkness was engulfing very quickly. We found several suitable tracks heading north, and arrived at a highway service station at 6:30 p.m. After a hearty meal of BBQ chicken, chickpeas, and meat curry, we continued our adventure towards 31N 39E.