Day 12 - Into No-man’s land
6am, out in convoy with 10 other teams from Dakhla. Dawn over the desert.
Sand and big waves beat the endless, desolate beach. Midday border out of Morocco. Have managed to lose the Audi’s import docs. Oops. Bit shady for a while but the big man finishes his lunch moans in French and makes me sign my thumb print as an exit stamp (!) and we are off. Well 20 yards. Sheltering oddly behind crumbling brick wall in a field the Gendarmerie check us yet again.
Now into no-man’s land. A minefield. Desolate does not do justice. Mangled vehicles either side of track deter thoughts
of off-roading. A rock track jogged by Steve and Rob has the Peugeot grounding.
Mauritania border and a two hour car queue. Guide nearly gets into fight but after parting with some pens and notebooks we are through. Customs is literally like a lean-to cattle shed.
Night in Auberge…..national park and desert tomorrow.
Day 13 - Right into the desert
Off into the sand. No track that I can see. Sand and rocks and dust and sand. Cars get stuck in the sand and we push out, use sand ladders and carpet….exhausting hot work… but as we get better this happens less. Fantastic flooring it through the sand sliding and wheel spinning all over the place! Have to keep speed up to get through, Audi is learning to fly on occasions. All cars take a pounding. Camp near fishing village and drink Saharan tea in a big tent with the park man. Its right on a beach facing south but clearly very sheltered with no wave as sadly flat calm.
Whisky and tales around in the lamplight.
Day 14 - Rally driving in the sand
More fun and crazy sand rally driving for a while and then we hit some serious sand - 2kms of soft sinky stuff. All cars stuck even the 4x4. Get the Nissan sports car, 4x4 and Audi out at high speed. But van and Peugeot stuck fast. Not budging. The guide can’t move them so goes for help to see if he can find the other group at a village and some 4x4s to tow them. So, the rest of us now sat in the sand dunes and sun hoping he finds someone. Not great by any stretch. Have a cuppa and cross our fingers. Others are back now and no joy. They go again with guide for main road and town at end of park to bring help in the morning.
So the 7 of us are left spending the night somewhere in the dunes of the Sahara, bush camping without a guide. Not quite to plan. Hope he finds us again. A little jittery shall we say but amazing quiet and stars.
Day 15 - Stuck in the Sahara
Beautiful at first light. Others return but no 4X4. They got stuck last night only 10km away. Dig and push Peugeot. Great team effort to get another 200m, sweating, but sticks again. Getting late and need to go. Leave some gear with it, a very sad moment as we might not be able to come back for it. Get Rob and Steve in the Audi and rev ‘n’ fishtail our way out of the desert for 2 hours to the beach. Audi copes great. Bit throaty now though! Camp at beach and eat fish over a fire and wait for low tide to drive to the beach tomorrow.
How do Kolohe Andino and Carissa Moore prepare for the highest-performance in surfing?