On Jen’s last night in Abu Dhabi, she enticed us to draw our next bucket challenge. I pulled from the bucket and it ended up being one of my personal picks – desert camping. With 2 weekends to spare in between visitors, we went for it. Although we have some outdoor gear we had to borrow a tent, table, and an air mattress from our friends and I bought a small charcoal BBQ for our desert adventure.
I picked Bec up from work on Thursday, April 7th and we set off to the desert. We chose to camp in an area that we are familiar with near the town of Sweihan. We found a firm, flat spot near a big dune and set up camp. The sun was disappearing fast so we worked quickly to get settled. The wind was blowing a little but it calmed down after sunset. We started a fire, made some dinner on the barbeque and played some crib. It was so quiet and peaceful as we sat round the fire and gazed at the stars. We hit the hay around 10:30 and despite it being slightly warm, we both fell right asleep.
We both woke around 12:30 am to our tent flapping in the strong wind which was spraying the fine sand through the tent. We tried switching sides, covering our faces, but at about 3:30 am Bec gave in and went to sleep in the Jeep as she was afraid the tent was going to blow away. I of course remained to stubbornly wait out the storm. I heard the Jeep door open around 6:30 am so I knew Bec was up. I also got up and started to deflate the air mattresses and get the tent packed up after very little sleep the night before. At the same time, the wind really started to pick up again and we were in another desert storm. I tried to pack up the tent as quickly as possible but not soon enough! Both tent poles snapped and we just threw everything in the back of the jeep to get out of there.
It was still early morning but we made our way to the nearby gas station where we would be meeting the Oryx 4×4 group to join a desert drive that morning. We had to significantly reorganize the jeep after our quick departure. We thought joining a drive would be a good idea at the time but after limited sleep we were not so sure. It was our first drive with Marshal Ian and he took us on a very beautiful scenic route (and the wind had somewhat died down). It was a nice leisurely drive until I followed Peter too closely into a bowl and he didn’t quite make it up the other side. This left both of us in a tight situation. I could not go forward or backwards so someone winched me out from the rear. We continued on the drive but were exhausted by the time we made it back to Abu Dhabi. At least we had a restful night’s sleep that night.