February 6th

Ship of the Desert
Tomlinson Clan
Sun 8 Feb 2009 09:38

23:21.7s 14:31.4e


We set off bright and early on the start of our new day.  We ventured on through another deserted village and then a very strange sight appeared in the distance.  The ‘Edward Boland’ stood in our gaze like a soldier of yester year, determined not to fall, but bearing out the weather of time.  Her  long time friend was a brown hyena who had made her home here, and they existed quietly together for  many a happy year.  We found the brown hyena in the shade and shelter of her stern, lying as still as could be, recently giving up to this barren land.


On we went, eventually arriving at the beach leaving the ship of the desert behind us.  Many jackals were roaming the sands, alert and on the prowl for seals. This section of beach is only visible at low tide and even now we had to dodge the waves breaking in our wake so as not to get stuck in the wet sand.


The dune driving recommenced and how those dunes flowed!  Our team, Doug, the chief navigator, Kenneth, the co-pilot and junior navigator and myself were really working well together and having an abundance of fun, exhilaration and adrenalin rushes!  We were just about to embark on what was to become THE most exciting part of our drive. Ken pipped us at the post at being the first volunteer, although I suppose big brothers can still pull rank even at our age!!! We set off on a relatively smooth climb consistently bending to the right as if driving along an arc.  We were now opposite our fellow trekkers.  We then had to do a sling shot loop as a build up to gathering speed.......H4 first gear.......second gear.........then quick change into third  and we were off, foot flat on the ground squeezing every drop of speed from our stallion, we descended the hill and as we saw the bottom of the hill looming before us we were at maximum speed.  Suddenly as the car was shaking with excitement, it jolted as we started our ascent and up we went, still on full throttle.  There was absolutely no way we were not making this dune.  Our wonderful 4x4 had become our very own roller coaster and we were having the drive of our life! 


We set up camp in a dune basin and the dune boards immediately came out.  As I was having my first go, a rainbow appeared in the sky and spots of rain started to fall. As I stood up and reached down for my board, a single Namibian rand was lying in the sand.  ‘Pennies from heaven’ immediately sprang to mind and I felt like I’d found my very own pot of gold! Aubrey and Jacques, (‘The Boys’, as we called them), Caspar, Doug and Kenneth went up a large dune and were having a whale of a time. I joined them but didn’t seem to be gaining much speed so switched to  Aubrey’s board and my word, I knew I was boarding then....it was excellent fun!


The camp fire was soon lit and as always, we gathered around, but this was for the very last time.  Each car presented a party piece......we did our ‘Oola Doola Doff’ story! The atmosphere was happy but slightly subdued by a quiet sadness.  We had all been through the desert together, living like nomads and the experiences and emotions we all shared are incomparable to any other adventures.