What started as a desert driving training, ended up with offering enough training opportunity to even most experienced folks in the group. Something new I have learned after very long time. Thanks to local boys to show something brilliant that I and Rahim bhai got really impressed with. And many thanks to Basil for creating such an opportunity window for everyone to learn something new and unique.
We started the drive on time and initiated with 2 theory lessons at deflation point on Engine overheating and Wild life. After an hour of driving, we went to practice the art of side sloping on long dunes range. Many perfected their skills and other learned that art for first time with Rahim bhai supervision. After few attempts by everyone, we head to more cleaner area for doing the recovery training with safety. Got one of the car stuck purposely to explain the safety items and techniques involved with doing the tow rope recovery. Explained the reasoning and best practices involved for safer tow rope recovery.
As the sun started to set, we head out for the lesson of self recovery and explain the key things involved to rescue yourself in almost 80-90% of stuck by simple self recovery techniques. Unfortunately that stuck was in deep soft sand and at a very bad angle, so we got to tow the car in the end. Then we head out for the unplanned tire pop-out repair that added the actual practical in the training session. By this time, it was pitch dark just below the fossil rock so we started with night drive theory and explanation for breaking the night drive fear and myths. After 10-15 minutes everyone was ready to shoot up the fossil rock area in the night.
As we reached up, none of them realize the height until they stepped out of the car and walk across the ridge. Then the challenge was to face the steep decent with rock and sand in pitch dark. With an excellent guidance from Rahim bhai, everyone reached down safely in no time. Now we head to the bbq spot on right side, just behind the Faya area and kept on looking for a cleaner place without any bushes but failed. Then we thought of heading to Camel rock area and setting up the bbq session there. While on the way to Camel rock, we encountered couple of steep dunes with soft sand and realize to back out to simpler route but it was bit late as few cars were stuck here and there. All were recovered with ease except one, which was stuck in dune pocket filled with soft sand from back side and hitting front to the dune, nose fully dug inside the dune.
We wasted about two hours recovering from the front and broke two tow ropes in attempt with 3 different cars and two different angles. By now we realized that front recovery isn't possible as moving the tip of dune isn't practical and we need to change our strategy. We thought of going down the pocket and realized it is too soft sand to tow out the stuck vehicle from back and we might risk two vehicles stuck next to each other in soft sand pocket. I and Rahim bhai went down one by one and realize that it isn't very practical to have so much long run in uphill in soft sand. As we lost all our hopes and running out of idea, we came across three local boys in Suzuki samurai who offered to help us with their brilliant and genius idea. They went down in the soft sand pocket with one of our car and created a short path by flattening the sand by 5-10 attempts, once short path of 10-20 meters was created, they used the short tow rope and gave gentle tugs to the stuck vehicle from back and moved the car out from sticky spot.
After seeing this idea of using short (1/4) tow rope that can be immensely useful in such tight spot, we all learned something very new and impressive. Total respect to such great thinking and careful execution and precise coordination.
By now we were about 5-6 hours delayed for our bbq session, and still everyone was very excited to start the bbq night and we laid out the spread in nice and open area filled with cool breeze in the middle of May. Many thanks to Saleem and his friends for bringing heaps of bbq ready meat and chicken and continuously cooking for whole night. And Asif bhai homemade cake made the yummiest dessert in the desert. The bbq session that supposed to be for couple of hours lasted for 6-7 hours and we all kept talking and sharing stories until morning 5:00 AM (I think).
Overall it was very nice training and challenging day out to demonstrate that moment we sign up for desert drive anything can happen and we all need to keep ourselves calm and composed to face the reality. It was brilliant teamwork effort demonstrated by everyone and very patiently handled situation. All in all it was great training and learning for everyone.
Here are the pictures from my camera, looking forward to see others click