I arrived at the deflation point at 05:30, on a misty morning, with lots of anticipation. This was my first trip that I had to plan and will lead from start to (semi) finish, and I was quite tentative on what Faqa would dish up today. Thankfully I had the extremely capable @Emmanuel to mentor me on this trip, and a short convoy of very capable Intermediates. We deflated as night turned into day and headed off just after 06:00. Pretty soon we were in moderately technical dunes and we were challenged to use finesse rather than power to make headways. @Mehmet Volga had his first taste of rope recovery, when I (deliberately of course :-)) crested - and he did extremely well, with a very controlled soft tuck to get things going again.
We progressed through a very diverse mix of terrains, including semi-highways in dune streets, sharp-crested moderate dunes, long-ranged dunes, and areas of beautiful trees and vegetation. Given the mad congestion at some of the usual off-road hotspots in Dubai, it is always a pleasure to drive in these quite areas where the only other living things seems to be gazelle. We tried to include a few ridges and criss-crossings, and everybody did extremely well. Apart from a few minor refusals, we covered about 47 km to the track to Solar Park, where @Emmanuel took the lead to give us a short taste of Little Sweihan.
Unfortunately, by this time the sun was quite bright and the extra-soft sands of LS dished up some unpalatable dessert, mixed with quite a dose of desert sand, with a LOT of shoveling and pushing! At least this provided all of us with invaluable recovery learning, as @Emmanuel showed us multiple ways to attempt self-recovery. Ultimately the use of 2 x kinetic ropes solved a tricky problem - as the convoy of @Ale Vallecchi and @Tbone passed us quietly without even a wave :-(. We exited after a very enjoyable drive (for me at least). All in all 64 km, with the desert mainly to ourselves - what a way to spend a Friday morning!
Thanks to @Anish S (on only his second Intermediary drive - you did well!); @Nivin (growing exponentially in confidence in his X!); @Pancho (your dedication to this sport is unparalleled, and you showed some finesse today with your Jeep); and @Mehmet Volga (great job as sweep and supporting the recoveries) - well done do all of you! And thanks @Emmanuel for your advise and support - the worst thing about this sport, is that the more experience you get, the more you realise how little you know! Great to have your experience on hand. Hope to see all of you in the sand soon!