First Camping Adventure.
Trip Start Jan 31, 2009
23Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Thankfully, with two days to spare our container arrived and a mad delve into the 180+ boxes was required to retrieve our camping gear. Having never been camping here before we adopted the belt and braces approach and decided to take EVERYTHING. By the afternoon prior to the planned departure we had a pile higher than the car stacked ready for packing. No problem, I'll just pop the roof bars on and most of it can be strapped on top leaving the boot to hold some extra jumpers (?!) and a spare cooler of beer
Wrong. The roof bars didn't fit the new car. Several panic filled hours later, another 100km on the car and 20 rials in the pocket of a very resourceful Indian mechanic and I arrived home with my new roof bars. Which still didn't fit.
After an agonising hour of whittling down our kit and careful packing we at last set off, minus a camp table, some buckets and spades, extra blankets (what were we thinking?!) and, most importantly, the spare case of beer.
We arrived at the Gregory's in Azaiba in time to see Al loading the last of what appeared to be a dozen, extra large, coolers. If only we had the roof box..........
A final detour to the Sultan Centre to meet the others and after introductions we set off in convoy towards Tiwi. The drive is stunning, through narrow wadis into wide valleys, almost imperceptibly climbing to the plateau then the sudden winding drop-off down to Qurayyat and the coast. The sections of new road no doubt take away from the sense of adventure somewhat (and confuse the heck out of the satnav) but it does make the trip quicker
A last few kilometers along the coast and finally we turn off the highway and onto the dirt. The tracks are well worn and we're not exactly forging a trail through undiscovered wilderness but it does get us away from the nearest civilisation and right down to the beach.
The setting is stunning. Behind us a couple of kms of flat, open desert backed by Al Hajar Ash Sharqi rising up to early 6000'. In front of us is the low rise of the sand dunes where we set up our shades or "establish the admin area" as Mitch would put it. Half an hour later and we're feet-up with the first cold beer of the weekend. I was all for cracking the first tinny on arrival, but the cautionary tale of a previous camping trip was warning enough.
Legend has it that one happy camper hit the cooler on arrival and didn't stop. Several hours later, an irate wife tried to go to bed only to find the tent half assembled, the air beds un-inflated and her drunken husband face down under the sagging canvas, naked from the waist down. Apparently they haven't been back since.
And there we were
Finally it was time to get the BBQ going. We all had different techniques, with varying degrees of success. Gaz goes for a liberal spray of lighter fluid and is cooking in 20 minutes. Al breaks out his secret weapon, the huge match-cum-firelighter and builds an impressive looking pyre. It takes a bit longer but with the satisfaction of not resorting to the 'cheats' way. I'm not sure what Mitch actually did, but when he started it was broad daylight. By the time he was producing anything edible he was cooking by torchlight and poor Rachel was well on the road to ruin with a couple of Pimms under her belt and no solids.
I used a little of each technique
Several beers later we gathered around the camp fire on the beach. Suzanne had vast supplies of marshmallows and cookies which we toasted on sticks and made marshmallow sandwiches to the delight of everyone. The moon was full and amazingly bright so there was no brilliant starry night but the cool light over the ocean and desert was awesome.
The following morning brought more of the same. A leisurely breakfast (boiled eggs were nice but no match for the aromas coming from the bacon in Al's pan) was followed by a refreshing swim in the Indian Ocean. Is it really early March? Mitch had the older kids doing drill on the beach while the younger (and probably smarter) ones convinced Al to drag them around the ocean in the inflatable dinghy
Unfortunately, by 3pm we had to start packing up to head home. Just bad luck that the one day I had to work that week was the next day. Still, it was probably for the best as our cold beer had run out and we were down to the bottom of our food cool box. We set off home about 4pm, waving goodbye to the others as they went about their preparations for another BBQ and blissful night around the camp fire.
It was a fantastic introduction to camping on Oman. Unfortunately as we head towards April the rising temperature means the beach camping season is not with us for long. Hopefully we'll get at least one more weekend in before we're restricted to day tips and weekends in the mountains. Priorities now are to get the roof bars sorted and get hold of another couple of cool boxes!
For those of you on who want to look it up, we were at (roughly!): 22°57'12.10"N, 59°11'56.93"E