A Windy Desert

A Windy desert

Last Thursday, Giorgio & I screwed off work early and met at the ghaf tree because it was blowing an almighty gale . We racked up a good few kms in the dunes. I managed just over 87 kms in a short time.     Friday’s wind forecast looked even better & we met under the Ghaf tree at 7 a.m. (aren’t we keen?) and with Angelo joining us after a mad high speed drive to catch the wind while it was blowing. It was supposed to have petered out around 4 p.m. but it didn’t. It just kept on blowing.

A day like that wasn’t without incidents .     When I returned in the evening, Angelo was gone having had a line brake & had been suffering with a headache. In the wind, it is difficult to realize the effects of dehydration (was only 38 C out there), hence his headache. I too had a slight headache and even developed cramp in my right hand at one time but a couple of powders soon fixed that problem.     Obviously, we hadn’t been drinking enough water. I always know that because I pee dark yellow later on.

We stayed on the sabkah for a bit to build up enough confidence to tackle the dunes. The wind was blowing the sand off of the ridges so that when buggying close by the sand entered the mouth, ears, eyes ,nose, everywhere and we were wearing a full face helmets with good sealing ski goggles. The sand sounded like I was in the middle of a sandblasting machine as the grains rattled against my helmet.

I was very optimistic about my flying capabilities & also wanted to give my new 4m Blade V a whirl. That gave me some fast bumpy runs across the sabkahs but it was too much and I changed down to my smallest kite, a 3m Blade III. Giorgio was flying a 3.5 Blurr and then changed down to a 2.5m Sammy. Angelo changed his 3.0m Blade for his smallest, rarely used, old 1.8m Sky Tiger.

Hitting the dunes provided some hairy moments when the buggy was ripped towards places that weren’t good places to be. Poor Giorgio at one time got his lines in a very nasty tangle and spent 15 to 20 minutes untangling them.

We reached the Buggydrome and I had the impression that the wind had eased although we were still being battered with some gusts at times. I changed up to my 4m Elliot Tattoo, which is a kite for intermediate flyers. This is not so vicious as the Blade and didn’t try & rip my arms out of its sockets when launching. I removed the KK’s I had put on because the last time I had used it was for training a newbie. I find KK’s get in the way while buggying. As it turned out this was a mistake.

On the way back to the Ghaf tree, I was trying to get upwind in the dunes, which is never an easy task and got stuck on a ridge. I reversed the buggy just enough to wedge it in a sharp ‘V’ of sand. While I was contemplating on how I should turn the buggy to get out of this hole, a gust hit the Tattoo & I was ripped so fast out of the buggy that I didn’t know what happened until I smacked into the deck about 40 feet away. Not in a good state of mind to think about pulling my QR, another gust hit & the powered up the kite. dragging me 15 feet across the floor before the kite crumpled behind a dune. The KK’s would have paid for themselves in that OBE.

As I lay winded on the floor, all I could hear was the pounding wind & Brig (the Mrs) asking me if I was alright. Bit of a stupid question I thought as I lay there somewhat hurt and wondering if I’d broken anything. Then Brig asks me if I’ve broken anything. The third finger on my right hand looked a funny shape as I lay there, so I straightened that up. There is a gap between my two middle fingers now when I try & hold them together. The finger pain wore off and left leg hurt but I’m only left with a bruise there now. After getting my breath back I sat up pleased that my body armour had done its job. The left hand elbow pad had pulled down when I impacted the floor and left me with a friction burn close to my elbow. As nothing was broken, I jumped into my buggy and rode back to the Ghaf tree.

At the end of the day I’d clocked up 149 kms with a top speed of 66.5 kph. I think Giorgio came close to that as well.

You know the saying, ‘It never rains but it pours’, well we have had very poor winds this year but our last weekend it poured.

Attached are a few pics from last Friday. If you are wondering about the technicolour , it’s because I tried filtering out the fine dust using Photoshop that sits like fog in the air.