Saturday, January 29, 2011
The beauty of nothing
Last week something else got ticked off my bucket list, a visit to The Empty Quarter, one of the largest sand deserts in the world bordering Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and my country of residence, the United Arab Emirates.
Over my 9 years in the UAE, I have spend quite some time taming dunes in 4x4's closer to Dubai, but this definitively steps it up a notch! Three hundred feet dunes, one after the other, covering an amazing 650.000 sq./km., more than the total area of Belgium, the Netherlands and France together.
The easiest way of getting to The Empty Quarter from Dubai, ( called Rub' al Khali in Arabic ), is a 3 to 4 hour drive to Liwa, a 100km wide East-West oasis close to the Saudi border.
We went out there with three 4x4 cars and camped 2 nights in the desert wilderness. Surprisingly we actually had quite a bit of rain during the night and early mornings. According to a local camel farmer, this occurs once every 5 to 10 years!
One of our fellow campers who is an experienced paraglider, brought his parachute on the trip. A 15 knot wind blowing over the dunes, made for good slope soaring conditions.
Just after landing in one of the many dry lake beds, this camel looked very surprised to this crazy creature coming from the sky!
We (my wife and myself) each got to do a brief paraglider solo flight and both got excited! We might take this a step further in the future...
While camping under a full moon, I shot this midnight shot of two of our tents.
On the way home we stopped at Moreeb dune, Arabic for scary mountain! It is a 120m high dune with a 50 degree upslope where locals race cars, dune buggies and motorbikes.
Even though I did not shoot as much as I had in mind, it was a great escape for a few days. Highly recommended!
Click that shutter,
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