Monday, June 16, 2008

Trek Through Africa: MAURITANIA (Day 36-40)

Day 36 : Monday 28th December - Mauritanian Boarder to Nouadhibou

It was a relief when we were given permission to carry on without an escort as we had gone through all the mines. I was the last one on the truck as we left the camp after throwing four live rounds that I had found into the embers of last nights fire. I listened for them going off but did not hear anything. Drove down a strip of land to the town of Nouadhibou. This is a police state and we have to check in with them when we arrive in each town, the police said that we also have to check in with customs at the docks. What a bleeding waste of time. Kenny, Marion, Mark and Niels wanted to leave the truck for a few days and go trekking, meeting us a few days later. We dropped them off at the train station then we went a walk round the market. A real dump of a town, found a café and ordered a meal, it all came wrong but we were all starving and eat it anyway. I went shopping on my own, a real hassle, soon ran out of money, this currency isn?t even decimal ! Managed to buy some fish at the docks for tea. Camped out of town on a beach, some went swimming but I thought it was a bit too cold. Made a good meal at night for once.

Day 37 : Tuesday 29th December - Nouadhibou to Desert

Up early and followed the train line for 70km. We stopped by the track as the largest train in the world passed, it had 4 engines and 178 carriages of iron ore. The desert can change from hard rocks to soft sand very quickly and we broke a spring which we managed to change. Found a camel train round a well with a tap. Stopped for lunch of coleslaw and veg which everyone liked. I had a full wash using the water from the tap, feel a lot cleaner now. Came across an English Landrover that had been lost in the desert for three days trying to get to Nouakchott, they could not follow us because they were almost out of petrol so we directed them back north. A sand storm came over in the evening and it was impossible to cook without getting sand in the food. We had to eat it in the truck before crashing out at 10:00 without doing the washing up.

Day 38 : Wednesday 30th December - Sahara Desert

Made bread, jam and eggs for breakfast. Ready for 8 but had to wait while Esther and Rekki finished cooking the lunch on the fire for ? hour. Lost my watch while sandmatting. Had to keep using the mats throughout the day, tired but feeling very well. The lunch had gone off so we did not have anything to eat. Sandstorms blowing for most of the day getting everywhere making it quite uncomfortable. The truck is blowing oil and does not sound too good. Wind died down at night making camp on a plain quite pleasant, found some desert wood for the fire. Evening meal was a lot better than lunch, sorted my locker out and emptied it of sand then wrote this diary for the last few days.

Day 39 : Thursday 31st December - Sahara Desert

Drove east towards the coast as the truck is sounding very rough, it might be easier on the beach. Saw a school of 30 dolphins in the morning. I nearly fell off the truck while riding on the springs. The tide came in very quickly and we had to park the truck up near a sand dune for the rest of the day. Went a walk with Charlie down the beach, met a fisherman who sold me a couple of big fish. I gutted it in the afternoon while everyone else went swimming. The Chef I made the meal at night to see in the new year, cooked the fish in tinfoil with seafood dressing, about the best meal so far apart from Christmas day. Sober as a judge waiting for Big Ben on the BBC world service, stayed up with Mike, Claire, Andy, Kristin and Julia till 1:00 in the morning.

Day 40 : Friday 1st Jan 1993 - Mauritanian Coast

Got up late and miss-timed the tides, it came in again after only a few km so we waited for it to go back down, it didn?t go back down till well after dark so we decide to do a night drive. Not the best idea in the world. Got stuck in wet sand and were soon in serious trouble with the tide rising. After a frantic effort by everyone, we eventually got it a few yards up the beach right to the edge of a sand dune. Packed the tents away ready to move off should the tide go back down.

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