Thursday 12 October 2006

Oman: Tiwi camping and tyre misery

We left our ravenous puss and his adopted mother for our first camping trip of the season. The condition of the graded road to Tiwi is worsening due the new coastal road construction and was the cause of our first desert puncture. Fortunately we had just reached the end of the track and clunked onto level tarmac before uttering something along the lines of 'bother'. My body leaked water like a fountain in the roasting midday sun as I wrestled with tools and car parts designed by Japanese engineers that had obviously only read about such conditions in a book. Half an hour, a complete change of clothing and huge amounts of water later, we were back on our way. I'm still grappling with the pathetic sight of a girl from the local village who was holding out her hand for most of the time we were there.

Despite being rather soggy, we stopped at Bimah sink hole on the Tiwi road. Although it was somewhat smaller than I had imagined, the limestone hole is filled with a stunning mixture of salt and fresh water the colour of a child's paint box water. The mandatory photographs were taken before continuing to the beach.

We found a perfect location and began to pitch on the crusty area above the talcum powder white sand. Despite many years of tent erection, I realised my peg strategy was woefully inadequate on this occasion, requiring a little improvisation to penetrate the underlying rock. Base camp established, we freshened in the warm turquoise water.

Hundreds of crabs scuttled about the beach, emerging from holes with adjacent conical piles of spoil decorated with claw marks. I followed one chap on his way to the sea, confusing it by walking in circles until it relented and allowed a photograph.

Late afternoon turned to dusk, so the fire and barbeque were lit casting a satisfying orange glow over the camp. We ate, we listened to the sea and we stared at the stars. Ahhhh.

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