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JULY, 2009

 The deserts deadly face

Hi everyone,
Sorry for not updating the website recently, we had a small problem with our new morrocan phone.  We are most definately alive and I will tell you about the eventful past few days.
When we left Agadir we had noticed on the map there was 2 routes we could take. One going down the main road and one going down roads marked on the map as unsurfaced both routes looked about a day and a halfs ride.  After talking to Dean in Agadir he recommended we didnt always stick to the main roads and ventured into the minor roads, just make sure we find out how good the roads are.  With this advice we decided to head down the first part of the minor roads, which where paved, to a town called Sidi Ifni.  When we arrived in Sidi Ifni We stocked up on Water and food and asked how good the road ahead was.  I was told the road was paved for a bit then it was dirt track and the gentlemen thought it would be impossible to cycle down.  I told Alan this and after not much thought we decided to give it ago, how hard could it be.  At the end of the day we came the end of the paved road and climbed a monsterous hill which finished us off for the day.  Day 2 we started on the dirt tracks and it was difficult but achievable.  We reached a dry river and decended into the valley but after crossing the river bed we realised the other side was no longer dirt track but was sand.  We both hoped this would be just the embankment but after lugging the bikes one at a time up the embankment we realised it was going to be a long day as all we could see was sand for miles and miles.  Trying to cycle a bike so heavy you can barely lift it off the ground, through deep sand is impossible and trying to push it is proberbly the most phyisically draining thing i have ever done.  None of our previous challenges have come even close.  To make it worse we where running low on water but we werent to bothered as we believed the town at the end to not be far away.  We pushed on for a few hours, i cant explain how hard this was pushing in temperatures nearing 40 and having to ration our water.  My mouth was dry my muscles tired and Alan was becoming very annoyed with the world.  I stopped through fatigue and waited for Alan to catch up, it was approaching the heat of the day, once he caught up we both sat there absolutely exhausted.  We filled our bottles with the last of the water in the water bags and realised we only had 1.5 ltres each left.  This was concerning as we had been told by a desert specialist to drink 1ltre every hour in these conditions.  This ment we maybe had 2 hours of water left but we thought the town couldnt be to far ahead so we decided to not stop for to long and carried on through the heat of the day.  Alan was getting unhappier and angryer by the minute and slowed to almost a stand still.  I was beinning to get nervous about our water levels as i was down to my last 0.5ltre and we had not seen a vehicle or anybody all day.  I decided to push on leaving Alan behind.  After another hour or so my body was extremely fatigued i could barely stand, my legs were wobbly and i had vertually no water left.  I was seriously considering leaving the bike and carrying on without it.  I was thinking we where in serious danger of running out of water.  I decided to keep faith as i could finally hear the sea and continued with the bike a little longer hoping there would be people by the coast.  My faith was thankfully paid off as I noticed in the distance some buildings.  I tried not to get my hopes up as we had already passed many buildings that turned out to be derilict but as i got closer i saw 2 boys walking towards me, i almost cried.  As they approached me i begged for water in my limited broken French, they told me they had water at their house and kindly took the bike from me.  I explained that my friend was still out there with little or no water they where shocked and concerned.  We looked out into the desert and could see for miles as the landscape was relatively flat but could not see Alan anywhere he must of fallen a long way behind.  We went to their home and i purified some water which i drank instantly, once my thirst was quenched i purified more water and we headed back out to find Alan.  Once we came out Alan was in view and the look on his face when i offered him the water really was a picture of relief.
That evening we stayed at the 2 lads (Larhlimi and Zakaria) home, it was more of shed but was a god send to us.  They cooked us a Tangine (a popular morrocan dish) for lunch and we went down to the beach for a relaxing swim.  When we got out of the water an older gentlemen came to us and we talked about where we were heading.  It turned out we were only half way to the town i thought was not far away El Ouatia.  The man offered us a lift in his 4x4 and after much disscusion we decided to pass on this lift and contiue on our way as long as they could spare us enough water for us to safely make the nearest town on the main road of Tan Tan.  This was an unbelieavbly hard decision to make as we knew how tough the next 2 or possibly 3 days where going to be but I just felt it would be something Id regret forever if I didnt try.  And why wouldnt we try if it was safe to.  That night we discussed the quality of the roads and was assured by everyone that the roads where rock not sand, this made us feel a lot better.  The next day we got up early Larhlimi made us breakfast and we started on our way instantly hitting sand, this really annoyed Alan and put him into a bad mood as he cursed the world.  The sand roads continued all day making this possibly the most physically draining day of my life.  We only covered 17miles but that felt 10x the 100mile days we have done in the past.  We gave up early as our bodies where to tired to continue and started early again the next day.  The sand roads continued for most of the morning but where beginning to clear slightly every now and then becoming rocky so we might be able to cycle a few hundred metres before having to jump off and push again.  This was very frustrating.  By our siesta break we had appeared to make it to mainly dirt track roads and after a cup of tea with a local we where told it was all dirt track from now on.  This was great to hear but we took it with a pinch of salt as we had heard this before and it turned out to be wrong again.  Not long after our break we came to the final river before the nearest town, this river was still a long way from the town.  We decended into the valley and found the river, it was about a foot deep, we splashed our sweaty heads with water to cool ourselves.  Then we crossed the river and contiued on our way, a sand storm had started by this point and we had to cover up our eyes, mouth and noses with shades and a bandage from our first aid kit.  After another hour or so we came across a group of buildings and thought we would call it a day and go in to say hello.  As we cycled over we noticed the buildings were deserted and could see something in the distance, so thought we would carry on a bit further.  After another 20 mins cycling a concrete road appeared as if from nowhere, we werent ment to see concrete until atleast midday tomorrow and the feeling of relief was again emense we had made it.  We cycled onto the town we could see and have decided to treat ourselves to a bed and a day off.  The past 4 days have been the hardest thing I have ever done on both a physical and mental level.  Im very proud of both of us and feel that this was a real achievement and something I will remember for my whole life.
Sorry again to anyone who was worried about our safety whilst we where not in contact with the website.  It turns out you where right to be worried but beileve me I never want to be in the situation of no water in the middle of the desert again.  It was not an expeirince i take lightly and we will be more cautious when travelling off road in the future.

posted by   July 31, 2009 4:48 PM  EyeOnAfrica  comments (8)



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