22-Jan-2009 -- The colour map of Confluence Arabica is a sea of red, and only few specks of black are visible… and these specks are getting much tougher to get to because of their remote locations. Our challenge was to visit a set of four Confluences, 29N 39E, 31N 40E, 31N 39E and 32N 40E, still available in the northwest corner of Saudi Arabia during our normal weekend break. It had taken us months of planning to materialize this challenge in a single weekend.
We arrived in Tabūk on a flight from al-Dammām on a cold Wednesday night, and then hurried to release our vehicles from the al-Bassāmiyy transport, who we use to ship our vehicles across the country. They are pretty efficient. By the time we were on road, it was nearly 10:30 p.m. We drove northeast for about 250 km before we turned into the desert. It was nearly 1:30 a.m. when we finally stopped. It was a very cold night.
We were up before sunrise and soon we were on our way, skirting the terrain near the beginning of the range of the sand dunes, which make up the Great Nafūd. The terrain we were driving also consisted of various small rocky hills, and one of them revealed beautiful ancient petroglyphs. We also came across a dried up pond. We then found a suitable crossing point into the sand dunes, and drove without any problems over the rolling sand dunes to the confluence point.
The confluence point lies in the middle of a series of small sand dunes, with no vegetation or any other landmarks around. After a brief rest, we headed back a different route, and hit a newly constructed blacktop road which reduced our exit time considerably. After a brief lunch stop, we headed north east for our next challenge at 31N 40E.