06-Mar-2005 -- The confluence 21N 53E was the third confluence visited as part of a 7-day trip into the Eastern Saudi Arabian Empty Quarter, or "al-Rub` al-Khāliy" desert. The trip consisted of 3 cars driven by Frieder Dornseifer, Frank Oberlaender and myself. Each driver had taken a week's vacation in order to participate on the trip. The idea was to visit the unclaimed 22N 52E, 22N 53E, 21N 53E and 21N 52E confluences and visit the Ḥibak dune line (believed to be one of the highest in the world). We had agreed to take turns to drive to each Confluence and each driver lead the distance from one Confluence to the next.
We had camped on "Frieder's" confluence 22N 53E the previous night, so the trip to 21N 53E began after breakfast and breaking camp around 8:30 a.m. I lead due south but made a slight easterly detour to visit an Aramco water well (SUHL-801). The water at the well is high in sulphur content and can be smelt when in close proximity. It is also very hot - around 50° Celsius.
After visiting the well, we continued south on terrain that consisted of many slip faces going down to flat basins whose solidity was uncertain due to the recent rains. I therefore chose to drive on the edge of the sand dune as much as possible and avoid travelling directly across the basin. To the photographic delight of my colleagues I managed to come across a rare sight in the Empty Quarter - a large pool of rainwater - and promptly got stuck. Frank kindly winched me out while Frieder anchored him (after taking appropriate photographs, of course).
After stopping for a well-earned lunch, we continued to the 21N 53E confluence arriving about 4 p.m. where we explored the site, taking the usual photos and then snacked on Frieder's refrigerated chocolates. It was agreed on that we should not camp on the Confluence but continue in the direction of Ḥibak until sunset. I continued to lead in the general direction of Ḥibak until we camped behind cover of a large sand dune around 5:15 p.m.
Continued at 21N 52E.