01-Mar-2005 -- During the course of the 2005 Libya Desert Challenge a group of us were making our way back to Ġadāmis. The full story can be read on my homepage. In the group were Katharina, Wolfgang, Geli, Dietmar, Pam, John, Alison and I.
Alison and I had gone to Libya with the intention of visiting a Confluence, but in the excitement of the rally had forgotten all about it. On this day (1 March 05 - our daughter's birthday), my wife reminded me of our plans and we searched for a suitable Confluence on the map. This one was shown as being only about 10 kilometres from the road that we would be travelling, so we decided to try and visit it.
As we neared the Confluence we were driving through a sand storm that reduced visibility almost to the end of the bonnet and was slowly sandblasting the paint off some of the vehicles. At this point we decided that any attempt to find a Confluence in the middle of the desert would be bordering on suicidal. It didn't look like we would achieve our aim. :-(
It turned out that the map was wrong and the Confluence was only 200 meters from the road. Parking as near as possible on the surfaced road, I took my GPS receiver and set off into the sand storm. Despite the short distance, I was out of sight of the road and surrounded by flying sand before I reached the Confluence.
At the Confluence there is a cairn with an empty champagne bottle (a bit naughty in this land where alcohol is very illegal). There is also the word 'confluence' written in stones. Other than that the view was sand storm in every direction.
I was choking on sand and couldn't motivate myself to get the third digit behind the decimal point to read zero as well. I took the necessary pictures and then used the receiver to find the Land Rover, which I fell into feeling like I had run a marathon.
Addendum: Picture 8 (by courtesy of MODIS Rapid Response System at NASA/GSFC) is a satellite photo taken on the same day that we visited the Confluence and shows the storm that we were in. The Confluence 30N 14E is located a little to the right of the picture's centre. Note the dust cloud blown out over the Mediterranean as far as Sicily. The picture was taken about 1 hour before we visited the Confluence and was therefore at the height of the storm. Our photo of the 4 vehicles was taken at about the same time.