26-Jul-2002 -- What better way to spend a summer Friday than trying to get to 23N 55E, located 165 km SE of Abu Dhabi as the crow flies? This trip was supposed to be in order to work out the best way of approaching the Confluence, which is located in the SE corner of the UAE.
The first track we took got us to within 65 km, but that 65 km was going to be over some of the biggest dunes in the world, and with only the two of us in two vehicles we decided against the frontal assault. We headed back north and took a new tarred road east to the town of al-Quwa`, located on the border of the UAE and Oman at approximately 23°30’N 55°20’E. From here we headed SW along the border, again on a nice new metaled road.
We reached the appropriate latitude about 15 km to the east of the Confluence, and were pleased to see a flat intra-dune area stretching off to the west. We decided to go for it and set off. We encountered only two small sets of dunes as we headed west, and didn't even need to drop the tyre pressures to get through. We managed to drive to within 400 m of the Confluence and walked the last bit. The shade temperature was now at 45° C, so this last part was a bit unpleasant.
The photos of the four directions are a mixture taken from the Confluence itself, which was in a bowl in the dunes, and a point slightly lower down the slope, but with a better view. Picture #2 looks across the dry sabkha (intra-dune) to the big dunes about 2 km away, rising to over 1400 ft (400m). We headed back to Abu Dhabi, getting back home after about 10 hours on the road.