So after over 6 years here in Qatar, I have finally made it to the Inland Sea. Not having an all terrain vehicle has meant I could never make the trip myself, and I never got around to going on one of the paid tours of the area.
A friend in church (Kevin) goes there every weekend after the service. He has been inviting me for quite some time to join him, but to date I haven’t taken him up on the offer. However last Friday I decided I would go along for the ride. I figured it would be a good opportunity to release some of the stress I am under at the moment.
Two other members of the church, a lovely couple called Edna and Bob also decided to come along for the trip. And as soon as we had finished some light snacks in the church canteen we headed out. To our complete surprise, and in complete contrast to when we entered the church, when we exited we were met with a thunderstorm. Now that was a surprise indeed. We asked Kevin if the trip was still on, and he said indeed it was, but because of the lightning we would have to be careful where we park when we got to the Inland Sea.
It was quite a road trip down to the edge of the desert. The wind was blowing a gale, there was a sandstorm and occasionally very heavy rain. There was loud thunder and lightning kicking off all over the place.
Once at Mesaieed we pulled into a Woqod petrol station for Kevin to let air out of his tires and for all of us to take a bathroom break and grab a coffee. Only there was no coffee as the coffee machine was broken doh! It also gave my travelling companions the opportunity to pop into the bathrooms and change out of their church clothes. Something I didn’t have to do because I am one of those people that doesn’t dress up for church, and I was already in my shorts.
Then down to Sealine where the road ends and off into the desert we go. And that’s when the rain stopped 🙂
We drove a lot of the way on the salt flats, that were quicker but not very exciting. However I managed to snap a few images of some nice sand dunes along the way.
Then we arrived at what Kevin described as the Inland Sea Inlet. Kevin also mentioned that it has been known for unscrupulous tour operators to tell their clients that this is the Inland Sea and that’s as far as they go. When in fact it’s just where the Inland Sea begins.
With the sun starting to go down, this was very pleasant. And we could see 4×4’s driving around the dunes in the distance next to the inlet. The bad weather on the way down was now nowhere to be seen.
Then off we went again heading further south towards the Inland Sea. Along the way we came across a ‘Dune Bashing’ casualty. Dune Bashing is one of the favourite weekend pastimes here in Qatar, and many 4×4 owners head into the desert to bash the desert. Climbing, rounding and descending dunes for thrills. But sometimes they get it wrong and end up wrecking their car.
We came across these guys shortly after getting a decent wrong. Kevin explained that this particular dune is actually named ‘The Stopper’. Sometimes weather changes the base of the dune into a shape that if you come down too fast will quite literally stop you in your tracks. And that is exactly what had just happened to these poor chaps.
We drove up to them and enquired if they were ok, and if they needed any help. They did not, and in fact were calling in for assistance from their friends at that very moment. Then we were a little bit un-feeling by taking photographs of their miserable situation. Which I’m sure must of been a little irritating for them.
They had blown out both of their front tiers and sustained some front end damage, but fortunately no one was hurt. However in the past this very dune ‘The Stopper’ had cost lives when people got it wrong. And we could see car parts strewn around from previous mishaps.
Then off we went again. Along the way, there was numerous vehicles passing in either direction.
We could see in the distance the inlet to the Inland Sea once more. The sun was starting do sink quite quickly now.
We paused near the inlet to take in the view, and I grabbed a group shot with Saudi just visible in the background.
Then we dropped back down to the salt flats to continue down to the Inland Sea.
There was a brief stop on the flats while I snapped a couple more shots of the inlet.
I discovered it’s not that safe to leave the vehicle to take snaps of bushes growing out of the side of sand dunes when a cavalcade of 4×4’s came charging around the corner while taking this one. On this occasion we were in no danger as they spotted us early. But it brought home to me the fact that without warning a dune bashing 4×4 could suddenly appear over or arround a dune and flatten me.
Then off we went for the final drive to the Inland Sea. Speeding along through the desert with the sun reflecting off the Inland Sea in the distance. My camera hanging out of the window shooting the spectacular scene.
And finally we arrive. Just as the sun is about to disappear.
Wow what a sight! Absolutely beautiful. Cars parked around the coast, people swimming, picnicking and just unwinding in the wonderful place. We headed to the top of a dune and setup base camp there.
Then settled back to watch the watch the sun finally say good night with some nice snacks and drinks.
Once the sun was gone, the noise of engines in the distance began to reduce and finally for the most part stop. The stars came out, and we just sat and told stories and enjoyed each others excellent company in almost complete darkness and silence. What a fabulous excursion.
Thank you Kevin for driving us, and thank you Bob and Edna for being such fabulous companions on this wonderful trip.