Rub’ al Khali, Saudi Arabia

Back in the deserts of Saudi Arabia.
This time a new desert. Rub’ al Khali, the empty quarter. Did a short research before I started my travel here. The largest contiguous sand desert in the world, and I ended up in the middle of it. Shaybah oil field.

Started the trip June 9th 2017. 6:00 AM, on a Saudi Aramco 737 flight from Dammam to Shaybah Aramco airport.

First moment I stepped out of the plane and turned around to see what’s around me, my jaw dropped. The biggest red sand dunes I have ever seen. And I’ve seen quite a lot of them. Would take photos but the security guard was not so happy about that idea.

I was not so happy to see a crew minibus waiting for me as I knew it will be a long drive to location.

Let me try to set the mood for you. Driving four hours going over these huge sand dunes on a dusty desert road, up and down, the driver is an Arab Muslim, it’s the month of Ramadan so he is not eating or drinking water during daylight hours, and it’s 45 degrees Celsius outside. Must I say he was tired and I thought we were going to end up driving of a “cliff/sand dune” into a big problem.

I refuse to drink water also, not to offend his customs. The amazing view through the window keeps my mind amused.

When you zoom in to  exact location on Google maps, you get this:

With every picture I take I get the familiar feeling that you can’t capture the emotion and the actual scenery with a camera.

On June 11 worked for almost 24 hours without stopping to get the site up and running. It was a hellish day I will not forget so soon. Thank you Allen Bradley and your 1756-DNB device net module.

Following day after dinner, night before I get of the rig, I look at the 150 meter dune next to the rig and think: “It’s now or never Dom. If you don’t do it now, you don’t get a second chance any time soon.”

I start the climb with outside temperature at above 40 degrees Celsius, in my coveralls and steel toe boots. It took me about 30 minutes to climb to the top, and about half way up there I regretted not taking any water.

At one point I looked to the top and thought, “F… it, I’m not going to make it, must turn back.” Then I changed my mind and started climbing again to find out I’m two meters from the top. That would be funny and sad if I had given up so close.

Must I say that the view from the top of that dune was spectacular.

I’m putting up a few photos to mark the occasion.

This post was written in June 2017, but published in August 2018, when I felt it was time to start writing and posting my memoirs again. Alzheimer has nothing on me.

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