Wednesday, 7 November 2012
I hate goodbyes so this today was hard. Our fellow adventurers left at 1pm to catch their plane home :(
The group now feels very small, we lazed around the pool until 4.30pm when we set off to our camp which was under the biggest tree I have ever seen! Its a baobab tree which was so beautiful I was in awe of it! On the way to camp we stopped with some other teams (Edwin & Peter, Fitz and Stan, Erik & Francine, Sacha & Frits and Robin & Jari) at a hotel to eat, the owner was a French man who spent a long time in England and has lived in Senegal for 12 years. He arranged for his chef to make us a buffet of chicken, pork, fish, chips, rice, and crepes and fruit for dessert which was all really yummy!
At camp we were joined by 2 new teams (driving in 2 of the cars from participants who have gone home) an Israeli and a Flemish Team and a few of the organisation were replaced by new faces for part 2 of our adventure. We had a lovely big camp fire and a few drinks and I tired to adjust to how small the group feels. (there are now 10 cars for part 2)
The final drive......for some. Its our last day with the Dakar Challengers, the Vespa and Motor bikers
tomorrow a big part of the group go home :(
We drove off road and were told to reach Lac Rose by 1pm which we were able to do trouble free. Lac Rose is named so as it is a lake and the water from a certain angle looks red from the amount of shrimps in there. It's a beautiful setting for the end (for some)
We arrived first (after the organiser) Dad & I, Erik & Dave, Fitz and Stan the other teams were not far behind us and we each lined our cars up, as did the Vespa and Motor bike riders, and began to celebrate and congratulate one another on our successes, whether that be finishing their adventure or reaching half way! :)
The atmosphere was superb, everyone happy, some emotional, some tired, but all happy!
After a celebratory drink in the baking sun we all drove in convoy to the hotel which is a famous finishing point for adventurers. Its a really nice hotel with a nice restaurant and swimming pool, we ate pizza and relaxed until 10pm when there was a photo presentation, we gathered around and recalled how far we had come as the beautiful photos and music played before us
Here are some pictures of those special adventurers who will leave us tomorrow...
Happy Halloween! Needless to say there is nothing halloween orientated in Africa!
Its was really fun today, Gert (the organiser) only created our route last night and when we drove it we were often following the GPS and travelling where no other cars had been, there were no tracks and the grass in places was taller than the cars, I think we even drove through an allotment at one point! Fitz and Stan were on the ball though and stopped to pick up a melon, it was of a strange variety we later discovered when we ate it, it tasted more like cucumber!
Erik had a brake oil leak from the master cylinder about 70kms before camp and unfortunately the mechanics had not done as they should but had gone ahead and we needed a seal to fix the leak! Dad and I raced off in Laura to try and catch the mechanics, we reached a garage and found one of the mechanic teams but not the one who carries spare parts, he was so far ahead he was not able to be reached on the radios they carry, so Dad and I went back and decided to work with Erik and fix it the african way, a bolt and some PTFE tape and he was bodged enough to carry onto camp....It was Laura to the rescue :)
This camping place had wooden huts to sleep in with mosquito nets and a little private 'bathroom' under the stars, with a real toilet which flushed (with a bucket) and a warm shower. To shower under the stars was really nice.
This camp also had permanent residents, not crabs this time but desert frogs! They were really cute and well disguised in the sand.
The no food and drink was worth it as I'm feeling much better today! Wooo hoooooo
Today is a rest day so not much to report, we took a trip back into St Louis to see it in daylight, we had a lovely meal, Chicken & chips for me and Dad had a swordfish pasta dish. Mmmmmm....the first food after 24hours! It was soooooo yummy!
I moved my tent this evening, from under the trees to the waterside, more crabs hiding under out tent here (much bigger sand coloured crabs) but the view in the morning was really special and to watch the fishing boast pass by, I almost didn't want to leave, but there are some fun tracks waiting out there.....
Not much happened today in the way of driving after about 20kms off road and 60kms of African style tarmac we reached the border to Senegal!
More than 35 degrees and lots of waiting around for paperwork and passports to be signed and stamped for almost 100 people (incl bikers, vespa riders, 2cvers and organisation. We left the border at about 1pm and were pretty pleased with the 3 hour wait (often it takes much longer) While we waited we saw some interesting creatures in a small river too so it was a nice stop really.
Our camp is 'Zebra Bar' its a camping place with a bar and restaurant it was lovely, camping between the trees, a large lake flowing behind us, a tower (pretty old judging by how corroded the metal structure was!) looking out over the area, I was amazed when I looked out from there, it was breathtaking, as far as the eye could see was palm trees and sections water all around us. On a nice exploration mission I saw awesome purple and orange crabs which, when I stepped on the sane near them they ran away as fast as they could sideways and disappeared into there holes. There were also lots of nice fishing birds here and later we even got to spot some pelicans! We were told there are crocodiles in the water but didn’t witness this!
In the evening we went into the city of St Louis. Unfortunately I had been experiencing short cramps in my tummy for a couple of days, I discovered one of the participants, (Spanish team Daniel & Jose) Daniel, is a Doctor so after a short consultation which him and a translator (Marco – Vespa Rider) he gave me some tablets and very strict instructions not to eat or drink anything, only water for 24 hours! I was sooooo hungry and no matter how much I tried my bestest smile he insisted NO BEER :(
So the evening in St Louis was not as fun as it could have been but it was nice to go there and see it and I had a lot of support though this difficult time as someone 'fasted' with me (in a bar, no drinking = Rubbish) lol
But I was able to learn that St Louis is an island, the French used to fly the African post into a place here (La Poste) and there is one main connecting bridge designed by Mr Eiffel (Eiffel Tower designer) once I heard this you could see familiar features.
It was really different walking around here, in Marrakesh its crazy and everyone wants to sell you something but here we walked free, there were no other tourists in sight and we weaved the shops without being pestered.
This morning we made a short visit to the sea shore and saw the African fishing boats, I loved to see them, they are all painted bright colours and patterns and a lovely sight to see. We continued on through crazy busy Nouakchott (here it does not matter if nothing works on your car as long as you have a good horn!) We have a long track of tarmac then a little under 100km of off road to our next camp which we are told there will be something special there for us.
Once we reached the off road it was a fun day of driving, weaving to avoid big (well hidden) holes, I 2 cars bent arms on this track today it was pretty tough at times, the scenery was nice, we are beginning to see a bit more greenery now and we were even lucky enough to spot the wild boar which we were warned about. They are known to be aggressive and the advice we received was to stay inside the car if you see them so my photo is not great (also because the african dust has stopped the 'zoom' working on my camera) but its evidence! :)
There is a team who I have nicknames the 'Rasta Dudes' (their car is red yellow and green and the number plate lends itself well to the name – of course they are dudes also!) :)
We came across them (Robin & Jari) on the track helping the 2 cars with bent arms, we stopped also but when the Rasta dudes set off again after a couple of metres they discovered their gearbox was stuck in 3rd gear, we assisted until the mechanics arrived one of which (David) then drove the car (in 3rd gear) though the rest of the rough track, back to camp which was about 20-30kms!
Later in camp Dad, Erik and I took the gearbox apart there were parts which had come loose but no lasting damage so we wound up and secured everything back in is rightful place and they were back on the road again the following morning! That's team work!
The surprise of the evening was a huge pork shank thing with vegetables which was delicious
The Rasta Dudes have a website which they are recording their adventure on too, take a look: www.2cvtrail.com
After some fun off road tracks we hit the tarmac, everyone is low on fuel (2cv's and Vespa riders) and when we reached the petrol station (228k before camp) we discover they are out of fuel! A couple of people were feeling a little worried and everyone working out how much fuel they have in their tanks and jerry cans and trying to find out how far it is to the next station and whether they have fuel! After half and hour or so we and 3 other cars decided to take on the challenge and were determined to find a way! So we set off, the 2 cars with the least fuel (Erik and Edwin) slip streaming ourselves and Fitz and Stans car. We hear there is a petrol station in 120km and they have 200litres of petrol. One car ran out of fuel so Fitz shared a few litres of his and we continued. We celebrated our efforts when we reached the station (ignoring the strange looks from the locals) and we filled up (10litres) just what we needed to get to the next station so there was still some left for the equally adventurous teams behind. After the final stretch it was again a celebration when we arrived at the hotel first. It was a 'Mauritanian hotel' so no real luxury but the shower was appreciated and we found a nice pizza place to eat while enjoying the sight of a locals Acadiane which was in great condition. A lovely evening.