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Starfish Dunes, Al Wagan UAE

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Starfish Dunes, Al Wagan UAE

Postby vanhack » 31 Jan 2016 12:33

So joined an overnight trip with my club this weekend. Area is knicknamed Starfish dunes, due to the shape of the dune.

Instead of re-writing the report that has already been written on my club's site, I thought I will just paste the words here, the text is from Sujit Joh, who organised the trip, and lead both days in his LWB Y61 Patrol, and I was sweeping the convoy. At the bottom of the text is portion of the drive video recorded with my phone mounted on the windscreen, works quite well.

5 of us met at the Al Wagan Adnoc sharp at 9 am. Given the 300km drive from Dubai, everybody was on the dot punctual. This particular Adnoc is very well stocked (fire wood, charcoal, ice et al). I took a few truck roads and in-roads and saw some very different sights – a small lake, a humongous palace and a few small townships. After filling up we headed to the deflation point just behind the Al Wagan race track.

The weather forecast was spot on – a very cool 20C through the day; the flip side was – winds! It was so windy..the dials in my car audio system are all grinding now! The convoy was, myself leading, followed by Hanspeter, Umesh, Ram and swept by Sid.

Apart from a few simple crestings, the only other incident was a pop out by Hanspeter.

Else, it’s a very easy description of the drive – bowls, after bowls, after bowls, after bowls…and every one of those large, wide and deep. Was difficult to ‘let go’ of many of them, but since we did have ground to cover, we skipped through many. One had to be very cautious to pick the right lines and make sure the ones that you did get into, there was a possible way out. We almost got caught in one, where by the time I figured out that it was a tricky one, 3 of us were already in it. It took quite a few attempts for me before I realised my tyre pressure was upto almost 17psi. Umesh found a way out..by running straight up the dune and flipping over to the right. Thanks Umesh for that. And this is where Hanspeter got caught out. While popping it back on, we had our lunch break.. didn’t even need awnings, weather was still pleasant (and windy). Ram had brought chai in a big flask; so our breaks were all ‘chai-breaks’. Thanks Ram for that.

Sid managed to find a camp spot, which was like a small enclave and hence partly shielded from the wind…thankfully the wind died down by sunset, else it would have been a miserable camp. Lots of banter, food, music and warming drinks flowed through the night..a very enjoyable experience indeed. Although we did have lots of firewood, Sid dragged in a big dry tree trunk which also added to the flames J

Night temperatures were sub 10C; extremely cold to say the least. Next morning, Umesh’s instant curry packs and lots of Gujarati nibbles which his friend Sunil had brought with him were promptly attended to. And we were off by 9 am again. 2nd day was the same story…big starfish dunes and bowls, one after the other. Given the long drive back, I consulted the team and decided to bail out early by 11.30. We got a track next to the Ghaf tree forestation area and took it all the way out (20 kms) back to the Wagan road. Went back to the same Adnoc, aired and freshened up there and said our byes.

On this drive, I had a bunch of very capable drivers and because of that I wasn’t very worried. Allowing me to focus on negotiating the tricky terrain. Thanks to all of you.

For me, this weekend was a nice drive, amazing views and great company. I pity all that went to the malls!


The G wagon is a 1999 model, 3rd owner, and on 492,000kms....testament to the engineering on those Mercs.

https://youtu.be/YoSNVhQrXIU

[BBvideo 425,350]https://youtu.be/YoSNVhQrXIU[/BBvideo]
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Re: Starfish Dunes, Al Wagan UAE

Postby ricster » 01 Feb 2016 09:36

VERY NICE !!!!

How do you keep the camera so steady?? ......There is movement on it, but no shaking around and swaying, just really nice and easy on the eye !!
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Re: Starfish Dunes, Al Wagan UAE

Postby vanhack » 01 Feb 2016 09:56

I had to buy a new phone around 10 days ago, as my old phone's battery just died. So went and bought a LG G4, which has image stabilisation on the phone. Mounted to a normal phone holder that locks the phone and suction cup mounted to windscreen.
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Re: Starfish Dunes, Al Wagan UAE

Postby ricster » 01 Feb 2016 11:11

Thats very nice quality for a cell phone !!!
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Re: Starfish Dunes, Al Wagan UAE

Postby vanhack » 01 Feb 2016 11:24

Actually the new phones are quite good. Don't need a separate sports video camera for dune driving I think.

I have now replaced the battery on the old phone, and will be using that is my video, obd/Cansult scanner tool, and play around with some maps.
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Re: Starfish Dunes, Al Wagan UAE

Postby gupster » 01 Feb 2016 16:34

Thanks Sid for sharing that trip with us, I really enjoyed watching the video. What tyre pressures were you using? I was quite amazed at how the sand was relatively firm but surely you have to keep a look out for powdery sand and how do you assess the terrain. I have got stuck in sand that seemed quite innocuous at first but had to deflate to under a bar to get out.
A very good friend of mine here in Durban, who owns Mercking, says that Patrols are king of the desert and from what I have seen on our forum, I think he might be right.
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Re: Starfish Dunes, Al Wagan UAE

Postby Tinus lotz » 01 Feb 2016 17:25

Very cool man a video gives nice prospective of wats happening there please send some more on your next visit :thumbup:
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Re: Starfish Dunes, Al Wagan UAE

Postby vanhack » 02 Feb 2016 08:24

Gupster: I was down to 12psi or 0.82 bar, it would climb up to 15psi after 30 minutes of driving, this I feel is ideal for the sand here, too low we have a chance to have the tyre de-bead, and too high we don't climb well. Yes the sand was quite firm this time, we have had rain recently and due to winter here, the sand is not loosing moisture that it gathers from the night as quickly as it would in summer months. The dune sand is relatively untouched, and the slightest breeze will move the loose sand away to an area that we know will be loose, so we don't try to drive on that.

The patrols are great in the desert, but the newer FJ and wranglers are proving quite popular here now too, they have a more powerful engine. The Tb48E engine is now dated, and does not provide as much power as the newer engines, but I still love the y61, the articulation on factory suspension is just great to get the power down on the ground, plus the reliability and space is peace of mind.

Thanks gents, I am glad that you liked the video, did not get as much feedback from the my club, I guess they are used to seeing this, and it is not such a novelty for them.
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