2006 - Waw an-Namus, Libya.
this took the
longest of any of our trips to plan but was worth it 100%. From
the time we set foot in Libya no one even asked me about the weather
prospects for eclipse day! Clear skies from the moment we arrived
, apart from some fog in the coastal areas, were the trademark of the
days leading up to 29th March. The drive on the first day by
coach to the edge of the desert passed off without incident and in
relative comfort considering the amount of miles we ate up on
the main road south.
Our first glimpse of a sand dune led to a
frenzied rush to climb it and be photographed on it. In hindsight this
scramble must have looked hilarious to our Libyan guides for this sand
dune was a "baby". We were to drive up dunes 10 times the height of
this one later in the trip.
On arrival at the edge of the desert we changed
to 4WD's, a total of 27, and headed south towards Waw an Namus. What
fun this was! Fast and furious driving through clouds of dust and sand.
Stopping wherever there was shade for lunch, a magnificent salad was
laid out for us each day. We realised early on that we were not going
to be allowed to starve to death on this trip. One of my most abiding
memories of this drive south was seeing European Swallows migrating
north across the Sahara. It was a stunning sight to see single birds
fly low across the sand, circle around us a couple of times to check us
out and then continue their long lonely flight north. Incredible to
think that I would be seeing maybe the same birds a few weeks later in
Ireland as they prepared to mate and nest for the summer.
Eclipse day brought more clear blue skies with
not even a hint of cloud. An hour and halfs drive brought us right onto
the centre line with only one other group of eclipse chasers on the
horizon towards the north. Were we the furthest group south? It
certainly looked and felt like that. Where we stopped there were no
more tracks beyond us, just a vast empty expanse of desert.
Before Totality an impromptu soccer match began between our Libyan support team and some of the fitter eclipse chasers. It ended in a suitable and diplomatic 2-2 draw. We never had such enjoyable pre eclipse entertainment before. During totality our drivers said a special Muslim eclipse prayer, Salat al-kusoof, which also added greatly to the overall experience. Totality was followed by singing and dancing which everyone joined in with. A proper eclipse party! We just knew we were going to have fun on the remainder of this trip.Many thanks to Craig Baguley of Caravanserai Tours and Jamal Fteis of Arkno Tours.
Ali, Fawzi, Nasser and Talal, our guides, were wonderful with their patience and good humour in dealing with such a large and diverse group of eclipse chasers from all round the world. A great debt of gratitude is owed to all the support team. From repairing Landcruisers overnight ( A new piston fitted in one case) to the amazing food they produced each day, these guys worked very hard to make our trip a memorable one.
view by Brian Seales