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THE FIRST OUTDOOR MAGAZINE FOR THE UAE AND THE MIDDLE EAST MIDDLE EAST
Atte reaches the highest peak of the 7 summits
‘like’ us on Facebook!
Adrian Hayes and his crossing of the Empty Quarter
Comprehensive list of the best dive centres in the region
+ + DIVE LISTINGS
Toby looks back at what he’ll miss the most about living in the UAE
I Will Miss
Get to us on Facebook!
+ + PRODUCTS
to check out!
Issue 18, June 2012
LIFE IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT
Diving Outdoor Training
SERIOUS FEATURES AND AIR INTEGRATION AT A GREAT PRICE
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VERSATILE GUIDANCE FOR MULTI-SPORT EXERCISE
Integrated tilt-compensated 3D digital compass • Full continuous decompression algorithm • Four dive modes: Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge Built-in dive planner • Detailed graphical logs and dive data on your laptop using Suunto DM4 with Movescount software
Altimeter • Barometer • Compass • Depth Measurement Sunrise/Sunset Time • Dual Time • Button Lock • 4 Language Menu
Fitness test • 3 personal targets – improving fitness, weight management or free training • Daily exercise instructions with ideal duration and intensity • Automatically adapting exercise program for the next 7 days Real-time intensity guidance during workout • Recovery time recommendation after exercise
AN EASY-TO-USE DIVE COMPUTER WITH FREEDIVE MODE AND AIR INTEGRATION
THE GPS FOR EXPLORERS
PERSONAL DAILY EXERCISE GUIDANCE AND MOTIVATION
Detailed graphical logs and dive data on your laptop using Suunto DM4 with Movescount software • Full continuous decompression algorithm Three dive modes: Air, Nitrox, Freedive • Built-in dive planner
Altitude range -500m-9000m • Automatic Alti/Baro switch • Real time vertical cumulative value • Recording intervals • 3D digital compass • GPS - Distance, Speed, 100 waypoints, Tracks • ANT - digital coded heart rate signal • Backlight option for night use • Button lock
Fitness test • 3 personal targets – improving fitness, weight management or free training • Daily exercise instructions with ideal duration and intensity • Automatically adapting exercise program for the next 7 days Real-time intensity guidance during workout
Suunto Oy, Valimotie 7, FIN-01510 Vantaa - Finland
Exclusive Distributors in the UAE
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JUNE 2012 - WWW.OUTDOORUAE.COM
THE FIRST OUTDOOR MAGAZINE FOR THE UAE AND THE MIDDLE EAST
On the Cover: Warren Baverstock’s winning photo from the EDA Underwater Photography Comp. Managing Editor Daniel Birkhofer Editors Kim Perks, Marilena Cilta, Angelo Cabrera Designer James Russell Administration Jane Mesina Sales & Marketing (advertisement enquiries) Tara Atkinson Tel: 04-447 2030 Mobile: 055 9398915 firstname.lastname@example.org Published by Outdoor UAE FZE P.O. Box 215062 Dubai, U.A.E. Tel. 04-447 2030 email@example.com www.outdooruae.com Distributor Tawzea, Abu Dhabi Media Company P.O. Box 40401, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Printed at Galadari Printing & Publishing LLC P.O. Box 11243 Dubai, U.A.E. © 2012 Outdoor UAE FZE Issue 18, June 2012
The Diving Issue Price: 10 Dhs
It’s been over a year since I started working for Outdoor UAE Magazine and what a journey it has been to say the least!
I feel that since it started 2 years ago, the magazine has come a long way, and at Outdoor UAE head-quarters we are constantly using our early issues as a milestone, and I’m sure you can all agree how at much it’s grown. Every day I see and feel the Outdoor community coming together and the magazine getting stronger, and every month we uncover and expose some amazing stories by a lot of truly inspiring and incredible people who push themselves to the limit. I can’t imagine the level of commitment it takes for an individual to summit the 7 highest peaks, push to the top of Everest, run 100kms in one day, canoe the whole of the Congo solo, or drive to Belgium and back in a banged up old Land Rover. Each writer who has sent in their story has done so because this is their passion and they want to share it with you. It’s very easy to just see the finish and think ‘I could never do that.’ What I have come to realise as with the Magazine, that with every finish there is a journey, and by taking one step at a time, the goal is achievable (just be prepared to reach that goal with a lot of blood sweat and tears!). Trying not to sound to philosophical, or that Outdoor UAE Magazine has dramatically changed the way I think about life, it is a job after all… but I do believe that it stands for something that has gotten me so reflective over the last year. I’ve started thinking about if am I doing enough to challenge myself every day, or what else I can learn, or how far would I go to help a friend. I hope like me reading the magazine and its stories have in some way inspired you or at least made you think a little differently, and who knows, maybe even motivated you to go in search of your own Mount Everest…
BETWEEN THE LINES
THE FIRST OUTDOOR MAGAZINE FOR THE UAE AND THE MIDDLE EAST MIDDLE EAST
Atte reaches the highest peak of the 7 summits
‘like’ us on Facebook!
Adrian Hayes and his crossing of the Empty Quarter
Comprehensive list of the best dive centres in the region
+ + DIVE LISTINGS
Daniel Birkhofer Founder and Editor in Chief firstname.lastname@example.org James Russell Designer email@example.com Jane Mesina Administration firstname.lastname@example.org
Toby looks back at what he’ll miss the most about living in the UAE
I Will Miss
Get to us on Facebook!
+ + PRODUCTS
Kim Perks Copywriter and Editor
Tara Atkinson Sales and Marketing email@example.com
Marilena Cilta Management Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
to check out!
Issue 18, June 2012
The information contained is for general use only. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this magazine has been obtained from reliable sources, however the publisher is not responsible for any errors. All information in this magazine is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from the use of this information. In no event will the publisher, its related affiliates or anyone else be responsible for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information in this magazine. All contents are under copyrights and may not be reproduced in any kind without written permission. © 2012 Outdoor UAE FZE Reg. at Creative City Fujairah P.O. Box 4422, Fujairah, U.A.E.
Angelo Cabrera Junior Editor email@example.com
EXPERTS & CONTRIBUTORS
Gordon T Smith Desert Diver and wannabe Marine Biologist
Kit Belen Our fishing pro
Pete Aldwinckle Climber and all-round adventure seeker
Mike Nott The 4x4 expert
John Basson Moto/ATV and all round adventure seeker
Tori Leckie Writer, runner, blogger, adventurer and adidas athlete
WHEN YOU’RE DONE READING, PLEASE RECYCLE!
Climbing Expert WANT TO CONTRIBUTE? CONTACT US! firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrice Wergifosse Traveller and adventurer
Ian Ganderton Kayaker, climber, mountainbiker and snowboarder. Enthusiastic jack of all trades, master of none.
THE FIRST OUTDOOR MAGAZINE FOR THE UAE AND THE MIDDLE EAST
JUNE 2012 - WWW.OUTDOORUAE.COM
P12 50 KITE SURFING FOR BEGINNERS 44 MOUNTIAN CLIMBING 19 DOE FOR MOE
05 BEST SHOTS 06 EVENTS CALENDAR 36 PRODUCTS 48 PEOPLE 55 DIRECTORY
08 EDA PHOTOGRAPHY
08 EDA UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY 11 A SPLASHING GOOD TIME 19 DOE FOR MOE 25 DESERT ADVENTURE CHALLENGE
TRAVEL + ADVENTURE
22 FOLLOWING THESIGER’S TRAIL 26 CANOEING THE CONGO PT.2 28 DSDC FISHING TRIP - PHILIPPINES 32 SUMMIT PUSH
38 THE BASICS OF FINDING NEMO - KIT 40 FRIDAY THE 13TH - JOHN 42 ADVENTURE CHICK: ON THE TRAILS IN SHANGRI-LA 44 MOUNTAIN CLIMBING - MIKE 46 5 THINGS I’LL MISS - TOBY
TIPS + TRICKS
50 KITE SURFING FOR BEGINNERS PT.1
22 FOLLOWING THESIGER’S TRAIL
Photo: Warren Baverstock
THE FIRST OUTDOOR MAGAZINE FOR THE UAE AND THE MIDDLE EAST
JUNE 2012 - WWW.OUTDOORUAE.COM
Here are the best shots sent in by you for the monthly
‘Want Fame?’ photography competition! We had so many entries, so we had to add a couple more because they were so brilliant. Congratulations to the top 3 winners (who each receive Buff headwear and 5 free copies of the magazine) Heinrich Zimmermann-Stock, Shoaib Ahmed Jan and Abdel Elecho. Runners up Yann Lavoie and Colin Handy receive 5 free copies of the magaine each. Well done!
Shoaib Ahmed Jan
To submit your shots simply email us email@example.com
THE FIRST OUTDOOR MAGAZINE FOR THE UAE AND THE MIDDLE EAST
JUNE 2012 - WWW.OUTDOORUAE.COM
Stay up-to-date with the latest events
Gulf for Good’s Stair Climb Training
June every Tuesday, 7 p.m. (contact Gulf for Good for training location)
Join the folks from Gulf for Good as they build up their trekking legs through the flight of stairs in an undisclosed hotel here in Dubai. The exercise is a good way to condition your legs in hiking up a mountain ‘when you can’t go to one,’ as one hiking expert from the group claimed. It’s also an essential workout routine for those who want to embark on the challenge posed by the Everest Base Camp. For more information about the training, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 04-368-0222.
Dubai Roadsters’ Friday Ride
Join the Dubai Roadsters in their sunrise weekend run as they pedal down the lane for 80km, 120km and 140km. Support cars are provided, just bring plenty of water with you. And if you join them every Friday for the morning ride on a regular basis, you will be considered as an honorary Core Rider! Visit their website at www.dubairoadsters.com for more details about the cycling group.
Dubai Desert Road Run June Scorcher
June 23, 7 a.m., The Sevens Stadium, Al Ain Road, Dubai
Are you ready for a mighty burn of calories under the sweltering heat of the June sun? Test your stamina and grit in a 10-kilometer two-lap course within the grounds of The Sevens Stadium in Al Ain road, Dubai. Regular water stops are around the course and at the finish line. Organizers said that an exclusively commissioned medal will be prepared for those who can finish the run. Learn more about the event and sign up now at www. premiermarathons.com
The Big Jumeirah Sea Turtle Race
June 29, 8:30 a.m., Madinat Jumeirah Beach, Dubai
Get your kids out and cheering for their best turtle tykes as they race their way into the great blue ocean in celebration of the World Sea Turtle Day. More than a hundred rehabilitated juvenile hawksbill turtles will be set free to roam the vast waters that will be laid ahead of them along with six satellite-tagged sea turtles, too. So don’t be late!
+ + + + + + +
Dubai, UAE Fujairah, UAE Musandam, Oman Hallaniyat Islands, Oman* Maldives Seychelles USA
For your once in a lifetime chance of a 50kg+ GT contact Nick or Jon at Ocean Active.
Nick: +971 50 459 2259 Jon: +971 50 502 2924 Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our shop at the Dubai Garden Center for a full range of imported GT fishing equipment.
Ocean Active www.oceanactive.com
*Limited 2012/2013 charters still available.
Photo: Peter Graves
Every Friday, Lime Tree Café, Jumeirah Beach Road 5:30 a.m., or 5:45 a.m. at Safa Park, Dubai
THE FIRST OUTDOOR MAGAZINE FOR THE UAE AND THE MIDDLE EAST
JUNE 2012 - WWW.OUTDOORUAE.COM
NEWS + COMMENT
A Case of Mistaken Identity
Last month we published a great article from our dive photography expert Gordon T. Smith, entitled, ‘Underwater Photography: Why Macro?’ but unfortunately we managed to mix up the captioning for one of the photographs and the creature named. The image below is not the Pygmy Seahorse but the Gorgonian Horned Shrimp or Rhinoceros Shrimp, Miropandalus harding. Shot using 105mm lens with wet diopter. Apologies for the confusion!
Geoff Patch Prepares for an ‘Epically’ Charitable Trek
Army training has its way of testing the grit of men through several limit-pushing ordeals in order to bring the warrior out of them, and members of the Queens Gurkha Signals Regiment are no strangers to such. Ever tried running 100 kilometers with three of your buddies just to tweak your stamina and team coordination skills? They did, and it was one of the many things that these enlisted men of the British Army proved their toughness and grit before seeing action in the unforgiving battles that they would be sent to whenever needed. But today, the hundred-kilometer stretch of the Trailwalker Trail at South Downs, Britain, is now open to be run by people from different walks of life in groups of four, with members of the Gurkha Regiment competing amongst them in the Trailwalker UK 2012 prepared by charitable organization Oxfam GB. The challenge will be taking place on July 14th to 15th. Teams of four will have to accomplish the famous trail within 30 hours, all in the noble cause to help battle poverty. UK 2012 Our mountain-conquering contributor Trailwalker Geoff Patch and his chaps have entered .uk/trailwalker w.oxfam.org the challenge at: wwcomplete the course, Enter your team to and will be reporting the outcome of his exploits from the trail that would make a soldier out of men.
h Downs e across the Sout s from team challeng original 100km inspirational team Be part of the 2012). Join 500 has (14/15 July dible. with the Gurk something incre and achieve all walks of life
gE YOUR challEn 4 pEOplE m 30hRs 100k
Source: Oxfam UK
Oxfam is a registered charity in England and Wales: no 202918 and Scotland: SC039042. Oxfam GB is a member of Oxfam International. Gurkha Welfare Trust: Registered Charity Number 1103669 Company Limited by Guarantee Number 5098581 Registered in England. Inhouse: 5110c. Photo: Crispin Hughes
Make sure you stay ‘Ripe’ The Dhow Trip this summer
Dear OutdoorUAE readers, John Basson’s article from last month’s issue raised some concerns with our readers and some operators. John’s article was his personal experience with an operator in which its name will remain anonymous. It is our intention to raise awareness for outdoor activities within the region and also provide good and reliable information. This may include, negative reports or experiences. But we mean NOT to generalize for a certain activity. We didn’t make it clear last month, that dhow trips in the Musandam and other areas are a great experience for everyone and great fun. We encourage everyone to try it out if you haven’t done it yet. Unfortunately with the increased popularity of dhow trips, there are also some operators which do not provide great services such as this case with John. None of the listed companies in our magazine or on the website were involved in this trip but we can recommend the ones that are. If we get reports or complaints about any listed company, we will un-list them if the complaints are accurate. Weather conditions or other unforeseen events which can badly influence any activity are obviously not considered. We are also happy to hear about your experience whether it be good or bad. Remember, we are a community, and a community should communicate.
Words: Tori Leckie
Your OutdoorUAE Team.
Most Outdoor UAE readers are complete fitness, outdoor, sports and adventure junkies… there might of course be the odd armchair reader but even they will eventually succumb to the dizzying heights of a jagged rock face or the beckoning of a fantastic mountain biking trail! Regardless of the nature of our adventures, one thing binds us all together and that’s our high-energy needs. A determination to make every day a thrilling ride means that we need to support our bodies with the nutrition to keep our performance sky-high… and increasingly, people are realising that the best way to do this is by going organic. Enter… Ripe! Ripe is the UAE’s bestloved provider of LOCAL, ORGANIC and SEASONAL fresh fruits and veg. Picked within 48 hours of being sold to you, you can guarantee that each and every bite is a taste sensation too! No pesticides, no horrible food miles, just the most nutritious and delicious produce you can find in the UAE.
In addition to their weekly markets and online deliveries, Ripe have just opened a fab little shop in Al Manara. It’s small but it’s packed full of amazing produce as well as organic health bars, locally-made cheeses, honey, gluten free breads and much more. So… the next time you find yourself planning an adrenaline-filled adventure, plan too how you’re going to top up your energy levels first… and plan a visit to Ripe to load up on supplies!
Visit: www.ripeme.com Call: 04 380 7602
EMIRATES DIVING ASSOCIATION
The Emirates Diving Association is the UAE’s non-profit voluntary federal organization that aims to protect, conserve and restore the rich marine life in the country’s waters by promoting marine environment and environmental diving. It was officially established in 1995 by Federal Decree No. 23 under Article No. 21 with Dubai being chosen as its base.
The organization has committed itself to create a harmonious and healthy diving environment over time. The EDA exemplifies this by hosting events, expeditions and research that highly encourages the participation of diving enthusiasts and non-divers alike. They are also tasked with various responsibilities in the local diving community such as:
The EDA’S Digital Online 2012, the UAE’s only Underwater Photography and Film Competition was held this year for the 4th time with great success.
Digital Online’s main objectives were to gather information on a number of underwater photographers in the UAE (both professional and amateur), to discover promising new underwater photographers in the UAE and to develop human interaction with the underwater environment and highlight the beauty of its fauna and flora. Digital Online is open to UAE Nationals and all people living in the UAE under a valid Residence Visa and of any diving qualification with a valid EDA membership. To ensure equal competition, manipulation is restricted to colour correction, brightness, contrast,
sharpening and cropping. Participants are obligated to follow environmental conservation regulations and to share respect for the underwater world during the process of taking their stills and film. The final deadline for submitting images and video for the 5 different categories was April 30th 2012. The competition was separated into 2 categories: Professionals (using DSLRs) with sub-categories: ‘Wide Angle’, ‘Macro’ and ‘Fish’. Amateurs (using point and shoot cameras) with the same sub-categories, and lastly, Video. The competition prizes were sponsored by Biosphere Expeditions, Delma Marine, Dievas, Discover Orient Holidays, Tourism Malaysia, Atlantis Dive Centre, Nomad Ocean Adventures, Sheesa Beach Dive Center, Al Boom Diving, Al Mahara Diving Center and EDA. The ceremony and prize giving was held this year at DUCTAC in the Gallery of Light at Mall of The Emirates on Wednesday, 30th May. All the photos of the 49 entrants where shown at the ceremony. A big compliment to EDA and especially Ally Landes who worked hard to make this event such a great success. It was also impressive to see the high standard and quality of underwater photography we have here in the UAE, regardless of being professional or amateur. We are all looking forward to the next EDA photo competition and hope the success story will continue with even more submission next year. Don’t forget to join EDA and take part in the next competition. Congratulations from OutdoorUAE to all the winners and all participants for their great work and passion for the underwater world and photography.
• • • • •
Legislate all diving activities in the UAE. Ensure environmentally respectful diving practices in all EDA members. Promote and support the diving industry within the UAE by coordinating the efforts of the diving community. Promote diving safety in the commercial and recreational diving fields through standardization of practices. Promote and preserve historical aspects of diving within the gulf region and enhance environmental education to diving and non-diving communities through EDA activities.
The EDA is led by its chairman, Mr. Faraj Butti Al Muhairbi, an established businessman and a dedicated pearl (as well as SCUBA) diver for the last 45 years with positions ranging from dhow boy to pearling vessel captain. He started doing post pearling-era dive expeditions which he continues to do annually, mostly in the western coastal areas of the Emirates where oyster beds are found in abundance despite the offshore human and industrial activities.
Category: WIDE ANGLE
Overall Winner: Warren Baverstock
Overall Winner: Warren Baverstock
Overall Winner: Warren Baverstock
2nd: Simone Caprodossi
2nd: Alastair McGregor
2nd: Alastair McGregor
3rd: Sijmon de Waal
3rd: Peter Mainka
3rd: Alastair McGregor
Category: WIDE ANGLE
Overall Winner: Domique Zawisza
Overall Winner: Hollie Burroughs
Overall Winner: Kelly Tymburski
2nd: Jonathan Clayton
2nd: Domique Zawisza
2nd: Collin Wu
3rd: Jonathan Clayton 3rd: Karim Saad 3rd: John Hager
1st 2nd 3rd Khaled Sultani John Hager Awni Hafedh 759 points 370 points 274 points
A Splashing Good Time:
Ignite Fitness and Wellness Aquathlon Series
The beaches in Dubai have been gradually gaining good attention from outdoor goers, especially with the heat picking up in these summer months. There is plenty to do in the shores and it’s a good time to get in shape and get that beach body going while having fun which was a great part of Ignite Fitness and Wellness’s Aquathlon swim-and-run event that went down at the Kite Surfer’s Beach in Umm Suqeim, Dubai last May 11th.
The event was a splashing success as expected, as it received more than a hundred participants. Ignite’s general manager Guillaume Mariole and his team were happy with the turnout and the overall response of the people, just as they had hoped it to be. “There are a lot of big races around that everyone gets involved in but Aquathlon is a smaller course so more people can get involved and build up their sportsmanship,” Mariole opened, explaining the main objective in putting up the swim-and-run event as the summer season opened. “We achieved the primary goal to get everyone out and about, moving whilst having fun. It was great to see parents supporting the kids in the Aquathlon and then the same coming from the kids when the parents took part,” He added. 25 households composed the majority of the crowd. Noteworthy entries were also seen from the lifeguards at the Atlantis Hotel and also from Wild Wadi Adventure Park, while the Dubai Diggers Dragon Boat Team had been well represented by some of its members... The May 11th event was just the first of the swim-andrun series, so stay in tune and follow Mariole and his fit and healthy buddies at Ignite Fitness and Wellness at their website: www.ignite-wellness.com and their Facebook page www.facebook.com/ignitefitnessandwellness to get the latest from them.
A comprehensive list of diving centres and shops based in the UAE and beyond, for your information.
Located 90 minutes drive from Dubai, 7 Seas Divers is a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Dive Resort, 10 to 12 minutes away from almost 70% of the East Coast’s magical dive sites. Dive, snorkel, swim or just chill and get back to your city rejuvenated! We offer: *Diving and Snorkeling trips in Khorfakkan, East Coast *Overnight trips in Musandam Peninsula, North of Oman *PADI Courses from beginners to professional level *Equipment Rentals, Sales, Maintenace, air fills and blends *Affordable and convenient accommodation. Tel: +971 9 2387400 www.7seasdivers.com
With 5 dive centers offering PADI diving courses for all levels; diving in Al Aqah, Musandam, Dubai Aquarium, Jebel Ali and Jumeirah, snorkelling trips, boat cruises, dhow trips, transport from Dubai and watersports at Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort; equipment sales, rentals, air fills and dedicated workshop in Al Quoz make Al Boom a true onestop dive shop. Dhs1,800 (PADI Open Water with eLearning), Dhs350 (two dives with full kit). Open Sun-Thu 10am-8pm, Fri-Sat 8am-6pm. Tel: +971 4 3422993 www.alboomdiving.com
Al Jeer Marina offers the newest scuba dive/snorkel location in the UAE. Its unique location at the very north of the country, is set against a stunning backdrop where the mountains rise out of the sea, it enjoys crystal clear waters that are not spoiled by construction projects, as with many other dive sites in the region. Where the Mountains meet the Sea. Unspoiled location with clear waters and thriving marine life. Sandy Beach Camping with Showers and Wet Changing Rooms. Fully Licensed Clubhouse with BBQ Food/Fish and Chips. Tel: +971 50 4873185 Email: email@example.com
Al Mahara Diving Centre is the region’s first PADI Swim School in Abu Dhabi. They specialize in providing: High standard eco-PADI scuba diving training for all levels and ages from novice to instructor level programs, Structured and high standard swimming programs, Lifeguard training programs, Guided eco-mangrove kayaking tours, Local snorkelling and scuba diving trips in the western region of Al Gharbia. Tel. +971-2643-7377 www.divemahara.com
Al Marsa Musandam promises to guide you to explore Oman’s most spectacular reefs, rock formations and a colourful selection of marine life spread across over two-dozen unique dive sites. 120km away from Dubai, Musandam is a stunning destination and home to several exotic marine species. Explore the small bays and unique fishing villages at the Hajjar Mountains with Al Marsa’s multi-lingual SSI / PADI and EFR certified instructors. Complete your PADI certification (beginner or experienced) including – Discover Scuba, Open Water, Advanced, as well as Technical courses. Tel: (Oman) +968 26 836550 www.almarsamusandam.com
The Dive Center is located in Al Hamra Marina directly on the beach. Fully air-conditioned with a user friendly classroom facility for students to make the most of the diving knowledge. Our Marine Biologist dive instructor takes you well beyond the normal learning curve. Bathrooms with showers, changing rooms also located in the Dive Center. Retail fully equipped dive center with all major scuba brands for resale. Different areas: Complete water sports facility with Jet Ski rental, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and all non motorized activities. Tel: +971 7 2433800 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gulf Marine Sports is located in Abu Dhabi, tourist club area, 10th street or Old Mazda St, opposite Fayrouz super market.
Gulf Marine Sports distributes a wide range of basic snorkeling equipment, professional and pleasure diving gear. Gulf Marine Sports has been established since 1998 and offer an extensive range of diving equipment and professional services. Gulf Marine Sports advise and help its customers to decide what equipment is best for them. They offer a big range of the most reputable and leading diving equipment brand names, such as TUSA, BEUCHAT, BARE, UNDERWATER KINETICS, TRIDENT, SEA PEARL, PRO BLUE DIVE ACCESSORIES, BIG BLUE LIGHTS AND PADI. Our facitlity includes: • Hyrdo test for tanks • Tank rental
• • • • • •
Tank filling Padi materials Supply Equipment service Scuba Gear sales Under water Spearfishing Products Diving Mask Prescriptions Lenses
BARE Velocity Shorties for 250AED till end of JUNE BARE FULL IGNITE suits for 400AED, till end of June.
Abu Dhabi Outlet I Gulf Marine Sports I P.O. BOX 32945 Abu Dhabi, UAE T: +971 2 6710017 I M: +97150 4467956 F: +971 2 6710177 Email: email@example.com Web: www.gulfmarinesports.com
Full day trip - 200AED Half Day trip - 150AED Overnight trip - 500AED *NOTE: ADDITIONAL 100AED PER DIVE Full day for divers - 360AED Overnight for divers - 800AED
We are a European and Omani team dedicated to providing premium services to divers and adventurers. From overland tours to underwater expeditions, Khasab Diver offers a remote gateway from the urban UAE life to the peaceful town of Khasab, Oman.
Khasab, the local capital of the Musandam peninsula, is located 500 km from Muscat and 250 km from Dubai. Its beautiful breathtaking mountains, unspoiled beaches surrounded by wadis and dolphin pods make Khasab an exceptional and unforgettable place. Our company has been designed with the capacity to offer tailor-made programs which include Dhow cruises, snorkeling and diving trips, kayaking, beach camping and parties whilst providing the best individual services and equipments. - PADI Diving Courses - Daily Dives & Snorkeling Trips - Holiday Dives & Accommodation Packages - Dhow cruises, Dolphin & Whale Watching & Sea Safari - Overnight Camping and beach parties
Open water course: 1500AED (NO CAMPING) / 1300AED (DISCOUNT ON 4 OR MORE PPL/ NO CAMPING) 1800AED (WITH CAMPING) (3 day, 2 night course) Followed by an exam to get a license. (Inclusive food & beverages, Padi material, Certification fee, Government tax) Advance open water course: 1200AED (NO CAMPING), 1350AED (WITH CAMPING) Junior Open water course: 1500AED (NO CAMPING), 1650AED (WITH CAMPING) 12m max. depth (age 10 -> 15) EFR (Emergency First Response) course: 700AED (Must be taken before Rescue diving course!) (Book included + in class course) Rescue diver course: 2000AED (3 day, 2-night course)
Tel. +97156 7255889 (Dxb number – Hala Abou Jaoude (Marketing) or +968 99883345 (Omani Number – for Mr Ahmed Al Shehi (General Manager) or +968 99558488 (Omani Number – for Mr Ali Al Shuali (Padi Dive instructor) Email: Khasabdiver2@gmail.com Web: www.scubaoman.com
Arabian Divers and Sportfishing Charters have over two decades of experience on the Arabian Peninsula. We offer a “One Stop Shop” with “On Site” facilities, and PADI P.I.R.R.A Resort. We do daily Sightseeing Boat Charters, Big Game Sportfishing, Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Charters. Our marina chandlery retails Scuba Diving, Sportfishing and Boat Equipment. Tel : +971 50 614693 www.fishabudhabi.com
A 5 star PADI Instructor Development Dive Resort, PADI Tec Centre & National Geographic Centre. Recently awarded the Green Star award. Working very closely with Project AWARE, where we are what is termed as a 100% AWARE. For every PADI certification through the dive centre, the centre donates £10 to Project AWARE. As a Dive Centre we teach the whole range of PADI courses from Bubblemakers (for the children) to PADI Professional courses (Divemaster/Instructor qualifications) Tel: +971 4 4263000 www.atlantisdivecentre.com
The Desert Sports Diving Club is an independent diving club founded almost thirty years ago as a BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) branch serving Dubai and the local area. Although affiliated with BSAC, we welcome divers from all training agencies and of all nationalities. We have PADI, IANTD, CMAS and TDI divers and can cater for most requirements from recreational to closed circuit and full trimix. Club dives are run every Friday and Saturday from Dubai, Fujeirah and Dibba – diving from club boats is free for members and is very competitively priced when diving from dhows or fast-boats in the Musandam. Tel: +97155 9948850 www.desertsportsdivingclub.net
Divers Down is a 5-Star PADI IDC-Resort established 2002, located within Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort & Spa. Family-friendly with a great club-like atmosphere, our boutique dive-centre is 1st choice on the UAE East Coast for expats and tourists. Multilingual, experienced instructors teach the full range of PADI courses and specialties. We offer safety, fun, flexibility. 3 dives and night dive, every day - We visit 14 different dive sites - Ranked #1 on TripAdvisor Accommodation packages - Authorized MARES and Dive Rite dealer - PADI TecRec and IANTD courses. Tel: +971 9 2370299 www.diversdown-uae.com
Dive UAE & Oman is a Padi Dive Club running PADI diving courses and pleasure dive trips mainly in the Musandam. Learn to dive with us, we teach PADI courses from Open Water. If you have never gone diving before, try our “Discover Scuba diver” on a day trip. You are a certified diver, come on one of our speedboat or dhow trips and enjoy a nice day out with great dive sites. We focus on personalized service, safety and fun! Tel: +97150 4588385 www.dive-uae-oman.com
Dubai Area Divers is an independently owned PADI dive educator that has been established to provide both underwater experiences and marine awareness to the residents of Dubai. Our Instructors have nearly 30 years of experience of being PADI Professionals and have in excess of 7,000 logged dives between them in both warm and cold water. From private diving courses and trial dives, through to group lessons, Children’s scuba parties and corporate events our aim is to provide the very best of experiences to our students in a patient and considerate manner, offering you the best tuition and training, using the best equipment and facilities. Tel: +97150 2135140 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SCUBA 2000 is an unusual dive centre on the East Coast of the UAE. Set on a peaceful fishing beach, you can really get away from it all. The centre is housed in a traditional courtyard building, right at the water’s edge, and just minutes walk away from the historic Al Bidiya mosque, the oldest mosque in the Emirates.
With only three rooms for rent, it’s quiet and rustic. You’ll find a friendly, family-type atmosphere, which is why people come back again and again. The centre is fully equipped, and staffed by a qualified, competent team. Charges are reasonable - what’s more, we don’t charge for tea, coffee or soft drinks. All dive sites in the area are only a short trip by boat. Come and try us – you’ll be back for a second time!
(Full introduction to the sport including watching video, practical demonstrations and 1 open water) Open Water Course: 2000AED Advanced OW: 1600AED Accommodation for only 200AED (per room/night/ max 2 person each room)
Location: Al Bidiyah Beach Dibba Fujairah Telephone: +971 9 2388477 Email: email@example.com Website: www.scuba-2000.com Dive centre is open from 9am to 7pm every day all year round. GPS: North 25 degrees 26.436 East 56 degrees 21.527.
2 dives full gear: 280AED 2 dives tank and weights: 230AED Snorkeling (full kit): 120AED Discover Scuba Diving: 400AED
Our location in The Lakes Club offers a first class experience for dive training or just freshening up your diving skills. All of our students have access to the club facilities. Between lessons, students can relax and enjoy the facilities offered making a day of training relaxing and fun. We offer a comfortable and fully equipped classroom. They have a choice of doing their dives on the east or west coast from shore or by boat. Our staff is PADI certified with many years of experience in diving and teaching plus backgrounds in recreational and technical diving. Tel: +971 4 4472247 www.easydiversemirates.com
Hidden destination, untouched dive sites, boldly go where no one has gone before. We are the only dive centre in the whole area... so lots of fish and few divers! Enjoy the impressive landscape of the Fjords of Oman and the heritage life of a fishermen’s village. The Extra Divers Centre is fully equipped and offers daily dive excursions on speed boats as well as the full range of dive courses. Besides our daily diving and snorkeling trips we also offer accommodation and transfers from and to Dubai or Ras Al-Khaimah. Tel: +968 99877957 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Filipino Scuba Divers Club (FSDC) is a Filipino sports club registered under the auspices of the Philippine Consulate Dubai. It is open to Filipino and non-Filipino residents of the UAE, who have attained international certification in SCUBA diving. The club is committed to marine conservation and environmental concerns through its participation in campaigns like the annual Clean-Up Arabia, CleanUp the World, Earth Day celebration and other events. In addition to dive trips off Dubai and the East Coast in the UAE, FSDC to date, has brought its members to Egypt, Bohol (Philippines), Bali, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Seychelles. Email: email@example.com www.thefilipinoscubadivers.com
Freestyle Divers offer a wide range of dive courses that can be enjoyed by divers of any level. As well as diving we also offer a range of other activities Kayaking, snorkelling, boat and fishing trips. We offer snorkelling trips, dive trips and overnight camping trips to Musandam either by speed boat or traditional dhow. Freestyle stock a wide range of Scubapro,Uwatec, Tusa and other generally useful dive equipment. Freestyle divers are a 5 star PADI dive centre based in Dibba and Dubai. Tel: +971 9 244 5756 www.freestyledivers.com
The PDC specializes in PADI training and offers you unparalleled experiences no matter what level you are aiming to achieve. Conveniently located in Jumeirah and open till late we are able to flexibly accommodate courses around busy work and life schedules. We teach the entire mainstream PADI Courses, most PADI Specialty Courses and as a PADI Career Development Centre, we take pride in producing some of the regions finest PADI Professionals. We offer PADI training from Open Water Diver to Instructor and we have discounted rates for the kids. Tel: +971 4 4068827 www.thepaviliondivecentre.com
Sandy Beach Diving Center invites you to experience the underwater world. You can participate in a ‘Discover Scuba Dive’ after your diving education with PADI or you can simply enjoy the pure pleasure of diving. A full time dive instructor, custom built dive boats, a well stocked dive shop with beach accessories are just some service on offer. Also, a beach hut with snorkel gear & kayaks are available for rent. Tel: +971 9 2445050 www.sandybm.com
ach Dive Ce Be
We are the oldest and largest dhow cruise operator in Oman and we specialize in dhow cruises, diving trips and courses as well as operating a camp here in Dibba Oman. We boast a fleet of 7 dhows (8th being in production), 3 speedboats and operate out of a modern double story office in the Dibba Al Mina port. Product and Services offered: - Diving trips by speedboat and dhow - Diving courses - Sharing live aboard dhow safaris - Private day and overnight dhow cruises - Sharing day dhow cruises - Camp Dibba, Musandam Port, Oman. Tel: +97150 3336046 www.sheesabeach.com
Technical Diving International Center is a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Center that provides all scuba diving requirements and PADI courses from beginner to professional level. It is located at the heart of Diving Village Al Shindagha, Bur Dubai. TDIC, as do Emirates Diving Association, promote the conservation of the cultural and traditional diving history of the UAE. Tel: +971 4 3930303 www.tdicenter.com
ONLINE DIVE SHOP
ScubaUAE.com is the UAE’s first online scuba store offering equipment, courses and trips, all from one website. Our mission is to offer the biggest range of brands, combined with excellent prices and first-rate customer service. We supply items by Mares, Cressi, Scuba Pro, Oceanic, Suunto, Sealife Cameras and many more. We are divers ourselves so can offer you advice competently and impartially. Shipping is usually within five working days and we accept both credit cards and cash on delivery. Visit www.scubaUAE.com for the greatest choice of scuba brands and products, unrivalled in the Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and Musandam. Tel: 050 205 3922, www.scubauaecom
The Palms Dive Center is a PADI Gold Palms 5 Star Dive Center and was established in 2007 in Dibba, Fujairah. We offer daily diving and snorkeling trips to local dive sites and Musandam in Oman as well as fishing trips which require booking in advance. We offer all PADI certified courses ranging from Discover Scuba Diving to Divemaster and Bubble Maker or PADI Seal Team Courses are available for the kids. Diving and Snorkeling trips (East Coast and Musandam), PADI Courses from Entry to Leadership Level, Kids Program; Bubblemaker and Seal Team, Showroom for retail (Body Glove, Beauchat, Oceanic, Mares, Suunto and other brands) Tel. +971 9 204 3233 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The YAMAHA AG 21
You have the right to get more!
At Al Yousuf Boat Factory, boats are built with accuracy and proficiency. The continuous success has driven Al Yousuf boat factory to the top position in the marine market. And since then, their range has been rapidly expanding, with each new edition adding something rather special to the marine industry.
And here comes the YAMAHA AG 21 with its remarkable sports lines that combines style and power. Handcrafted using the highest quality materials and the closest to a superb performance water sports lovers can experience. The dynamic hull shape is specially designed to serve water sports activity such as wake boarding; it also gives soft riding characteristics in rough weather conditions. Not to mention the wide chins in the bow proportion of the boat which helps in keeping the deck dry with, which means you do not have to worry about the water splashing inside the boat. The YAMAHA AG 21 is responsive and easy to drive with extraordinary maneuvering and handling abilities which makes it a highly demanded model among water sports lovers. It comes equipped with a marine type sound system that supports iPad connection as well as an MP3 reader with high quality tuning standard, beautifully designed wake tower that elevates the pulling position of the rope allowing the rider to launch and stay in the air longer, reducing the pull downwards, a classy rear view mirror and a 280 liters ballast tank, which is used to create a large, specially shaped wake, for a wake-boarder to jump the wakes from side to side and doing aerial tricks. With plenty of easy access and dry storage areas the owner can easily store all of their safety kit like life jackets and other equipment. The interior provides a rewarding sensation of comfort with a touch of power that magnetizes the eye at all times, and contributes a seating capacity for nine passengers. At the stern platform is a ladder for easy access to the boat and its aft interior lounge.The YAMAHA AG 21 unlike other models in its category comes with very handy features to offer better boating experience. Conclusion: customized colors, attractively styled, cleverly engineered and meticulously constructed, the YAMAHA AG 21 will definitely give more to the meaning of water sports.
Length overall: Beam: Hull weight:
6.65 meters 2.30 meters 1020 Kgs
• • • • • • • •
110 Liter Fuel Tank Hydraulic Steering System Anchoring and Navigation Lights Bow and Stern Seats Wake Gate 280 Liters Water Ballast Tank Safety Package – Fire Extinguisher, Mooring Fenders, First Aid Kit All standard Yamaha marks
To the end of The World and Back
Words: Tara Atkinson
How far would you go?
When I was younger I used to play netball and lots of it... in fact it’s all I knew at the time. When I was asked if I wanted to play rugby, I honestly didn’t even know where to start. What were the rules? I had never watched more than 10 minutes of a game and ‘contact’ - what on earth was that?
I can remember the first time I tried to play union on our school pitch; I got passed the ball and legged it down the other side of grounds towards the try line. I scored a goal, or what I thought was one after reaching the line and throwing the ball down in good old American football fashion accompanied by a rather large victory dance. Embarrassingly enough, after mountains of laughter from the other end of the pitch, I realised I was wrong. I quickly learned and got better and as more netball girls learnt how to play rugby, we suddenly had our own English College Girls Rugby team, which did pretty well. If I can remember correctly one year we won the regional U19’s for the Middle East. A few of us then decided to join The Hurricanes Women’s (at the old Dubai Exiles ground) to help with adding numbers to the team during practise and games. The team was then entered into the International 7’s; we didn’t do quite as well as we had hoped, but we still got to play, and what an experience that was… I still have my shirt. I remember the day I met Moe, it was at one of The Hurricanes women’s games. The men’s team was there and he introduced himself. We had a group picture taken together and after that hung out socially with the whole rugby group a few times. It’s been over 8 years since Moe and I met, and being one of those classic good guys, I always remember how wonderfully warm, polite, and caring he is - it doesn’t matter where you are from, or who you are, when you meet him you remember him. I can’t say that Moe will remember me, it’s been so long, I was just one of the many people he met during his time here in Dubai. If anyone, like myself, has had a friend or family member who has suffered from the ‘big C’ (cancer)… you will know that it is not only life threatening, but without the right support, treatment and insurance it can be costly and stressful to go through, let alone thinking about getting better! When I heard that Moe was battling colon cancer, (based in Iraq and has now relocated to Jordan, to receive treatment) I was
A shot of the paddlers back from the edge of The World
Sun rising out around The World - Photo: Ian Ganderton
shocked at how someone so nice could be in such an awful situation with no security and limited support to help him get better. Luckily for Moe he seemed to have left some serious positive karma behind him here in Dubai, and certainly some friends who would literally go to the ends of The World and back for him... On Friday 11th of May, Moe’s friends, team mates, and even a few who had never met him before headed to Kite Surfing Beach with kayaks supplied by Noukhada Adventure Company and Global Climbing, (and even some with their own surf skis took part); with a main aim to raise awareness and donations for Moe’s situation. The challenges were to paddle to the world and back, or the more gruelling 35kms; paddling around The World! For the 35km paddlers, they set off at 5am from Kite Surfing Beach and headed out around The World whilst stopping off at the North Pole for sandwiches provided by the support boat. It took them between 4-6 hours to finish, and whilst some arriving back at 10am, the remaining trickled in by noon. During this time a marathon simultaneously took place on the other end of town. Runners took a route which went past some of Moe’s favourite places, Dubai Marina, Barasti, his old home in Satwa, Fibber Magees and finally finishing at Kite Surfing Beach to meet with the Paddlers after their journey around The World. It was over 35 Degrees that day and it certainly showed on the faces of all the participants. The day had a great turn out and it was fantastic to see how so many people got involved through the whole process, helping,
Munching on Sandwhiches at the North Pole - Photo: Ian Ganderton
donating, sharing, supporting, and cheering the participants on, and more importantly posting on Facebook so Moe could keep an eye on what was going on! It really goes to show how far you will go for a friend and the utmost respect goes out to Chris, Mike, Alan to name just a few and all those involved in helping Moe out. Throughout the whole process Moe has been totally overwhelmed by the response he’s had from all his friends, teammates and strangers, and since the 11th of May it’s not stopped either. There have been other events and rugby tournaments in aid of his cause, not to mention the upcoming ‘Take a Blow for Moe’ a white collar boxing event that is taking place at the Dusit Thani hotel on the 8th of June. If you want to find out more about the Moe’s Cause, or would like to sponsor, get involved and or donate; log onto facebook and check out the Doe for Moe page to find out more.
On-Road Safety & Comfort through Air
Top of the Line Air Technologies to Enhance Your Riding Experience
Whenever you are cutting the air and making your way ahead, there is always an equal and opposite force (Newton’s law) which is invisible and can blow you off like sticks in seconds!
To fight against such resistance and other accidents, motorcycle helmets are considered as one of best devices to keep you protected on-road! Ok... but apart from the motorcycle helmets, there are several other motorcycle accessories & apparel which are also crucial for safety and riding comfort such as jackets, vests, gloves, boots & more. But each piece of equipment and accessory has a weight, and it (sometimes) causes inconvenience to the rider and that’s a headache – remaining Safe as well as comfortable! As far as the technology is concerned there are various possibilities available in the market such as an air bag equipped biker’s lifejacket. These jackets do not only save you from various accidents & weather conditions but also help you to remain protective as well as light weighted. For example the new rider life Jacket by Hit Air – MX- 5 – is made through reflective material of high visibility and strength “Lumidex” mixed with highly breathable and strong mesh and is equipped with an automatic inflatable air bag. The airbag inflates in full within 0.5 seconds it reduces the head acceleration and the chest deflection by more than 50% compared with the normal jackets. Therefore, this specialized jacket does only save you from accidents (either conscious or unconscious) but also its light weightiness features help you to get extra comfort. As far as the safety and comfort is concerned, Helmets and Jackets are the key devises as they protect you in case of an accident, collision, or even a normal fall due to skidding or encountering an obstacle on the road while riding. Furthermore, they also help in protecting your head and upper torso from airborne obstacles, such as dirt, flying pieces of stones or glass, bugs, rain,
snow, and sleet. There is an important point to notice that the helmets and jackets can protect your upper body part whereas, there is a safety parameter; and that is your feet! Usually the ridding boots are big and heavy, therefore, most of the time we just keep ourselves in our regular footwear while going on ridding and that’s dangerous!!! While searching the airy options we do come across to new TCX R-S2 Racing boot, the first motorcycle boots with an air fit system offering a precise fit every time. Featuring Precise Air Fit System
(PARFS), Air Tech breathable lining, Torsion control area & Metatarsal control System, these all features are collectively making it worthy enough to get recommended around. Depending on the kinds of roads that you ride, the average distance you ride every day, and the amount of traffic in the roads that you normally ride, you should decide the amount of protection needed. You should always take adequate safety measures while riding such as helmets, jackets, boots, gloves, chest, etc.
BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS
Original Buff, S.A. presents, in its next collection, an innovation in all of its products range: the Polygiene® technology, which makes the cloth more hygienic but with no foul odours. Also, thanks to the Coolmax® Extreme fabric, it blocks more than 95% ultraviolet radiation and helps a swifter evaporation of sweat.
High UV protection Buff®
Available from quality sports and adventure stores including: Ski Dubai (Mall of the Emirates), Intersport (Times Square Centre and Festival City next to ACE Hardware), Ride (Mirdiff City Centre), Adventure HQ (Times Square Centre) and Go Sports (Dubai Mall). Distributor
TRAVEL + ADVENTURE
Adrian Hayes and his crossing of the Empty Quarter
Words: Angelo Cabrera
Photos: Wouter Kingma
Sir Wilfred Thesiger himself circa 1945
Source: ‘The Last of the Great Explorers’ by Peter Lewis. Mail Online. www.dailymail.co.uk
English explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger (pictured above) was a remarkable character in many ways, and so was the man who recently chose to embark on a journey to follow his footsteps on the dunes of the Rub al Khali or the Empty Quarter.
Meet Adrian Hayes, former Gurkha Officer and Special Forces reservist of the British Army who had served in Oman, and currently a business coach, keynote speaker, sustainability ambassador, tri-athlete and a hardcore adventurer who has broken two world records as results of his travails to the Earth’s ‘Three Poles.’ Being based here in the UAE, he had recently done few would only dare to do – cross the sea of sand of the Empty Quarter on both camel-back and foot, in his quest to retrace the journey of the great explorer, putting it on record in the 50-minute documentary film, ‘Footsteps of Thesiger,’ which made its premiere screening last May 7th and 9th. “I lived an adventurous life in everything,” Hayes opened, recounting his realization of why he wanted to do the same journey that Thesiger had embarked on in the region. “When I came to the region in the 90’s while
I served in the armed forces, that was where I heard about him… I just thought that it would be great to do it one day, and take some time off for it,” The former Gurkha officer added. But doing a long journey such as his was not easy, as it takes a lot of planning and preparation - Hayes took two years to get it all done before his cross of the Empty Quarter. “What people don’t realize is, you have to get sponsorships and permissions; so much permission. And I have to select my team members - I have to work out how we are going to do it,” Hayes said. “With the waters being dried up now it’s so difficult to perceive how we can get this thing done. Selecting a team, learning how to ride camels - as those were the things to do,” He added. After securing all that he needed to have, Hayes had at last set off with his trek on October 30th last year, along with two guides and seven camels, in traditional Arabian garment, and as he’d said on his personal site; they “travel and survive by means close to the methods used by Thesiger and his companions.”
Hayes and his two Emirati companions Saeed Rashed Al Mesafry and Ghafan Mohammed Al Jabry, first set off from Salalah, Oman, where all the challenges and obstacles of their journey had greeted them with the sight of the mountains of Dhofar. “[Probably] the hardest part, was trying to get through the Dhofar Mountains which were bush and jungle all around,” Hayes said, somewhat reminded of the strain that they faced upon that portion of their crossing. “I was trying to work out a way of getting through there with or without camels,” He continued. Struggles were met by his team as they pressed on, but having experienced surviving in the desert during his army days, and not to mention the rigorous planning that he had done before the journey, it had made things a bit more bearable for Hayes. “The whole trip took 44 days, and that would measure up to exactly 1,600 km. We did it much faster than when they did it before in the 40’s - we were moving quickly,” Hayes noting his two-year preparation and navigation skills had paid off quite well. Hayes and his two Emirati companions completed their journey on December 12th,
2011 as they entered the city of Abu Dhabi on camel-back. They were greeted by people as they finally reached the city’s Corniche area which marked the end of their 1,600 km journey. “There’s a huge outdoors environment out here, and plenty of cultural experiences that you can get into, even with [some] of the locals who live in the city! You’ve got everything out there; you don’t have to do twomonth trips as it would be a lot of work and is expensive. We could bring down things a bit and make it possible for everybody,” Hayes said, caught deeply by the serene and mysterious beauty of the Arabian Desert and the hospitality of its people.
“I got the chance to explore the vastness and the beauty of the Empty Quarter; it’s a pretty special place.”
Hayes concluded, with a breath of accomplishment that came from his heart. Thesiger chose to live a life of a modest man; born from a noble English family; his father was even a statesman in the Parliament, but he grew up among the people of Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia) in Africa and had learned to admire their modest way of living. His life was simple, free from the world’s excesses, a life which he found in his African home. He had done great treks and journeys over distant lands for his love to roam in the wilderness, be touched by its beauty, understand the people and walk among them. And like Thesiger, searching for beauty in a world that is simple had been a major part of Hayes’ journey ; doing the trek for the love of it, while showing the world the hidden beauty of the desolate lands of the Empty Quarter, together with the simple way of life of the desert-dwelling Bedouins, as he followed in the footsteps of a noble nomad.
Desert Adventure Challenge
Words: Kevin West
The stark dunes just off the Dubai to Hatta Road were invaded by 132 people, some with plastic bags duct taped to their shoes, for the first annual Desert Adventure Challenge on May 10. Teams of two or three had the choice of an 18km or 36km course to complete – running, walking, or crawling if needed be – over the dunes.
The Main Camp which was also the Start and Finish area was located just off a road near to Nazwa. Most teams had already attended either one of the Event Briefings that had been held over the previous two weeks at Adventure HQ back in Times Square Centre in Dubai. The start was between 7 and 9pm so that teams would have the time to get ready. Teams had to check in their equipment, which included items such as GPS, 1st Aid kit, head torches, to the two well-trained 9 year old girls, Alia and Yalena. The next step was to get glow sticks attached by 11 year old Elias, and to get timed out by the adults. The start procedure ensured every team had the necessary means to survive the hike and other eventualities, safety being the number one consideration. Desert hiking is a challenge in many ways. You simply can’t go ‘as the crow flies’ because the dunes will eat you up if you do that; the inclines will destroy those calf muscles, hamstrings, and quads in a few kilometers. Instead, it’s more efficient to take “as a camel ambles” approach; imagine you are one of these casually-minded beasts and take the way how they get across the sands. Not only is route-finding a constant puzzle to work out, but you need to follow the GPS and check the route ahead for various obstacles like vegetation, and wildlife. It looked like Hill 59 has now made its way into Outdoor UAE folklore as it left a lasting impression on all who confronted its sandy flanks. From the ridge views of the Hill 59 Checkpoint, we could see a long stream of glow sticks extending from the Start of the 2.8km distance. My colleague Hasan and I were manning the Hill 59 Checkpoint. Although those who emerged at the top were to use the technical term ‘knackered’, they all recovered fast when they saw the view, refreshed with drinks and ready for the 9 km trek across to Nazwa, which could be easily seen in the evening sky strewn with
stars and the fuzziness of star dust. It is easy to say thanks to the real King of 59, Hasan, who helped me lug a cool box with ice up the hill and to the three loonies who a week before struggled up with nearly 20 bottles of 1.5 liter water and buried them for the checkpoint. As Julio, who just won his age group in Ironman South Africa and is going to the World Championships in Hawaii later this year, said after carrying the water, “That was the hardest things I’ve ever done.” Off to Nazwa went the teams and to Checkpoint 2. This was an easy jaunt compared to Hill 59 and reasonably flat, as flat as the desert ever can be. Checkpoint 2 was a smorgasbord compared to Checkpoint 1 and most teams took a few extra minutes get down the drinks and eat some food here. Some had enough at this point and stopping was a wise decision for them because for the 18km route, they were only just over half way! And by the time the first teams were arriving out of the darkness of the desert for Checkpoint 3 (36km) or the actual finish (18km) decisions had been made. Some of the 36km teams had sensibly realized they had bitten off a bit too much flesh and made the decision to stop before they completely overextended themselves by doubling up the distance. Five teams carried on to finish the 36km which involved an out and back route over some remote desert to Checkpoint 4, also called “Middle of Nowhere.” Team “Run Further” raced around the 36km (though the actual distance was probably longer with the dunes to navigate) in an amazing time of just over 5 hours! The 18km title went to “The Dubai Sandblasters” who galloped around in just over 3 hours. From 132 participants only 13 did not finish which means slightly less than 10%. I think that’s very impressive considering the challenge and the fact that most people had only walked on sand at the beach before this event! It looks like people actually like this activity and we will be back with some more after the summer heat! Many thanks to Adventure HQ, Dubai TriPirates, and to everyone else who made this evening one to remember.
36km winners Darrel and Cath
TRAVEL + ADVENTURE
Missed the first part?
First source to sea descent of the Congo River
by Philip Harwood
The Lualaba forms the middle and lower Congo River, and though I would often experience tremendous hospitality from the indigenous poverty stricken fishermen, unsavoury characters were also becoming more common. Trying to sneak past the town of Kabalo in the early morning mist, I was forced ashore at gunpoint and subjected to a rather aggressive search. It culminated in me refusing to empty my pockets and take off my shirt, at which point I was taken away for questioning and later arrested and put into a jail full of prostitutes. My crime was for physically preventing the immigration official from leaving his office, as he had put my passport in his pocket and told me I wouldn’t get it back unless I gave him a hundred dollars. I eventually managed to resolve the situation. The next night by way of contrast, I spent with a couple of delightful old fishermen on an island in the river. The town of Kongolo was a perfect example of how President Mobutu’s criminal reign had caused the country’s infrastructure to collapse. The shore was littered with the rusting, decaying hulks of giant river barges, reminiscent of a bygone age. A large tree growing out of one of the holds served as an example as to how long they had been there. Further inland I discovered a roofless warehouse with three perfectly intact, albeit rusted solid old-fashioned steam engines, abandoned to the eleme nts.
Check out last month’s issue online at www.outdooruae.com
In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad said that being on the lower Congo River was: Like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish.
There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. On silvery banks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flow through a mob of wooded islands; you lost your way on the river as you would in a desert… this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.
has worked all over the world as an expedition leader, outdoor instructor, development trainer and Royal Marine Commando. His book and award winning documentary film of the trip ‘Mazungu’ (filmed himself) is only available from his website: www. canoeingthecongo.com
One stretch of the lower Congo River was known locally as ‘The Abattoir,’ due to its past history of cannibalism and its current reputation for criminal activity. Because of this, I decided to hire four brothers as bodyguards. I met them whilst sheltering from a rainstorm in their tiny village miles from anywhere, and straight away I knew I could trust them. Armed with a shotgun and with my canoe lashed to their giant dugout, we paddled and floated for five days and nights on the river. Common questions from locals were: “Why haven’t you cut his throat yet?” and “if you don’t want to do it, tell us where your camping and we’ll come and do it for you… We’ll share his money.” Without a doubt, the brothers Valatay, Leonardo, Maurice and John, were one of the highlights of the trip. As desperately poor as they were, they were shining examples of how to retain your dignity and honour in the face of adversity. If my scrapes with the criminal element ever caused my faith in humanity to waver… these guys definitely restored it.
Make sure you pick up Philip’s book and DVD, from www.canoeingthecongo.com.
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TRAVEL + ADVENTURE
DSDC ‘PRIVATE’ TRIP TO THE
DSDC – Desert Sports Diving Club is a social club with an addiction to diving. Members of all nationalities and training agencies dive every Friday and Saturday (and many public holidays) using club boats as well as dhows and fast-boats in the Musandam. Dive trips and holidays are regularly organised and referred to as “private” trips. Friendships are made that last for years and the diving covers all levels from Open Water to Extreme Technical.
Early on Friday morning five DSDC members met up in Dubai Terminal 3 to catch the red-eye to Manila... which was delayed by three hours due to fog. We eventually arrived to be met by Craig an old DSDC member who recently returned to Scotland for money and the sunny climate (not) and had flown in via Schiphol in the Netherlands where “security” had kindly purloined a dive cylinder from his luggage in transit. A couple of mini-buses picked up the team and their dive gear and - after stopping to buy essential provisions (beer) - we headed off to Batangas to get a boat to Puerto Galera (PG). The driving in the Philippines is just as hectic as Dubai but a damn sight more polite – quite refreshing really. We arrived at Batangas and boarded the Banca (boat with outriggers) for the 45 minute trip to Oriental Mindoro Island and PG. Our kit was unloaded and carried up to our rooms by the lovely staff at the El Galleon Resort... we’d chosen Deluxe Seaview rooms and ended up about 2.3m away from St. Peter’s Gate... halfway up the mountain. The view in the morning was fantastic but the steps (85 of them) certainly helped with keeping the beer gut in check. A relaxing morning saw us having a late breakfast and investigating the local diving facilities. Dave at Tech Asia proved an invaluable asset in helping us sort out gasses and Sofnolime for the rebreathers and pretty soon three of us were jumping in from the Asia Divers boat for a gentle drift dive to check out the kit and break into the holiday.
Beautiful, colourful reefs
Ruth, Dmitry and Oxana took the opportunity to go shopping in PG and we all met up later at the Point Bar for some liquid refreshment before heading to Hemmingways for dinner – very good. On the recommendation of Stuart (another DSDC member) we asked for an opportunity to dive Verde Island the next day and following an early start we jumped in to be greeted by fantastic visibility (>30m) and a beautiful reef with such a prolific array of life we were amazed. Two dives later we were back in PG and headed for lunch at El Galleon and a rendevouz with Bob & Jan (DSDC Country Members) who had flown in from Sydney (Oz) that morning – the gang was complete. Another evening of beers and merriment
Not so colourful Nudibranch
Tabletop coral on Apo Reef
followed by an early start again the next day for a return visit to Verde... the diving was so good that we wanted Bob & Jan to experience it too. Once again great visibility greeted us along with Titan Trigger Fish, Cornet Fish, vicious Clown Fish, Lion Fish and a huge number of very ornate Nudibranchs – at points it was difficult to see for all the sealife. On returning to PG we met up with Ralph, a genial German who was to be our guide, host and a bemused onlooker to our antics on Rags II for the next eleven days. Shortly afterwards the cheery crew arrived to transport all our kit around the headland to the mooring where our floating home was waiting. The first evening we were introduced to the crew and the fantastic cooking of Chef Sonny... this genius produced a cordon bleu meal for nine people in a small galley and the food is excellent. Every meal you can make your selection from an extensive menu (109 dishes including deserts!) and Sonny will prepare it to your exact requirement. Overnight we motored to Apo Marine Reserve each pair in our own air-conditioned cabins lulled to sleep by the gentle sway of Rags and the thrum of the engines driving us on. Rags doesn’t provide luxuries like the Ritz but is comfortable, spacious and an
Ripping current on Apo 29
ergonomic dream as a dive platform. The crew are delightful and Pursor, Divina keeps everyone cheerful and well cared for. We arrived at Apo first thing in the morning and our daily routine started to take form. Up at 6:30, if you wanted to do the first dive of the day, and into the water with Ralph and Joseph the Dive Guide. Apo is a small island between Oriental Mindoro and Coron and is surrounded by beautiful reefs, deep walls and a huge array of submerged cliffs over an area of many square miles. With three dives a day (and more available) we experienced drift dives, gentle plateau dives and “hold on to your regulator” pinnacle dives with a regular cast of Reef Sharks, Trevally, Tuna, Turtles and the odd Eagle Ray all in more than 30m of visibility. On one wall dive we descended to find a Turtle taking his afternoon constitutional, leaving him we descended into a flurry of Sharks and then, carried by the current, we drifted along spotting three Napoleaon Wrasse, several large Giant Trevally (see photo), Rainbow Runners, Blue Fin Trevally, more Sharks and finally (after a 74 minute dive) another Turtle. Most dives followed a similar format. The first morning dive was followed by breakfast, where Sonny tried to give us all
coronaries with a slap up feast, followed by a surface interval until the late morning dive. This was followed by lunch - Sonny’s magic again – and an afternoon dive. By this time it was beer o’clock and we retired to the front deck, sun deck or the communal living area to prepare for the next gastronomic assault by the Master Chef. Several days at Apo had us yearning for a bit of rust so we headed off to Coron where a fair proportion of the Japanese Second World War fleet had been sunk in a surprise air attack by the US Navy. Ralph really came into his element here showing the more fanatical wreck-heads into the engine rooms, propeller shafts, holds and decks of the huge selections of wrecks available. For those of a more recreational mind Joseph conducted more sedate dives outside the hulls showing the beautiful array of marine life that has grown on these vessels since their sinking over sixty years ago. Visibility varied up to 25m and depths to 40m but in every location there was something for
About to be picked up by Rags II
everybody. We dived Nanshin Maru in great visibility, Okikawa Maru - where we swam the complete length of the ship inside the hull through holes in bulkheads - and Akitsushima with its shell lift (complete with live shells) and aircraft crane. On Irako we swam through the propeller shaft at 40m followed by a good look around the engine room, found a Blue Spotted Ray in the boiler of Ekkai Maru and a pair of Crocodile Fish in the engine room of Olympia Maru. Our last two wreck dives were on Kyokuzan Maru with great visibility and a massive amount of marine life to keep us company as we explored the holds looking at the two Japanese jeeps still recognisable in the silt. After each dive we surfaced up the buoy line to be met by two very comfortable ladders, crew to take your kit and a spacious dive deck to undress and stow everything away. Cylinders were filled with your gas of choice without even needing to be removed from your BCD and a convenient set of restrooms (male & female) allowed us to rinse off our cameras, computers and torches. On the subject of electrical equipment there is a whole rack dedicated to charging on the living area deck. A UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) protects the kit from power drops or surges and sockets of all sorts and nationality are available. We had about five laptops, eight torches and several cameras on the go at any time without any fighting for space. Power is available 24/7 unlike some dive boats – very convenient in our battery powered World. An added bonus was the presence on board of Karen who dispensed massages
to ease our weary bodies after a hard day’s diving... a strong lass considering how small her stature. We all took advantage of her services although it was only the ladies who went for the manicure. After nearly a week in Coron we headed back to Apo for more scenic diving with the sharks. One evening we had a BBQ on the beach – once again a full-service event from the tireless crew. For most this gave us a chance to stroll round the island and, for those with a head for heights, the opportunity to climb the lighthouse and see the lagoon and volcanic rock outcrops sticking out of the mangrove forest. A slightly bumpy journey back to PG with an amazing lightning display all round us was shrugged off by Rags who demonstrated her true seaworthiness. All in all a fantastic trip which we’d heartily recommend to any diver. We dived with rebreathers as well as open circuit and everyone’s needs were catered for with aplomb. The range of diving is varied but will keep divers of all skill levels happy – even the techies.
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TRAVEL + ADVENTURE
Atte Miettinen reaches his peak
After almost two months on Mount Everest we finally got the news we had been waiting for – a weather window seemed to be arriving, which would allow us to make a push for the summit!
My team of eight Western climbers, each paired with a local Sherpa and led by two Western guides set off from Everest Base Camp (EBC), at 5365m altitude, at 0300 on the morning of May 15th, in order to pass the infamous Khumbu Icefall before the heat of the day started melting the snow and ice making it extremely dangerous. The crevasses and daily avalanches of the Khumbu Icefall had already claimed several lives this season and our Sherpas, who hated the icefall, made the place even more surreal by chanting prayers the entire way through the area last time. We trekked in pitch-black with our way lit only by our headlamps. As we got close to the Khumbu Icefall, we suddenly heard the sound of a major avalanche on Nuptse, another +7000m mountain just a hundred meters away. Shortly afterwards we were sprayed by snow from the avalanche, but fortunately that’s the worse that it got. A few hours later, we were relieved to be out of the Khumbu Icefall and heading straight to Camp 2, sitting at 6500m. We had been at Camp 2 several times before, but the day’s gain of over 1100m in altitude made us all tired, so when we got the news that we would rest a day at Camp 2 before continuing up, everyone was happy. After the rest day, we continued from Camp 2 to the base of the Lhotse Face, a beautiful but dangerous wall of snow and ice that rises over one kilometre from the end of the Western Cwm towards China. At the base of the face, we put on our oxygen masks, switched on our supplemental oxygen and started climbing. We were climbing a new route - earlier this season, steady rock and ice fall earlier had forced expedition teams to find a new route up the face. The Lhotse Face is very steep at places, so we essentially climbed with the help of fixed ropes all the way – first through lower Camp 3 and eventually finding out tents at higher Camp 3. On the way, we came across tents completely destroyed by an avalanche and unfortunately also a Sherpa that had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was breathing, but in a lot of pain, after a falling serac had broken both of his femurs. High Camp 3, our home for the next few hours, was located at 7400m on a ledge with just enough space for the tents. We literally spent our entire time at the camp inside the tents – reminded by a story of a Japanese climber who stepped outside of his tent in 1996 to go to the bathroom, slipped, and slid down the entire 1000 meters of the Lhotse Face. The following morning we were preparing to make the move to our final camp, Camp 4, at 7900m, when a small avalanche hit my tent. It wasn’t dangerous, but enough to remind me of who’s king around here. The morning also brought some bad news. Mike, our lead guide, had gotten sick and was not able to continue. He turned around with one of my teammates who was also sick, so we were now down to seven climbers and one guide.
is a climber originally from Finland and is currently taking on the Seven Summits. Refer to our December 2011 issue and learn more about him in our people section.
I was shocked again when I stepped outside the tent to start the way to Camp 4. Over the past years, Mount Everest has become a popular destination, but I wasn’t expecting over 200 people moving in a queue up the mountain! I had no choice but to join the snail train up the mountain – there’s only one safety rope on the Lhotse Face, so trying to start passing people is a very dangerous game to play. Not that being stuck to a rope on a steep mountain is that much safer – over the next hours, I watched several oxygen bottles, a water bottle and a camera fly by – and counted my stars for not getting hit by any of them. Some 6.5 hours later I finally reached Camp 4, on the border of the “Death Zone”. The Death Zone is a term used by climbers to refer to altitude above 8000m. Human life cannot be sustained above this altitude, so rather than living, climbers are technically dying slowly the entire time they spend above 8000m, especially if without oxygen. I could feel the effects of the altitude, despite breathing supplemental oxygen, so I just crawled into my tent, which I was now sharing with two other people. Concerned about the traffic jam between Camp 3 and Camp 4, we made a decision to start our final summit push early, which meant 2000 hrs the same evening. In light of this, we laid in our tents, breathing oxygen and trying to eat and drink. We had been warned that during the summit push, the average climber burns around 15,000 calories, six days worth of energy for a normal man, and hence we needed to eat and drink as much as possible. However, one’s digestion system shuts down at this altitude and instead your body burns fat and muscle for energy, so I didn’t have such good luck eating and drinking, with my mind focused on the summit push instead. I couldn’t sleep either, so I started preparing early and was ready well before 2000 hrs. This turned out to be great as I was first to set off for the summit from my expedition – some of my teammates left 30 mins later
and were stuck behind a traffic jam of a 100 people. The route from Camp 4 at South Col to the top of the world is hard. The route climbs all the way to the summit without providing many places for rest. It took me about 3.5 hours to reach the Balcony, at 8400m, where I changed an oxygen bottle before continuing to the South Summit, at 8750m. Just to put things into perspective, I consider myself pretty fit and I was moving at less than 150 vertical meters per hour! I struggled to reach the South Summit and after finally reaching the top, I realised why – my oxygen mask had broken and I was now only breathing ambient air – with roughly 30% of the oxygen we’re used to at sea-level. There was no way to fix the mask, so I had to take the mask from my Sherpa, Pemba Dorjee, and send him back down to Camp 4 with the broken one, ending his chance to reach the summit. I then continued towards the summit and soon found myself staring at the almost vertical 12 foot Hillary Step, at 8760m altitude, named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who was first to summit Mount Everest in 1953. I pushed myself hard to climb the Hillary Step and soon after, found myself on the summit ridge. I felt very tired and moved slowly. I reached the summit just as the sun began to rise in the horizon and brought with it a beautiful glow around the mountains surrounding Everest.
It would have been great to stay and admire the sunrise for longer, but the weather was much colder than expected, around -40C and combined with heavy winds, made it the “ideal conditions” for developing serious cold injuries, such as frostbite. I preferred to make my descent without a cold injury, so rather than take my chances, I decided to head down early! I kept reminding myself that the summit was only half way and that I had several hours left before I was back in Camp 4 at the South Col, so after 15-20 mins on the summit, I unceremoniously turned around and started navigating my way back in what had developed into a major traffic jam of people on the narrow ridge leading to Hillary Step. The ridge has several kilometres of emptiness on both sides and with only one safety rope for the two way traffic to use, I manoeuvred around people very carefully, remembering that most accidents on Everest happen on the way down. It took me about five hours to reach the relatively safe Camp 4, where I collapsed into my tent or what I thought was my tent – I found the right one on the third try! My plan had been to descend to Camp 2 after the summit but my summit push, which had taken me about 14 hours, had wiped me out, so I decided to spend another night
at the South Col. The night was terrible. I ran out of oxygen, so sleeping wasn’t going to happen, so I just waited for the morning, lying in my down suit. When the morning arrived, I got a new bottle of oxygen and headed down the mountain. Pemba was now back with me, having been part of two rescues since leaving me at the South Summit, and we were making good time. We reached Camp 2 in about four hours, tired but happy to be in thicker air, where we no longer needed bottled oxygen. I spent the afternoon in Camp 2 sitting in the mess tent and trying to rehydrate. I must have had close to 15 cups of juice! While at Camp 2 I learned that five of our seven climbers as well as Andy, our guide, had made it to the summit. Few of my teammates had experienced similar situations as I did with my oxygen, but fortunately everyone returned alive. Four climbers from other expeditions had perished during their summit bids on the same route as us. However, not everyone was equally lucky. Duane, a 55-year old American, arrived to Camp 2 and mentioned in passing he couldn’t feel his toes. I asked to have a look at them, recognising obvious signs of frostbite we ended up having Duane evacuated by helicopter. He’s now at home in the US facing months of recovery, which will hopefully save his toes and thumb. Early the next morning I led my expedition down towards Everest Base Camp (EBC). Our remaining guide Andy had been forced to stay behind in Camp 2 with one of my teammates, so I volunteered to guide the rest of the team down. It was a great feeling to pass the Khumbu Icefall for the last time, see our camp and be welcomed by the camp staff – knowing that we were done and out of danger. Getting altitude related problems after returning to EBC is highly unlikely
so reaching EBC is kind of like reaching the finish line of a marathon...or well, a series of marathons. A couple of hours later, I had packed my bags and was sitting on a helicopter on the way to Kathmandu. It was a bizarre feeling, waking up at 6500m altitude and a few hours later having lunch at 1500m in central Kathmandu. I headed straight to lunch at the hotel – before even taking a shower. I looked bad enough for the restaurant manager at the hotel to come and ask me if I actually stayed at the hotel – I didn’t tell him that I had just climbed the highest mountain in the world, I’m not sure he would have understood how I felt.
MOUNTAINS (in the order Atte has climbed/yet t
A round-up of quality products available right here in the UAE
JULBO EYEWEAR - EXPLORER 522-990AED
Available at: Adventure HQ, Times Square, Dubai Developed in collaboration with the elite climbing school in Chamonix, France, Julbo Explorers are designed for the highest mountains and most extreme conditions. With removable side shields, and a range of lenses suited to mountains and glaciers, the Explorers are the eyewear of choice for Dubai-based mountaineer, Atte Miettinen, currently climbing Mt Everest. www.flipfloparabia.com/julbo
RCX5 GPS WATCH 1990AED
Available at: GO Sport Ibn Battuta Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Centre. Sports Direct, Khalidiyah Mall, Abu Dhabi RCX5 training computer, WearLink®+ Hybrid heart rate sensor, G5 GPS sensor, CS cadence sensor W.I.N.D., Universal Bike Mount, DataLink data transfer unit, Getting Started Guide, Sport Profiles guarantee switch switch between differen sports. Improves performance endurance training programs, downloadable from polarpersonaltrainer.com with Polar Datalink. Gives heart rate even in wate with a comfportable and disturbance-free hybrid transmitter*, Race Pace helps you cross the finish line in time, ZoneOptimizer coaches you to train at the right intensity.
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SHIMANO STRADIC 4000 CI4 FISHING REEL 1300AED
Available at: Ocean Active (in Dubai Garden Center) Shimano Stradic CI4 Fishing Reel 4000 Model features 7 bearings, a gear ratio of 5.8:1 and a line capacity of 8lb/240 yards, 10lb /200 yards, 12lb /160 yards fishing line. Max drag is 20lbs. The development of Shimano’s new CI4 carbon interfusion material has given birth to the Stradic CI4. Ultra-lightweight, precision componentry and clever design from Shimano engineers resulted in an unexpected present to Stradic fans around the world. Upon first impressions, the Stradic CI4 posses both ultra smooth and sleek panache yet resonates elements of aggression and power.
INNOVATIVE SCUBA T-2 SCUBA TOOL 130AED
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ENDURA FS260 PRO BIBSHORTS, BLACK II 445AED
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TITAN LX SUPREME ACD REGULATOR 1725AED
Available at: Adventure HQ in Times Square Center The challenge to the design team was clear, “Improve upon the current Titan LX.” While no one wants to “mess with success”, the designers rose to the occasion and, as usual, did not disappoint. Aqua Lung is excited to offer an all-new Titan LX for 2009. This beautifully redesigned Titan LX, while picking up exciting new features like Aqua Lung’s auto-closure device (ACD), is actually lighter weight, making it travel friendly. The ease of breathing is rated superior on the ANSTI breathing machine. All this, along with an attractive mid-range price, makes the Titan LX a sure value.
ALPINESTARS BIONIC NECK SUPPORT 1130AED
Available at: Sebsports +97143393399, www.sebsports.com The Bionic Neck Support functions by providing an alternative load path for the energy that compresses the neck. If the helmet is in contact with the BNS at the moment of impact the overall load passing through the neck can be reduced, which may prevent a fracture from occurring. It reduces the chance of muscular injuries from extreme head movement and helps prevent the most serious damage and while minimizing the risk of collateral injury as the impact load is channeled away from the neck. Compared to soft neck roll devices, the protection afforded is significantly better since soft devices deform on impact, offering no protection against the damaging compressive forces.
PRO SPORTS WATERPROOF IPOD/
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Available at: Go Sport in Ibn Batutta, Mirdif City Center, Mall of Emirates. Intersport in Times Square, DFC. Picnico in Jumeirah. Adventure HQ in Times square. Leisure Marine, JBR. A tough & fully adjustable Velcro sports arm strap gives you maximum movement, while the transparent front window allows full use of all touch screen controls and functions. Don’t worry if things get active, thanks to our 100% waterproof Slide Seal System™ this case can take a dunking and is guaranteed submersible to 19ft / 6m, plus it will float if dropped
SCUBA 45” SIGNAL TUBE 150AED
Available at: Go Sports The Dubai Mall Innovative Scuba 45” Signal Tube – An important safety device and a must for all divers these high visibility 45-inch cordura tubes come with screw-down oral inflator, divers safety whistle and vinyl light stick holder.
Making good use of the Summer:
SebSports use the time to work on custom projects
Summer hits Dubai and with the hot temperatures most riders take a break from motorcycling and other outdoor activities. The guys at Sebsports use this off-season to be able to pursue their real passion and that is producing one off custom projects for their customers.
People usually want to be unique and have their bikes personalized to their specific tastes and requirements, and this is where Sebsports comes in. Over the past 18 months, a variety of state of the art projects have been undertaken for some high-end customers and generally no ideas are too crazy! They take the experience that was learned from years of top-level racing and apply it to regular customers machines. They handle customised work like paintwork and other visual improvements but just as importantly performance and handling can be improved as well. One of their real strengths is restoring Classic motorcycles. With so many new cookie cutter motorcycles available nowadays, to really stand apart from the crowd one needs to ride a beautifully restored classic. Got any wild ideas you want made into reality? Need help to find something to suit your budget? Just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or pass by the shop for a cold drink and a chat, they guys at Sebsports.com are always willing to help!
Words: Kit Belen Photos: Leng Chua, Richard Peel, Luca Bonetti and Kit Belen
The Basics of
About 3 years ago a couple of friends and I went to fish the Sharjah Corniche. The high winds and rough water stirred up the bottom making the water not only muddy, but almost impossible to fish in. While the crashing waves mercilessly pounded the breakwaters, the biting cold and receding tide made this morning a real challenge to fish, not only for us but also for the others fishing around us. An old adage rang true to the dot that morning: “The best time for man to fish, isn’t necessarily the best time for the fish to bite.”
The only reason why we “risk” each weekend is because the obligations of life make it hard for us to do the things we love on a daily basis so we do what we can, when we can. Trudging back to the car, I noticed my friends sitting idly on the rocks at the edge of the beach. One asked if I was able to find a fishable area, my answer was a cold and flat, “No”. Surveying the area immediately near where we were parked, I saw a possible place. “It’s time to change tactics, I’m done playing around… time to catch some fish!” Harry, a big red headed German guy I grew up with in the Philippines, laughs and said “I’ll give you 50 Dirhams for each fish you catch. “Ok, you’re on!” I said with a sheepish smile. “This is almost like taking candy from a baby” I said to myself. I gingerly walked the wet rocks and got pounded by the crashing waves twice before I found a suitable casting platform, an arching cast sent my small Yo-zuri crystal minnow close to the rocks, the winds made it especially challenging to cast, but my cast was true and hit the mark I wanted to hit. On my second cast, a fish inhales the lure. From the tussle that ensued, it felt like a good fish, the fish gave me a few scares by running close to the rocks. Normally, with heavier tackle, I would be able to pressure the fish towards deeper water, but with thin diameter monofilament, a light rod and fishing dangerously close to rocks, it was a task even a titan would have trouble with. I somehow managed to tire the fish out and out of the murky waters came quite a surprising catch: A 2 kilo Golden Trevally. Harry, being the wise guy he is, said it was luck and it didn’t count. So I would have to catch another one to win the wager. My lure flew back to the same area and almost instantly, I hooked up again. This was followed by a few more fish until finally, I said I had enough. Harry said “ok, I owe you 50 Dirhams… but that’s it because you were cheating.”
The Birds tell you where the fish are!
Fishing deep water or shallow water, structure fishing is what it’s all about
Birds diving of fish boiling on top often gives you a surprise, like a grouper feeding on top
Is it Luck or skill?
Being able to find fish in challenging conditions isn’t a matter of casting out your
lure on a prayer. It takes some understanding and knowledge to be able to consistently get the results you want, in our case, it’s to get a fish to bite. The reason why I was successful that day was because I knew that the highest probability of finding fish was in that single area I found. Amidst the turbid water, I found
Fish are lazy
It doesn’t matter if you’re fishing in 1 meter of water or water that’s 1 kilometre deep, the story remains the same, fish would want to spend less energy fighting the current and will spend it more on chasing down a meal. This basically means that if you cast your lure and it that lands a meter away from where a fish sits; your chances of catching it will be higher than a cast that lands 10 meters away, because it would spend less energy chasing the closer one than one that’s farther down.
The boils and the birds
A queenfish caught off a ledge, a structure we often fish but don’t know why
The most common way of finding fish is following the birds. Although this could sometimes be challenging because birds travel very fast and the boils don’t last very long. If you do encounter birds diving around boils it could sometimes be quite magical. At times, you would find yourself casting almost anything at them, and you get a strike! If you do get a chance to get a cast in while fishing from a kayak or boat, you often get rewarded with some surprising catch, like an occasional bottom feeder such as a grouper coming up to hit your bait or lures. Fishing really isn’t that complicated than we make it. You just have to understand a few things to make it work for you. Obviously, it won’t always go our way but that’s what makes fishing such a great sport. The hunt for fish that could outsmart us gets us going back and looking forward to our next trip. It’s a never ending cycle that we enjoy and only a few can understand. I hope you can find use for the things I’ve shared here this month. Email me if you have questions: email@example.com I’ll answer some in the next issue. Till next tide change,
Dorado haunt the ships, a floating structure
a “crack” of clear water near the rocks, going towards deeper water. This area had a patch that could hold some fish. In that situation 3 years ago, I was right. Fish aren’t as dumb as a lot of people think, they have brains too. They have habits and it’s up to us to understand and capitalize on those habits.
they know it, bigger fish would have eaten them. Predatory fish know when and where these situations happen and cannot pass up the easy meal.
Structure, structure and more structure
Fish need structure; much like how women need malls. Structure gives them shelter, security and an abundance of food. More importantly, structure breaks the current flow and helps them conserve energy, energy that they can use on their afterburners to chase down a worthy meal, like your shiny new lure.
The murky water that day made it ideal for them to hunt in the shadows and “peek” into the clear water where baitfish gathered. As the waves pound against the rocks, smaller fish will become disoriented, before
Fish are opportunistic and love to ambush their prey
Knee deep on the flats, fishing off a shell bed, a kind of structure
FRIDAY the 13th
Words: John Basson
I am by no means superstitious, but, and there is always a “BUT”, the following ride just happened to be on Friday the 13th!
We were a group of 8 quads and 4 bikes getting together at our usual spot when riding from Dubai. The weather was great, we were all ready for action and with Tiennie in the lead it was bound to be a fast ride. It was peak season and with many groups/ riders criss-crossing everywhere Tiennie led us on a slightly different route to avoid the traffic. It was indeed a fast ride and as no one wanted to be left behind; our machines were roosting mounds of sand as they came out of the corners and over the top of the dunes. As I have stated many times before, we are not professionals, but I think the speed at which Tiennie was setting the pace was not far off. We eventually got to Al Badayer area where many locals have weekend camps. We slowed down the pace as we navigated past the camps in the direction of the fuel station. Then, crossing what was literally the last dune before the main road the following happened: I was number two, behind Tiennie, and as we crossed the top I went wide to avoid being sand blasted by Tiennie’s Raptor. Now on the shaded side of the dune and abeam of Tiennie, on his left, I saw Tiennie literally disappear! Still bedazzled with “What the hell just happened?” Jakes also disappeared! Only then did I realize there was a vertical drop where they were riding. I immediately tried to stop but the dune was too steep and I only managed to stop once past them. I jumped off as I was trying to signal the oncoming riders to stop. They were not fast, but this drop was impossible to see. With me waving, Craig also went over the edge, but managed to slow down before going over. Michael also went over, but both he and Craig managed to stay on the bikes. By now those that missed the drop had all stopped and everybody was waving franticly to stop the remaining riders. Once everybody had stopped I ran to Tiennie and Jakes, who were still both on the ground, and their quads upside down. Jakes managed to stand up but Tiennie was down and visibly in pain. His
boot got caught in the quad as it rolled. He was convinced that he had broken his foot, as the pain was unbearable! Jakes told me that he had gone over the bars, landed on his head, and then felt the quad hit him on his back as it “flipped” over him, but he was fine, apart from some hurt muscles on his neck! Tiennie was trying
his best NOT to act like a downed football player faking an injury, but with torn ligaments in his ankle, he was in lots of pain! At the time we also thought he might have broken his collarbone but luckily that was not the case. We were very lucky that this happened only 500m from a road and the recovery was fairly simple. Jakes, a paramedic, stayed with Tiennie whilst we left to collect the vehicles and trailers. This took a while as we were about 30km from the starting point. While we were gone, a lone rider on a quad crossed the dune at the same point. Jakes tried his best to indicate to him to stop, but this guy also crashed. Apparently he bent the bars on his KTM (with his chest) and he took about 30 minutes to recover… Craig, Tieninie’s son, drove their pickup and I took mine with the trailer to get Jakes. By the time we had returned Tiennie was better but only till he attempted to get up and into their Pickup… He opted to rather lie down in the back of the pickup than try and sit on the bench seat. They first had to go home and get cleaned up before going to hospital. Why? Because some medical funds in the UAE DO NOT cover you for injury from quad or off-road events! (Read the small print on your policy) Beware of going to the hospital with “serious” injuries and telling them you fell off your quad bike or rolled the car in the dunes! Tiennie was 100% fine when he got home, but subsequently fell from the stairs and “again” injured his ligaments and collarbone requiring him to go for x-rays… We were very lucky to escape with minor injury. This incident did not happen while we were speeding, it was at a relaxed pace and the first time any of us had encountered something like this. Be prepared at all times and wear all your safety kit! If Tiennie did not have his boots on, Jakes his helmet, they would surely have sustained more than torn ligaments… Ride Safe and Go For Gold,
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e dventurick Ch A ON THE TRAILS IN SHANGRI-LA
Once upon a time, all my holidays tended to be about fun in the sun, partying in exotic places or indulging in retail therapy in the world’s greatest cities. Of course, the trips on the piste in the Alps or stateside as well as the odd big mountain climb featured but generally, holidays were more about chilling with a cocktail rather than charging up a mountain.
Then something happened. I discovered the joys of running events in far flung corners, opportunities to really escape the tourist trail and delight in running free on trails where life seems to stand still, where villages are steeped in history, where the ravaged faces of villagers tell a thousand tales. These events have taken me from the city lights of Singapore (so I could combine with my little sister’s 30th birthday party), the lakeside of Balaton in Hungary (a perfect opp to have a city hop in Budapest with my mum afterwards), the trails on the outskirts of Paris (enter – girly trip with muchos vino and shopping) and many many more… including Nepal, where I sometimes wonder whether I should have a KTM-based pied a terre. Last month, my running adventures took me to Lijiang in the far west of China. In the heart of Shangri-La and near the border of Tibet, Lijiang is possibly the world’s coolest town. I wasn’t sure what to expect. With our capacity to share and access information and the sheer amount we all travel, few places leave us surprised or remain a secret. Lijiang however, is an exception, with the old town being possibly the most charming place I have ever discovered. A true treasure. Sitting on the banks of the Jinsha River, Lijiang is home to a handful of tribes but in particular, the Naxi people. The town, sitting at 2,400m, has a history going back 800 years or so and is a UNESCO Heritage
writer, runner, blogger & adidas athlete PS. My email address is tori@fitchicksandfastwomen. com for thoughts, ideas, and suggestions… or just to say hello!
Site. The old town is basically a giant maze of gorgeous narrow streets surrounded by tree covered, snow-capped mountains. With it’s waterways and bridges, quaint shop houses and colourful stalls, funky cafes and bijou bars, this is one place where you could wander the streets for hours and never get bored.
Getting to the start line alone was a mission. I had a night to rest after flying into HK from DXB then the morning after, a taxi / MTR / limo later we arrived over the Chinese border at the airport in Shenzhen. Around seven hours (yes SEVEN HOURS) later we finally bordered the plane to Kunming and from there, boarded another plane to Lijiang. We arrived late, falling into bed gone midnight with only a few hours to sleep before rising again for the onward journey to the race start. Brutal … but I guess it’s their very remoteness that makes these events so special.
or so, I was just full throttle up and down majestic mountains, awesome ascents and demon descents. The countryside was stunning with wide open plateaus, dense pine needle forests, windy dirt trails and quaint villages where life just seems to stand still and the villagers were all out, less to cheer us on and more in wonder at what on earth we were doing! It was a magical day and we finished it, sitting around the super cool Sean’s Guest House… eating, chatting and laughing, eating chatting and laughing.
On day 1, we started running at around 2,800m so from the very first click, you could feel your lungs fighting to absorb the thin air… it’s like running with a sock in your mouth for anyone not acquainted with altitude. For the next six hours
Day 2 was the same again. I started with a problematic Achilles tendonitis strapped up so tightly I could barely move so a few clicks in, out came the scissors from my pack and after setting myself free, I could run like Forrest once more. A top up of Vitamin I also helped ease the throbbing pain. Day 2 was longer but less technical and with less elevation so we all finished in similar times to the day before. Again, another avo and evening ensued of fabulous company from old and new friends. I love the people you meet at events like these… a melting pot of nationalities, career choices, backgrounds, ages and stages… all bound by a shared love of personal adventure, physical challenge and for making the most of our days.
Day 3 was the final stretch… a gradual incline to 3,200m then a steep decline through a tough and technical pine needle forest. My legs were screaming at the start but once I got going, I got into my flow and felt I could run forever. We finished at the side of a gorgeous lake and I could see in the distance, the few runners ahead of me already stretching their limbs, sipping beers and sharing their tales of the day. We lunched, we drank, awards were awarded
and photos were captured. We then boarded the buses back to Lijiang for hot showers and rest before doing our best to clear the wine cellar at the Banyan Tree bar.
From start to finish…
The entire event was fabulous from start to finish, the logistics, organisation, route markings and accommodation all second to none. Organised by Action Asia who run no end of adventure events in Hong Kong and then a handful of fantastic multi day trips throughout the year, this was a 100km ultra with a lot of mountains to climb. There was also a 60km option for those without a few screws loose! As for the location of this event, my initial expectation of endless rice paddies was fast replaced with mammoth mountains, deep blue lakes, dense forests, quaint villages, dramatic ridges with sheer drops to one side and snow-capped peaks to the other. Spectacular! On the final morning, before going our separate ways, we talked, four of us about what next. We all agreed that it’s trips like these, amazing adventures in awe-inspiring places that are the perfect backdrop to point us in the right direction and help us choose which trail to take next. So on that note, Outdoor UAE readers, here’s to those trails. May they always hand us a generous serving of fun, adventure, camaraderie, physical challenge and spiritual enlightenment.
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Sometimes we drive our cars to the most inaccessible places. We put them under excessive strain, expose ourselves to risk and we do this on purpose. But for what reason? Well, it’s usually to get to somewhere that very few vehicles or people have ever been before and to appreciate the, invariably, stunning views. Mountain climbing in the UAE in your car is possible if you know where to go and it’s a great alternative to the dunes when the Summer heat arrives.
There are some limiting factors which you need to consider before you set off and do some of the most demanding mountain routes. You need to ask yourself the following questions: Do I have a head for heights, does my car have AT or MT tyres and does it have locking differentials and low ratio gearing, does it have good ground clearance and will I really mind if I bash it about a bit and shred the tyres? Do I fancy a real 4x4 challenge ? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, then you can stop reading now. If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to all the questions, then you’re in for a treat. One of the best places to find such tracks is on the border of the Omani enclave adjacent to Khorfakhan. About 5 – 6 years ago a project was carried out to place border marker posts on the tops of the mountain ridgelines in order to demarcate the border between the enclave and the UAE. Rough tracks were constructed to get to the ridgelines and place the border marker posts, and then the tracks were abandoned. So, as you can probably imagine, these tracks take you to the most stunning view points but after 5 years of neglect they have become something of a real challenge to drive up. But, before we get to the tracks we need to talk a little bit abut how we drive these tracks. What are the techniques and what are
is an avid adventurer. He is also the expert behind the ME4x4 supplements that we have shared with you over the year. We will also be bringing you his ‘opus’, if you will, in the form of a book entitled ‘Advanced Off-Road Adventure Routes for the UAE and Oman’. Available now at www.outdooruae. com and Adventure HQ, Times Square Mall, Dubai.
the suggested tips for successfully negotiating them? Without exception they are all steep and loose, deeply rutted, strewn with small and large boulders, often very narrow and also very exposed, particularly on the ridgelines. The first thing we need is a good set of tyres. AT tyres are a minimum requirement. They provide robustness and grip, which less aggressive tyres don’t. You need to deflate them to absorb the shape of the rocks you drive over; to lessen the chances of punctures and to provide more traction. On my last trip on such mountain routes, I was
It Takes All Sorts
down to 15psi; you may need to go lower if you need more traction. You need to be in low ratio for ascent and descent and you need to engage your differential locks; centre and rear as a minimum on the worst and steepest tracks. If you don’t have differential locks, you’ll need a high level of axle articulation to keep all 4 tyres on the ground, and you’ll probably need over-sized, aggressive tyres too. A limited slip differential may prove to be adequate on some of the tracks but when your tyres
...Not for the faint hearted or inexperienced.”
start slipping and you’ve deflated as much as you’re prepared to, you may have to retreat. Drive slowly and accurately up the tracks. Don’t rush at them, with spinning tyres because you’ll be out of control and will ruin the track for anybody else that is following you. If your tyres do slip, stop, and try deflating them some more. If boulders are blocking your way, you should get out of the car and try and move them to the side. If smaller rocks and debris are on your intended line, again, get out of the car and move them to the side. It’s far better to make the effort to do this, than risk excessive tyre or even vehicle damage by driving over them. When you reach the top and have taken your photos at the border marker post, you have to turn your cars around and head back down. The turn around areas at the tops of these tracks are small and you should not go with more than 4 cars because there’ll be no room to manoeuvre. In some cases the hairpin bends are so sharp you may need to reverse up the slope to reach the summit. Consequently your driving skills need to be good and you shouldn’t try it unless you have a good deal of experience of this type of driving. When descending, you need to be in low ratio and in the lowest gear you have that will allow you to use engine breaking on the descent; this means taking your feet off all the peddles and steering the car only. When the tracks become excessively steep or you need to negotiate an obstacle, then you can use your foot brake, but use
it sparingly. You do not want to lock your wheels by braking on a steep and loose descent because it will turn your car into an uncontrollable sledge and disaster will not be far away. If you find yourself unable to get up a steep and loose slope and there is no room to turn around, or to try and do so may result in a roll-over, you will have to reverse. This is potentially the most dangerous aspect of trying to climb these tracks. You must get someone to act as a guide. You need to use engine braking as much as possible but be aware that your reverse gear ratio will probably be lower than your low ratio first gear; thus there is a danger that you will have to use the foot brake more than is desirable and you could lose control more easily. And, of course, driving backwards down a steep slope is inherently more difficult than driving forwards. Reverse as slowly as you can, to a point where you can safely turn around. Having described some tips and techniques, and some of the dangers, I do need to add that it is a tremendous thrill to navigate your way up these tracks and to
plant your car adjacent to a border marker post and to revel in the ridiculosity of the position. The views at these altitudes are sublime and in the Summer heat there’s almost always a cooling breeze. You can put out your vehicle awning, set up a chair or two and enjoy a picnic lunch in a place that few have ever been to. Of course, all this is aimed a whetting your appetite to get out there and have a go. Ok, so you now want to know where you can find these tracks. If you’ve got the guidebook, you’re halfway there. Go to Route 9 - Masafi to East Coast and follow it. The route description lists various diversions from the main route and you should follow the diversion described from MC6. You will then start to see these tracks ascending to the various ridgelines and you will also see how incredibly steep and rough they are. These tracks are potentially lethal and you need to accept the fact that you do them entirely at your own risk. It’s not too late to let discretion be the better part of valour at this point, before you commit yourself and any followers to a deadly drive. There are at least 6 possible mountain climbing tracks for you to try here but, as the guidebook says: “You may, at your peril, wish to explore these too. Not for the faint hearted or inexperienced.”
Toby on Generation X
Toby Foord-Kelcey is the author of “UAE Rock Climbing”, the first printed guidebook to UAE and Musandam climbing. More details can be found at www.redarmadapublishing.com
Words: Toby Foord-Kelcey
Last week I resigned from my Abu Dhabi job. After seven years there and a previous fifteen years in similar office enslavement in the UK, I figure this is my last chance to focus exclusively on rock climbing before my body wears out.
I will miss
I am moving to western Canada, to a town with a lifetime of granite challenges, from boulders to 500m walls. I am excited about that but there’s no doubt that leaving the UAE will be bittersweet. Inevitably plunged into nostalgia mode already, I thought I would indulge that with a list of things I am going to miss most. In ascending order of regret:
Obviously I won’t be missing UAE roads or road users. But I have developed a soft spot for petrol stations, which form critical milestones and refuges on the long hauls from Abu Dhabi to any climbing. I have some specific favourites. Outbound: the Emarat in Adhen during trips to Dibba. Low on gimmicks – no doughnut dispenser, only a rudimentary coffee machine, but friendly and (implausibly) has the cleanest public toilet in the UAE. Or if heading to RAK, another Emarat, well positioned near the entrance to Wadi Bih, with good coffee and pastries. Homebound: the decent chips of the Khatim ADNOC midway back from Al Ain. Or more recently, from Dibba or RAK, the Thai Express/ Subway/ Burger King options at the little used new EPCO on the D57.
5. UAE Petrol Stations
4 3 2
Campfires are enjoyable anywhere in the world, but are somehow subtly better here. I think it’s partly the near zero threat of rain and the way the still desert night wraps around you; like an intimate room rather than outdoors. Burning wood in this land of few trees feels wrong of course. It would be disastrous if everyone were out foraging for dead branches every weekend. My guilt has been reduced by my landlord taking down a tree in my villa garden, at a neighbour’s request, leaving me with my own log supply.
3. Echo Beach, Tawiyan
Named for the Martha and the Muffins song (“my job is very boring I am an office clerk…”, you can google the rest), Echo Beach is the route that has taken me the longest time to complete here. I bolted it in summer 2008 then tried it regularly afterwards until the first ascent in March 2009. It is steep 20m high overhanging by about 5m – so an endurance test as well as demanding some technique and strength. A feature of extended route sieges is that the moves start to haunt your daily life, so three years on I can still visualize every hold. Two major blocks had to be overcome during my efforts. First, just being strong enough to undercut tiny edges at an overhang around 7m. I replicated this section at home to train for it. Second, you need the stamina to keep moving above there without rest through a “heart breaker” pull to a good hold. Other people have since got stopped by the continued strenuous climbing higher up, where a giant reach off a single side edge gains a deep can’t- let-go-now slot.
Dan Cieszynski finishing Echo Beach
2. Acquiescence, Wadi Ghalilah
a long wall linking interesting features: short grooves, cracks and a ramp. Pitch four is easy but sensationally exposed, with nice face moves leading to a final awkward exit; keeping success in question right to the end. The top is a sensational ledge overlooking everything with the feel of some mythical giant eagle’s nest. A stone dropped from there touches nothing on its way to the ground.
The Adhen Emarat
The best route in the region, really! Acquiescence climbs a 130m (dry) waterfall line central to the Shady Circus cliff in Wadi Ghalilah. Because the cascade drains the 1000m face above through a narrow V-notch, when water is flowing it is very powerful. Consequently the wall has been eroded into a pristine and very solid structure. The climb has four pitches, enough to give an adventurous feel but not enough to necessitate an early start or similar alpine style drama. Each pitch has a different character. Pitch one wrestles a tough crack, then swings left to cross an overhang into a bottomless corner. Pitch two climbs the corner, initially very tenuously on the slickest rock imaginable then with more powerful positive moves. Pitch three tackles
My first boat trip up the wild coast north of Dibba was an inflection point in my time in the UAE, where my appreciation of the region’s climbing potential and beauty shifted from “it’s OK” to “wow!” Since then I have spent more than a cumulative month climbing there, mostly deep water soloing (see Outdoor UAE’s July 2011 edition for an article purely on that topic). Recently my obsession has narrowed to a single DWS route: Generation X, established by the well-known British climber Neal Gresham on his visit last April. It’s similar to Echo Beach in angle, scale and difficulty but climbed unroped above the sea from a footless start over a cave. Last year I splashed down from it five times from two different critical points. I had anticipated a similar spanking from it this season, especially after six months out with a shoulder injury. Instead, perhaps thanks to a very supportive audience, I managed it on my first attempt. Sometimes unexpected over-achievement feels like it carries a message. In this case I am sensing strongly that this is as good as it gets and I should quit while I’m ahead!
1. The Musandam Coast
Postscript: In between finishing this ar-
Nasim Eshqi following Acquiescence
ticle and sending it to the magazine, I ignored my own advice and was back on the coast for yet another DWS session. The objective was to repeat The Fixer, a straightforward but very tall solo. To descend I had planned to down‐climb, but instead in a moment of deluded omnipotence decided to take the express elevator: a jump into the sea from about 25m. Now I am nursing a suspected broken rib. The irony!
Al Boom Marine Team’s Omeir Saeed
Words: Angelo Cabrera
14-year-old Omeir Saeed may look like the average highschool stud to you at first glance, but with what he does for fun, you’d better reconsider that first impression well.
Saeed learned to snowboard when he was 12, but more recently he has developed an insatiable knack for wakeboarding. So much so, he’s been riding the board like a pro in just under a year. He currently represents the Al Boom Marine Team and practices his wares during the weekends as he takes a break from the meager confines of schoolwork! “My friend brought me to the cable park and I got addicted to it,” Omeir said, pertaining to the cable park facility at Al Forsan International Sports Resort where he first saw the sport. “[I loved it] because when I land a new trick, there is no better feeling than the good adrenaline rush that I get from it,” He explained. “I practice every day in the trampoline and I have a very good instructor,” Saeed said, explaining how he got his wakeboarding skills in tip-top shape in just eight months time. Saeed is currently ranked 2nd in the nationals and at present, 5th in the world standings in the under-18 category. But even with the training marked daily on his schedule, Saeed does not forget to straighten out his studies as he gets homework done before he does his stuff on the board. “I also balance my school work and wakeboarding equally – I study during the week and ride during the weekend,” Saeed said. When asked about how his parents coped
with the extremeness of the sport, Omeir made sure that he was going to be alright, considering the potential hazards of wakeboarding. “Yes [they feel scared] but I told them it’s ok if I crash – it’s only water, but it hurts. I take care of not crashing too hard,” Saeed replied. On assessing the wakeboarding scene here in the UAE, Saeed has got some high hopes for his fellow enthusiasts on spreading the board culture in the country’s shores. “They are improving very quickly. Soon the UAE will be a part of wakeboarding,” Saeed said. “[I’ve got] lots of friends doing the sport and some are really good, the others are improving fast,” he added. And finally when he was asked what his secret is for his triumph in the sport, Saeed has placed a good reminder for those kids who would like to do what he does best. “Never give up and keep on trying,” Saeed ended as he went to finish his assignments before hitting practice in the trampoline, with wakeboard in hand.
the Chi within:
Thea’s journey to wellness with surfskiing
Words: Angelo Cabrera
If you are familiar with kung fu films and the apprentice-master relationship in some of its plots, it would seem to be the sort of thing that you would find in what Thea van der Westhuizen has gone through.
Westhuizen found herself almost adrift in the sea of troubles, her Chi (life force) had lost its balance, but instead of accepting defeat, the lady drew her calm and made her way back to shore upon discovering her knack for a water sport that she had grown to be passionate with; surfskiing. With challenges to endure and rigorous training to do as she learned the ways of the water sport, Westhuizen faced it all with a monk’s resolve and focus whilst being supported by the wisdom and guidance of her surfskiing trainer, coach, former teacher, Olympian, businesswoman and mother: Nikki Mocke. She got her game in tip-top shape and went to her first test of strength which was the Dubai Shamaal 2010. She also received tremendous encouragement from her colleagues and friends at Higher Colleges of Technology. That also pushed Westhuizen to give it all what she got and saw then her training paid off upon reaching the finish line and completed her first racing endeavor. And things went uphill from there as she competed in successive surfskiing events and claimed glory after glory. “My College directors have been encouraging me from the start and supporting me with making time available to go and attend races,” Westhuizen said. “That is HUGE for me since not many other people are so fortunate to work in such as great people-orientated environment,” She continued. To date, the hungry-hearted lady surfskiier had entered and completed various races in several locations around the world. She has entered big events such as the Hong Kong Steel Case Dragon Run (Short course), the Durban Dunlop World Cup, Scottburgh to Brighton 46.2km, BoE Dolphin Coast KZN Doubles Champs 72km, FENN Cape Point Challenge 50km, the Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series races and all club series races within the UAE. And with the experiences that she’s getting, Westhuizen has somewhat turned into a regular contender of surfskiing races around the world, especially now with the backing that she managed to gain from the Abu Dhabi government. “I’m [also] very, very grateful at the moment, since the Western Region Development Council offered to support some of my international races where I represent the UAE and Al Gharbia,” Thea said, a glint of honor and pride within as she was hailed to carry the banner of her current home. “There is absolutely no excuse for women to be too scared to take on big journeys or paddle in races which are traditionally considered as challenging or tough,” Westhuizen said at best in one of her online entries. Within any challenge an individual undertakes whether it be for a race or journey, a great finish is always due to a tremendous effort and self belief, and as Thea so modestly puts it – “In journeys like this, you take on to challenge yourself, not to please somebody else.” Find more about Thea and her most recent adventures at http://theavander.com/ about/
Photo: Martin Scully
What’s a SurfSki?
A surf ski is a long, narrow, lightweight kayak with an open (sit-on-top) cockpit, usually with a foot pedal controlled rudder. Surf skis are used worldwide for surf lifesaving, surf kayaking and for training and competition on flat-water or ocean (downwind) racing. - Wikipedia
Photo: John Hishin
These days there are many different types of water sports to take up.. If you have a boat you probably already wake board or water-ski.
Maybe you have enough cash to go splash out and get a jet ski which seem these days to cost the same as a small boat! But what about a water sport you can do alone for below 10,000 AED? Surfing? Sure, but very we have very limited waves in the UAE! There is also kayaking and paddle boarding, both physically demanding but lacking in the adrenalin rush that I for one seek. Wind surfing? Sure but what about something new? So this leaves you with one other option Kite Surfing! You have probably all seen them at the beaches and even have a beach named after the sport, kite surfing beach which is in Umm Sequim 1 just after DOSC! Kite Surfing has been around what about 8 years now? As a Jet skier at the time that Kite Surfing came about I took one look and dismissed it as a sport that’s just for the extremely physically fit and for someone with an abundance of patience and I powered off into the distance on my jet ski not giving it another thought, until recently. I have actually noticed that there are many different walks of life Kite Surfing these days, not just extremely fit young people! Since I have ditched the jet ski and still looking for the water sports buzz I thought I might see what it’s all about. Kite Surfing is totally new to me and just for the record I haven’t surfed or wake boarded before either, so my first port of call was the stores that sell the gear. Although there are several shops that sell the gear, It soon became apparent that I was going to need some help here! I didn’t have a clue what to buy, there are so many different kits and boards I was lost, apart from gauging from the sales guys that I could get all the gear for less than my 10,000 budget... Next stop Kite Beach where I hoped to
TIPS + TRICKS
Words: Ryan Trutch
get some info and after having spoken to a few people was soon introduced to an instructor called Craig Traynor who was very friendly and helpful. I soon realized I could just go to the shop and get started… I was going to need some lessons! Craig told me that I could need up to 6 lessons of which the first is 350 Dhs and 250 Dhs per session of 2hrs thereafter. So I agreed and we planned the first session, wind dependant obviously! Session 1 – This was referred to as the land based taster lesson. Learning how to unpack, layout a training kite which was about 3 meters in width with a time control bar and a line coming off each end of the bar, this took 10mins to get in the air and was straight forward. This kite is used to get a feel for the wind and the different positions Unpacking and laying out a Kite of where the kite is in air. 12
Separating the Kite lines
“This lesson is also a good gauge for yourself as to whether this is something you want to continue with...”
o’clock position is the point where there is the least amount of stain is put on your arms and the power zones 9 to 11 o’clock and 1 to 3 o’clock.. Basic maneuvers were taught and practiced including how to be able to walk up and down the beach using only one hand to hold the bar, still keep the kite in the air and free up the other hand to carry a board. Basically, if you can’t get to grips with the training kite in this lesson Kite Surfing might not be for you. This lesson is also a good gauge for yourself as to whether this is something you want to continue with and if you are enjoying it so far. I had advanced quite well according to Craig and we even managed to get the real kite out on the first lesson... Again learning how to unpack and this time blow up the kite, launch and fly the kite. I was expecting this too to be physical on the arms but now using the additional harness that goes around your waist all the strain was taken on the harness and you do not have to fight the bar unlike the training kite. We had made good progress and I was looking forward to the next lesson which would involved getting wet and with the summer temperatures creeping up it would be a blessing...
Practicing basic maneuvers on the beach
To Be Cont…
Final Thoughton this day? Why did so many people die
Editors note: The whole team here at OutdoorUAE is happy that Atte returned back to Dubai safe and sound. What is not obvious is that he took on such a dangerous challenge. Atte only briefly mentioned to us that the day he stood on the top of the world, it was actually one of the deadliest summit days in the past decades at Mount Everest – but why?
On Saturday the 19th of May, four climbers died in their attempt to reach the summit (or on their way back down). I was following this online as well, a German team who attempted to summit the same day as Atte weren’t so fortunate, and a 61 year old German was one of the 4 people who lost their lives on the mountain. As reported in the media they all seemed to have suffered altitude sickness (brain or pulmonary edema), and did not manage to reach back to the base camp. One reason why these 4 climbers died this day was from the traffic jam Atte referred to in his article and of which he mentioned on the summit day. This season only had a very few weather windows that could make a summit attempt possible and so hundreds of climbers tried their luck on the same day and close to the season’s end. Atte’s preparation and experience seemed to pay off and his early departure from the base camp might have been a lifesaver The German climber who passed away reached the summit only at 11am which is known as too late for safely reaching back to the base camp (at this time Atte was already back at the base camp). Also the long traffic jams to the summit and back caused long delays and may have been the reason for climbers running out of oxygen, which increases the risk of altitude sickness enormously. Over the last few years Mount Everest has become a kind of high altitude mass tourism hot spot which is increasing the already very high risk on the mountain enormously. You not only have to fear the mountain itself and weather conditions, but other climbers and their careless behaviour which becomes another major threat (falling oxygen tanks and cameras). Once again we are happy that Delanii, Atte’s wife who constantly keep us up-to date with Atte’s progress could welcome him back after such a dangerous challenge.
Photo: Atte Miettinen
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Selected Choithrams, Spinneys, Carrefour and Al Maya supermarkets In all good book Stores: Books Plus, Jashanmal, Borders, etc. Selected Supermarkets Selected ENOC & EPCO Petrol Stations 800 Sports - Sheikh Zayed Road Adventure HQ - Sheikh Zayed Road, Times Square Centre Barracuda Fishing Shop - Sheikh Zayed Road Circle 8 – The Dubai Mall Dubai Garden Centre - Sheikh Zayed Road Go Sport – Ibn Battuta, Mall of the Emirates, Mirdiff City Centre Go Sport The Dubai Mall Icon Auto – Al Quoz K2 Shop - Dubai Mall KTM - Sheikh Zayed Road Leisure Marine/ Beach Street Jumeirah Beach Walk Masaood Marine - Sheikh Zayed Road Ocean Active - Sheikh Zayed Road
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Selected Dive Centres Selected Hotels Concierge and Lobby Selected Universities and Schools Dubai and Abu Dhabi Airport launches Abu Dhabi Airport Duty Free - distribution stands First and Business Class of Etihad flights Al Maha Resort Dubai (in hotel rooms) Aloft Hotel Abu Dhabi (in hotel rooms) Al Jeer Marina - Ras Al Khaimah Dubai Autodrome Dubai Dolphinarium Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club Sharjah Paintball & Shooting Centre Sofitel Hotel Dubai (in hotel rooms) The Palace - Old town (Spa) Wafi, The Pyramids Umm Al Quwain Marine Sports Club Please note this is just a selection of some of our distribution locations, in case you want to know a location near you contact us. All previous months issues are available on www.outdooruae.com in the magazine section tab, in the online viewer free of charge.
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THE FIRST OUTDOOR MAGAZINE FOR THE UAE AND THE MIDDLE EAST
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800 Sport, Al Quoz, Dubai +971 4 346 7751 www.800sport.ae Adventure HQ, Dubai Times Square Center, Sheikh Zayed Rd, Toll free: 800-ADVENTURE, www.adventurehq.ae Flip Flop Arabia, flipme@flipfloparabia. com, www.flipfloparabia.com Global Climbing, +97172353910, www.globalclimbing.com Goal Zero, +971509128353, www.goalzero.ae Jack Wolfskin Mirdiff City Centre Dubai, (04) 2840228 Al Wahda Mall Abu Dhabi (02) 4437802 Ocean Sports FZE, +971559352735, www.kitesurfsup.com Sakeen General Trading, +97147094224, www.sakeen.ae Tresspass The Dubai Mall 2nd floor above ice rink +971 4 339 8801
General Sports Equipment Distributors
Dubai - Tel: 04 3390621 | Dubai Auto sport 04 3388822 Abu Dhabi - Tel: 02 5588890 | Abu Dhabi - Buteen - 02 6660591 Sharjah - Tel: 06 5388066 | Ajman -Tel: 06 7410004 Al Ain - Tel: 03 7211444 | Fujairah - Tel: 09 2221188 Ras Al Khaimah - Tel: 07 2351592
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THE FIRST OUTDOOR MAGAZINE FOR THE UAE AND THE MIDDLE EAST
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Clubs ABRasAC, Dubai, www.abrasac.org Abu Dhabi Tri Club, Abu Dhabi, www. abudhabitriclub.org Mirdiff Milers, Dubai, www.mirdifmilers.com
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Equipment Al Boom Marine, Abu Dhabi & Dubai+97142894858 , www. alboommarine.com Al Masaood Marine, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, +97143468000, www.masaoodmarine.com Leisure Marine Beach Street, Dubai, The Walk JBR, +97144243191 www.leisuremarine-me.com Picnico 04 3941653 Jumeirah Beach Road Opposite Sunset Mall, Dubai Pearl Water Crafts, Dubai Marina Yacht Club, +971553749398, www.pearl-watercrafts.com Surf Dubai, Dubai, Umm Suqeim, +971505043020, www.surfingdubai.com Surf Shop Dubai, Dubai, Al Raha Bldg, Al Barsha 1, +97143990989, www.
surfshopdubai.com UAE Kite Surfing, +971505626383, www.ad-kitesurfing.net Distributor Ocean Sports FZE, +971559352735, www.kitesurfsup.com Kitepeople Trading Llc +971504559098, www.kitepeople.ae Operator Al Forsan Resort, Abu Dhabi, +97125568555, www.alforsan.com Dubai Kite Surf School, Dubai, Umm Suqeim Beach, +971 504965107, www.dubaikitesurfschool.com Kite Fly, Dubai, +971502547440, www. kitesurf.ae Kite4fun, Abu Dhabi, +971508133134, www.kite4fun.net Nautica1992, Dubai, +971504262415, www.nautica1992.ae Shamalkitesurfing, Umm Suqueim Beach – Dubai, +971507689226, www. shamalkitesurfing.com Sky &Sea Adventures, Dubai, Hilton, Jumeirah Beach Road, +97143999005, www.watersportsdubai.com Surf Adventures UAE, Dubai, Al Barsha1, +97143990989, www.surfadventuresuae.com Surf School Dubai, Umm Suqeim & Al Barsha, Dubai, +97143990989, www. surfschooluae.com Watercooled 04 887 6771 Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates www.watercooleddubai.com Clubs Abu Dhabi Stand Up Paddle www.uaesup.com
Aquaventure Atlantis, Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, +97144260000, www.atlantisthepalm.ae Dreamland Aqua Park, Umm Al Quwaim, Emirates Road, +97167681888, www.dreamlanduae.com Wild Wadi, Dubai, +97143484444, www. wildwadi.com
Other leisure activities
Al Forsan Resort, Abu Dhabi, +97125568555, www.alforsan.com Dubai Autodrome, Dubai, www.dubaiautodrome.com Emirates Motorplex, Umm Al Quwain, +97167681717 Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, www.yasmarinacircuit.com
SCUBA 2000 DIVING CENTRE
FIRAS KABRA Managing Director Abu Dhabi Outlet I Gulf Marine Sports P.O. BOX 32945 Abu Dhabi, UAE T: +971 2 6710017 I M: +97150 4467956 F: +971 2 6710177 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.gulfmarinesports.com
Manufacturer Blingmytruck.com, +971505548255, www.blingmytruck.com LRC Off Road Engineering, Dubai, +971553198526, www.lrcoffroad.com Repair and services Off Road Zone, Dubai, Al Quoz, +97143392449, www.offroad-zone.com Icon Auto, Dubai, +97143382744, www.icon-auto.com Equipment AEV, Dubai & Abu Dhabi, +97143307152, www.aev.ae Car Max Off Roading Accessories Ras-Al Khor, Al Awir, Dubai, UAE +971 4 3204214
Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, + 97125588990, www.adgolfclub.com Dolphin Bay Atlantis Dubai, +97144260000, www.atlantisthepalm.ae Dubai Dolphinarium Dubai, Creek Park Gate No. 1, +97143369773, www.dubaidolphinarium.ae Ifly Dubai, Dubai, Mirdiff City Centre, +97142316292, www.iflyme.com Sadiyaat Beach Club, Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, +97125578000, www. sbgolfclub.ae Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club, Sharjah, +97143999005, www.golfandshootingshj.com SkiDubai, Dubai, Mall of The Emirates, +97144094000, www.skidxb.com Spacewalk Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, +97124463653, www.spacewalk.ae Safety Lessons Marine Concept Yacht Charter & Sea School, Rania Business Centre, Dubai, +971559603030, www.marine-charter-concept.com Safety & Leisure Training Middle East, Dusseldorf Business Point, Al Barsha 1, Dubai, +97144502418, www.sltme.com Sport & Health Centres The Physio Center, Suite 405, Building 49, Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai, +97144370570, www.physiocentre.ae
Health, Safety & Training
Al Bidiyah Beach Dibba Fujairah Telephone: +971 9 2388477 Email: email@example.com Website: www.scuba-2000.com Dive centre is open from 9am to 7pm every day all year round. GPS: North 25 degrees 26.436 East 56 degrees 21.527.
To advertise please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 04 4502419
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KAYAKING WATERSPORT BEACH
Protect your gadgets and valuables from water and sand.
Available at: Go Sport in Ibn Batutta, Mirdif City Center, Mall of Emirates, Intersport in Times square, DFC, Picnico in Jumeirah. Adventure HQ in Time square. Act Marine JBR.*
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