It only feels right to test new stuff, so last weekend with a fresh 40-degree wind blowing the boys and I took Inka (the hound) for a walk in the most remote part of Qatar, and this would allow me to test my new BF Goodrich tyres. Almost 100k North East of Doha is the opposite corner of the country and some relatively unexplored (by me at least) coastline.
I don’t like heading to new places alone, it feels a little reckless with the boys and a dog in tow to not be able to recover myself, so I invited my mate Derrick Stripwee (Name subtly changed to protect his dignity) and two of his kids and their land cruiser joined the trip for some equally well-deserved escapism and exercise (to be clear we were exercising 3m apart at all times…and had no fun whatsoever…)
We found an amazing bay with white sands and crystal clear water here, the boys all wished we had goggles to chase the fish through the shallows and the dog swam around us for hours. It was 43 degrees, and things were starting to get a little hot so we decided to explore around the coastline a little. This is where it went wrong.
Derrick (the prick) took a hard right off a coastal track straight across a seemingly endless salt marsh. Upon reflection, neither of us can understand what made him take this erratic turn towards his eventual demise, but it happened and I could only sit back and watch as the 3.5 ton Landcruiser broke through the salt and mud crusted top layer and sank hard up to its axles in hot slippery mud.
Now at this point, the experienced, professional, and sensible off-roading types would have taken stock, had a cup of tea, smoked some fags, and assessed the situation. Not us, oh no we had a better plan. Derrick immediately called my vehicle into the same spot he was in to recover his vehicle “No problem Cobber” he announced “This spot right here is easily hard enough for your vehicle fair dinkumm” he was wrong. In I went, up to my guts into car sucking mud.
We were now both stuck, I mean properly stuck – stuck, stuck. To be clear, it was all Derrick’s fault.
As we had headed out for a simple dog walk and to have a minor explore I was not prepared for this situation and wasn’t fully loaded with gear. In particular, I didn’t bring a shovel or my maxtrax. The shovel would have helped a touch, but maxtrax would have meant we could crawl straight out of the mud. Our predicament started to be less amusing as we realized no amount of digging or airing down was helping, the mud beneath the surface was wet and slick. We simply had no traction and were beached hard on our bellies.
It was here that I made another idiotic mistake, I decided to try and walk to a vehicle I could see in the distance to raise the alarm. Like a chump, I decided to try and cross a salt marsh in flip flops, in the middle of the day, in 45 degrees, in June… After what felt like I had been trudging through burning hot lava for hours I collapsed on some solid ground to rest my battered feet, pouring the last of my water reserves over the growing blisters I realised I was done in and possibly even close to a slow sticky death as the heat sapped the last of my energy reserves. With seemingly no way forwards through the impenetrable boiling hot mud, I turned back to assess the return journey to safety across the scalding salt marsh. Pathetically I was only lying about 4.5m away from the Land Cruiser, with Derrick and our children all looking at me quizzically through the windscreen wondering why I was wailing like a small baby on the floor.
I pulled myself together and returned to the stuck cruiser to rest my weary bones and sore feet and it was then that we made the decision to deploy the cavalry.
We called Lexi.
Calling your wife is quite an event in situations like this, (Derrick I might add refused to call his, he was simply too scared) you just can’t tell how it’s going to go…”Hi darling, yes yes all is ok. Well actually maybe Ok is a bit over the top…” and you go from there bracing yourself at every sentence for the ensuing wrath. Lexi was quite the legend, she jumped in her car and sped across Qatar at breakneck speeds to rescue the children and the dog from the swamp and our rapidly depleting water supplies. What she didn’t do is rescue Derrick and me, she seemed more than happy to drive away from the situation and leave us to find our own way out of this slightly daft predicament.
Google is a wonderful thing, and soon a professional rescue truck had been rallied and called upon. Rasheed the legend showed up to pluck our little wagons from the quagmire with his massive great big rope and winch and it wasn’t too long before we were back on hard ground sunburnt, tired and grinning from ear to ear.
Getting stuck is part of the fun – “If you aren’t stuck, you aren’t trying” – You are welcome to quote me on that, just don’t forget your shoes or recovery gear and never follow Derrick!