Wednesday, June 27

Angola - Properly Stuck

Brett: We visited the Mirador Luna (view of the moon), which is similar to Leconi Canyon and decided to camp on the beach below it. We found a steep road down to a village and then headed along the beach along the hard-ish wet sand. The beach was quite sloped so it was tough staying on the hard sand, and it turned out that it was nearing high tide and the only good place to get on and off the steep beach was at the village. The Kerrs raced ahead to keep up momentum but we just kept bogging down, and with the recent radiator trouble we were really worried about overheating. The sand became softer and steeper as we went further from the village and it was too narrow to turn around - we were committed and had to keep moving to avoid getting stuck. By now the Kerrs were well out of sight. Eventually we got stuck in the sand. We dropped the tyres down to 1.1 bar (as low as we could) and dug ourselves out. It was scary with the tide coming in and the waves about 1m from us. We set off again and it just got worse and worse, with Mary clinging to the grab handle as the beach got steeper and steeper, and with me trying to keep an eye on the ever-increasing temperature gauge, until we had one of our very first shouting matches:
M : “Don't go so fast, one swerve and you’ll roll the *&%$£! car!”
B : “I have to use full throttle or we WILL get stuck!”
M: “You’ll definitely get us stuck if you drive like such an idiot!”
       < one tense minute later >
B: “S&%$*! We're over heating... I’m going for the bank!”
M: “Well rolling the sodding car isn't going to fix the over heating!”
B: “Getting washed away by the sodding tide won't help us either!!!”

We eventually got stuck close to the top of the bank with the car at a crazy angle, but at least it was a few meters away from the rapidly rising tide. The Kerrs were far down the beach and had also got stuck twice, once with the waves coming right up to their wheels, but they managed to get out using their trusty sand tracks. Once they were free they headed back to help us. After a lot of digging, shifting the driftwood & dried seaweed, and repositioning the sandtracks, they managed to tug us off the soft sand into the flat, harder stuff just back from the beach.  We were all exhausted, so after a lot of high-fives, we camped right where we stopped (S9 13.639 E13 4.808). This was the first time we had really got properly stuck, and without Luke & Shell there to tow us we would have been digging for hours.We had a few celebratory beers while watching the sunset and then Luke & Shell taught us to make risotto –  it was absolutely awesome – what a great end to a very eventful day!

At sunrise, Bruce turned up on a quad bike. It turned out that we had camped on private land, but he was a nice ex-Zimbabwean who had lived in Angola for 19 years (through the war), and once we explained that we weren’t part of a tour group, he didn't really mind us being there. He also told us that we had been lucky because we could have damaged turtle eggs if we had driven on the beach in summer – yikes! I guess you can't know if a beach is safe to drive on without someone getting some local knowledge first.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, certainly makes for an exciting read. Be sure to enjoy those moments for those of us that can't be there!


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