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Letters form the Oman Trail – Oryx

Letters form the Oman Trail – Oryx

As I turn around looking for a more comfortable sleeping position, I suddenly see an Oryx walking near by in the dunes. It’s the first time I spot one like that, out of a natural reserve.”

Did I sleep better this second night out ? No, not really ! Two sleepless nights in a row and I’m not all that motivated to get up. Too tired. The sky is cloudy anyway. I have a mantra of sort; “Wake up with the sun”. Right now he’s still under a blanket, I’ll do the same. I’m a bit worried about the lack of sleep. Fatigue is always costly. You loose focus on what you’re doing and make mistakes. The sand does not tolerate mistakes. A second of distraction and you’re stuck. I have enough of the sand and this frying heat anyway, I should try my luck in the mountains, gain some altitude and hopefully the temperatures will cool off a bit.

As I turn around looking for a more comfortable sleeping position, I suddenly see an Oryx walking near by in the dunes. It’s the first time I spot one like that, out of a natural reserve. It hasn’t seen me yet, the wind is “blowing” in the right direction. I have to take a picture of it. It’s too rare to miss such an opportunity. But off course the camera is in the car and I can’t move or it will notice me and run. I wait a while, observing it. It’s not moving either, just staring at the horizon. When it finally goes down and disappears behind the top of the dune, I jump down from the roof of the car away from him to make sure it doesn’t see me. The door is locked. The key is no longer in my pocket. It must have fallen off, hopefully in the sleeping bag as I was “trying” to sleep. I always keep it on me in case I have to exit the spot in a hurry, and it’s the first time I drop it. I also have a spare hidden outside the car in case I loose it or lock myself. It’s easier to get my sleeping bag down and dig for the key though. Or so I think. Precious time is lost before I can put my hand on the key and open the door. I guess I ain’t much of a wildlife photographer. I grab the camera, take an extra second to change the lens and slowly go around the car to get into position. Nothing ! It is gone or is it still down behind the dune ? Be patient, what comes down, must come back up !.. Nothing !.. I wait some more in vain, but it now seems I missed my chance. Very disappointing. I was about to catch some well deserved sleep and instead I got out of bed in a rush for nothing. Sleep is definitively something I’m gonna be deprived off systematically in this trip ! A few more minutes… Still nothing !

Well I’m up for good now. And hungry too… A good breakfast. Packing. Warm up the car. Try to find some signal for my phone to send my wife a morning kiss and the direction I intend to follow today. It’s often hard to find it and I think a satellite phone is really an investment I can no longer avoid. It will spare me walking like an idiot up and down the surrounding dunes to get a glimpse of connection… At last the message is sent. Time to go and enjoy the air-cooled comfy interior of the Jeep.

A few dunes later… luck waited for me !

arabian oryx
Arabian Oryx
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