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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 11 May 2001
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Sending smoke signals

Imagine a scenario:

You are travelling with a group in the Sahara. For some unexplicable reason you become separated and you are in an area with hills obscuring the view. You are trying to make your way to a known good waypoint but your vehicle breaks down.

You know that the rest of the group will come back searching for you, but you are not exactly where they would expect to find you.

How do you make your presence known to them (CB radio not available or out of range)?
I could imagine a smoke signal could work, but you may need a lot of smoke for a prolonged time. Burning a tyre or pieces of trim could be an answer, but rescue may arrive any minute, and with the vehicle fixed you are ready to proceed again, only regretting you’ve panicked and deprived yourself of a vital piece of equipment.

Your ideas, please.

Roman
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  #2  
Old 11 May 2001
GWJ GWJ is offline
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Celebrate the fact that you are able to enjoy the desert on your own rather than eating the dust of the vehicle up front........The desert is a different place without the certainty of the support vehicle. It becomes, then, what it really is.
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Old 11 May 2001
ctc ctc is offline
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If travelling in number of vehicles always agree a contingency plan each day.

If you have not done the above and probaly if you have: Swear, have a cigarette, make some tea, put up your awning relax.....

Survey the problem, read your manual (if neccesary) and get started on the the repairs.

If you are still at it come sundown. Fire off a star shell at regular intervals (two with a five minute gap then once every half hour). Leave one flare as a reserve.

If no flares bury a jerry can full of fuel in the sand and light it. You'll get a good oily smoke.

Admittedly the above is theoretical, but that's my plan.

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  #4  
Old 27 May 2001
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Agree with ctc, but I also carry a six foot delta wing kite with about 500 metres of line. Its visible over a huge distance and there is usually a reliable wind in the Sahara. Has the added advantage of giving you something to do whilst waiting. The soul soars with a kite.
Toby
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  #5  
Old 31 May 2001
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Toby,
That's a very neat idea! I should've thought about it.

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  #6  
Old 3 Jun 2001
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We spent 5 months in the Australian deserts as a series of separate entities, always trying to find each other. We used 'Skystreme' emergency kites, which are brilliant. Designed to stay afloat in almost no wind. Self launching after no wind, incredibly strong and designed to give off the radar reflection of a small aircraft (for search and rescue radar). As it happens, they weigh nothing, and when packed are smaller than a packet of cigarettes! They've won all sorts of awards...

if that's not product endorsement, I don't know what is!!!!!!!!

Sam.

I think you can get them in the better outdoors shops (or try an internet search)
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Old 3 Jun 2001
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Sure enough, it's at
http://www.skystreme.com/

27 quid
may ask Santa for one

Chris S

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  #8  
Old 4 Jun 2001
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and an intersting Skystreme pdf file at:
http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/abou...ls/pdf/ds5.pdf

CS
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  #9  
Old 7 Jun 2001
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Sam, Chris,

Thanks for the tip. I've spoken to Skystreme and the kite seems to do exactly what I had in mind when posting my question, so I've ordered one.

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  #10  
Old 11 Jun 2001
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marvellous!

Sam.
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