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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 6 Apr 2002
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wells beside roads

hi all,
Does anybody knows how things are if it comes about the well (or generally wells) situated just near
roads (on map) like in case the well Hassi Habadra or the next one on the east. They are around half way
between In Salah and Amiguid. Are they waterfull all year ? Are they easy to find ?
I read that in desert generally wells are signed by just a heap of stones.

And also I have a question about fuel station in Arak. Is there such a thing ?

thanks in advance,
Bart.
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  #2  
Old 7 Apr 2002
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Personally, I never rely on a well unless I know for sure it's there or have used it before. All the maps you can get your hands on in Algeria for example will be old and in my recent experience there are new wells that are not on the maps - and no or sanded up wells which are on the map.
Never heard about the pile of stones thing - Villages are easier to find than wells and wells are usually clear by the vegetation around them (but not always), the tracks leading to them or the rubbish and animal dung around them.

Even though its presence on the 953 suggests Tin H is a major well. If you are relying on it I would ask around for a GPS point for (try sahara-info.ch forum)
Looks like N26 31, E4 37.5 south of the track, but don't take my word for it, that's just read off a half million IGN.

If travelling in this area in August (you are, am I right? and not with a vehicle??) I would carry 100 L per person. I was in Arak in September once and HAD to drink every ha;f hour - 10L per day and another couple through the night.

There is fuel and maybe still a cafe at Arak.

CS

[This message has been edited by Chris Scott (edited 06 April 2002).]
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  #3  
Old 8 Apr 2002
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Last October we were in Arak, there was fuel and we got water near the station. Better ask at the police station in In Salah how the situation is. Very often they are run out of everything, but never for a long time.
It was very hot, we needed 10 liters of water for 2 persons a day: In Salah is the hottest spot in the Sahara!
Never rely on a well just because it is marked on the map! The IGN "In Salah" for example is from 1974!
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  #4  
Old 8 Apr 2002
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thanks yoy.

but if it comes about amount of watter - I don't agree. You exaggerate in my opinion 10 l per day.
Even those guys who run in marathon des sables race have only about 10 liters of water per day but !
7 literl of water for shawer if I remember well - but those guys have to run or walk tens of km per day
on their feet. Thats something entirely different when one travels by a car where no physical effort
is to be done. When I was in the north of Kenya - Lodwar (the hottest place in Kenya) - and Turkana area
(by car) I was really demn hot like in hell (maeybe even 70 inside of car) and the stillness so deep
that in the sunlight I felt like the sun was burning me. But that day I neednt work hard - just riding a car
and drank around 1,5 maeybe 2 l. thats all.

Yes I'm planning my visit in DZ in August, and now trying to come to trems with everything.
I can't find any company for now so I wont hire a car on my own. That's too expensive.
Because of that it is clear to me now that the Amiguid crater is unavailable - (i think )
pity. I will have to stick close oasises. (what is the plural for this word ? )

btw. Can anyone who have check if on 953 are villages like Tagrera or Tin Tarabine
(around O. Tin Tarabine - east from Tam). I've got a map of hoggar and tassili region
from the WordCard series Africa nord-west scale 1:4 000 000, and don't know if it's
worth to buy 953. I think they both are not too good for hike planning.
Hope in Tam will find some better map of al hoggar and tassili n ajjer.


Bart
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  #5  
Old 8 Apr 2002
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We crossed Tunisia-Ivory Coast-Tunisia last year in July and August. In the middle we averaged 7L per day for two of us - deliberately not skimping. You can do it on less - it's whether you want to. The more important (regardless of normal daily use) is your quantity of reserve...

Sam
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  #6  
Old 9 Apr 2002
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Once the mean temperature goes past 35°C your water intake has to increase dramatically. To maintain your water balance, resting in the shade at all times, you need 1.2 litres per 24 hours at 25°C. This doubles to 2.4 litres at 30°C, then doubles again to 5.3 litres at 35°C, and so on.

At 50°C, resting in the shade and drinking 10 litres per day, you would be dead after three and a half days.

Source: UK Ministry of Defense (RAF) pamphlet PAM (Air 225) "Desert Survival" 1975.

Of course some people can do better than this. Technical Sergeant Harold J. Ripslinger of the “Lady be Good” walked an astonishing 132 miles across the desert with virtually no water before he died. Don’t assume that you can.
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  #7  
Old 9 Apr 2002
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Some thoughts about dehydration:

In big words: dehydration means you are going into volume shock, but extremely slowly.

1) Already being thirsty means you didn't drink enough and aren't keeping your body hydrated on a regular base. At this point you already used the spare fluids your body has. That means the intercellular fluids are 'gone'.

2)Next thing that will suffer is the head. your brain has a very hard time to cope with any kind of dehydration. And quite quickly it starts shutting things down. Concentration level will be less high, fatigue, being irritated faster. In other words, small changes in your personality.
Also you blood will get a bit thicker wich slows the sugar transport to your brain (the brain is the only organ that takes it sugar direclty from the blood). And your pulse will raise to compensate that.

3)Major symptom of this stage is the headache. And it will stay for a while! Most headaches are actually caused by dehydration. A hang over after a night at the bar is basicly the same thing. Alcohol dehydrates your body in an extreme way. And since you wont be drinking water inbetween you really get dehydrated and therefor a real bad headache when you wake up... (best thing against a hangover is drinking buckets of water to get your body hydrated again)
4) if the headache kicks in and you realise you are dehydrated remember that you also need to compensate for the intercellular fluids that need to be replaced. So you'll need to drink more then normally.
5) keep an eye on the color of your urine. The more yellow the more dehydrated! This also rises the risc for blatter and kidney infections because the concentration of the urine rises!
When I am hiking with the competition of the first day always is to pie 'water' as fast as possible. The first one who has water clear urine wins! (not that we are keeping samples to prove it! ;-) Once your urine is clear you now you are well hydrated. Then it is only a question of keeping it like that. And this takes less water then it takes to rehydrate your body after being dehydrated.


My opinion: When you are riding, driving, traveling through adventurous area, concentration is a big thing. So don't get dehydrated!!! It has a direct effect on your safety!


Be carefull with sugar drinks, energy drinks,... your body often needs more fluid to cope with the energy provided then what you've just drunk!
Cola, Fanta, any kin of alcohol,... do more harm than good!

Eating a bit more salty is a good idea, this rises the ability of your body to store fluids.

If you get diaria be carefull not to get into reall trouble. The amount of fluids your body loses in these circumstances are gigantic. Consider using medicine (immodium) to stop the diaria untill you have unlimited acces to water. And then sweat it out.

Drinking water while not feeling thirsty isn't our normal habit. But is should be when expeditioning. Make a habit of drinking a certain amount of water (one cup, two cups, whatever you need) on regular bases each 15 minutes, 30 minutes,... whatever YOUR body needs. BUT 2 liters a day is generally accepted as the minimum for a healthy person on a normal day.
Staying well hydrated is easier then having to get fluid levels back up!

[This message has been edited by fireboomer (edited 08 April 2002).]
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  #8  
Old 9 Apr 2002
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more facts about dehydration:
thirsty feeling comes when the watter loss is between 1-5 % of weight of a person. In this stage
anxiety, nervousness appears, lack of appetite, felling dizzy, sleepy, appears higher body temperature,
and reddening of skin. If the watter loss about 10% of body weight there comes headaches, more dizzy,
it is harder to breath, and speach like gabbles , hard o understand. With such a big lack of watter one has
a problem with walking. The next and a final stage of dehydration is when the watterloss reaches 20%
of body weight. It is connected with unability to swallow things, strong swelling of tongue , deafness,
tensness of muscles and drying skin. In this stage in fact it is already too late for rescue. And people
who survived this fell thirsty and axiety even a long time after the whole thing.

If it comes about thad desert survival then it appears that american pilots received some instructions
for a case of crush in a desert. So it's interesting what is the real thing. Here it goes.
US air force instruction says that a man haveing 2l of water in temperetures above 38 degrees C, staying in
shadow can survive 2-6 days with proper water rateing.
Hiking at nights, distances of 40 km per night and staying in shadow during day he can survive 2-3 days.

A guess I read of the man (Technical Sergeant Harold J. Ripslinger of the “Lady be Good” ) - that's the
spirit !!! (later I'll search if I read about the same man) - if I remember well he was going thorugt
desert without water for 9 days !!! and reached some oasis.

But let's take an example of ms. Robyn Davidson who walked throught australian desert (about 20-40 miles
a day)
(west from Alice Springs) during day and drunk about 8 cops of tea or thing like that a day.
If I'm right she lives in London right now.

I agree with the salt food, but think of some other reasons. When man sweets he looses salt by it so eating
more salty helps to keep the balance.

Bart.
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  #9  
Old 9 Apr 2002
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fireboomer,
You mentioned the disatvantage of using energy drinks in comparison to pure water. Isn't it so that they contain the salts and other minerals that need to be replenished? So what's wrong with them?



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  #10  
Old 9 Apr 2002
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Your body uses water to break down sugars. 'High Energy' drinks by definition contain large quantities of sugar.

Sam
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  #11  
Old 9 Apr 2002
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Amguid Crater: You cant drive there - you have to walk. It is very rocky!

Tagrera and Tin Tarabine: Are two wonderful places in the Tassili du Hoggar but there is no village at all.

Maps: You better get some here in Europe...

Water: Sure you can do it with less one or two days, maybe even three.

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  #12  
Old 9 Apr 2002
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>but if it comes about amount of watter - I don't agree. You exaggerate in my opinion 10l per day.
Trust me Bart, I don’t exaggerate. Riding into a headwind of 45 degrees is quite an experience - the ‘wind chill’ factor becomes ‘wind burn’ as you yourself found in Kenya. I was on a bike and the amount of water you must to drink to stop the dryness creeping down your throat is educational to say the least.

Its all very well reciting technical information about dehydration and marvel at the stamina or Lady be Good guy (who died), Robyn D (with camels to carry water), St Exupery and all the rest. Did these events happen in mid-asummer? I don’t think so.

>Even those guys who run in marathon des sables race have only about 10 liters of water per day
Does the marathon happen in southern Algeria in August? Will you have the back-up they have?

Bart, you want to go hiking/exploring in southern Algeria in your summer holidays, right? But it does not sound like you appreciate what you are taking on if you have just realised a 1:4m map is no good for hiking! Would you go hiking in the Tatry with a map of Eastern Europe? FYI you will not find maps in Tam or any other Algerian desert town. Read: carefully:
http:// www.sahara-overland.com/maps

Without a vehicle or camel/mule how far can you walk alone with 20kg in 40 degrees+ with a 4m map? And as Sam says, it is not what you drink per day, but your reserve that is critical. There is no Budget Rent-a-Car in southern Algeria, although it’s easy to hire a local guide with 4x4 once you get to Tam or Djanet. The ‘official’ price is 160 eu a day, very expensive, I agree. You may find some local in a banger who will do it for less, but will he know where to go?
Even though most of us take our main holidays in the summer the reason you can’t find anyone to go with is because we are talking about the Sahara Desert in mid-summer – a place famous for being very very hot – so hot that no tourist who wants to enjoy or appreciate the desert would visit at that time. And despite the money to be made, no tourist agency bothers running tours either. It would probably be the same situation for Everest in winter, even though I’m sure some nutter has managed it…

My advice:
Even if you were familiar with this region, forget the idea or go to Morocco. Save the Sahara for winter when everything is easier. If you are determined then, as I said before, fly to Algiers from where you can get a cheap (40 eu?) connection to Djanet. Here at Zeribas Camping you can try and organise a hike on the famous Tassili plateau from 61 eu per day with everything included (assuming there is a group). Tam/Hoggar is not so good or interesting for hiking. Forget Tin Tarabine, etc. How are you going to get there?
The Sahara is neither easy or cheap, but it is of course, worth it!

Gomowe dzewa, as they say ;-).

CS


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  #13  
Old 9 Apr 2002
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Whaw I am suprised by the amount of info that came together on such a sort time!!!

Roman: Sam is right with her explanation on how your body deals with any kind of sugars or energy sources. Remember most of these sport drinks / energy drinks are not necessary on the market because they have proven there quality. It is rather a response of the soft drink producers to a demand in the market....
There are some so called 'hydration drinks' but even here you have to be carefull with what you buy.

Actually the best thing there is, is probably the salty solution they give to somebody who suffers from diaria. The product name is ORS, but I don't know what this stands for. You have to ad it to water.
I checked it with a doctor and he confirmed this is a pure rehydration thing. Salt with minerals, nut no energy. It has no side effects and helps your body to cope with dehydration.
Might have more info later when I can ask an other friend more about this.

I also have to agree with Chris. Technical information and knowledge alone wont help you. Good common sence, experience and knowing what YOUR own body needs is more important.
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  #14  
Old 10 Apr 2002
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Er, I'm a he!

Don't buy 'salted water' - you can, after all, make it yourself! When cooking in the evening add loads of salt. Because the body wants it, the supper will taste REALLY good - bit of a chef's secret that one!
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  #15  
Old 10 Apr 2002
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:O

Ehum, sorry Sam. Kind of crawling around under my desk right now, having a feeling that comes pretty close too severe dehydration!
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