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October 31, 2012 / samwilson60

Plage Blanche

Our search for sunshine led us further than we intended, onto the piste to the Plage Blanche – a well-known playground for overlanders that we had failed to visit last time due to impassable rain. Having already decided we were going to be sensible on our way south, all we were after was a bit of time off the tarmac and a cool wild camp. We got all of that on day one of what turned into a three-day extravaganza! Night one was on an awesome low cliff, after slightly sketchy ascent – no problem in full donkey mode but we were aware we might have to do it in reverse if this piste, like the last, pointed us into the waves.

  

Undeterred by the clouds, we decided to try out the bonnet as a bed. It was great while it lasted but rain did prevail and we dozily dived into truck for the rest of the night.

The next morning we continued along the ever rockier but distinctly southbound piste and saw the infamous Plage Blanche – beautiful but v narrow and with a clear, less sandy option over the top, which we decided was wise – if bumpy.

 

Even the sand was rocky, or corrugated. Aware we were still surprisingly far from road, we bounced on. We later met a guy in a modern truck/camper who’d broken down on and been towed off the beach – husky-style by three 4x4s – confirming we were best on higher ground.

It remained rocky and only got more so. To the point that when we saw our first sand dune, we knew it was time. Barely gone midday but with a barrel full of wet washing and finally some blue skies, we wove our way in between a couple of dunes and set about perfecting our Cape to Cape writing – with awning pole, wooden stick and feet.

We also made time to start sewing a sheet into a sleeping bag liner, make friends with the beetles, continue the boules contest and console the loser with cake (Mum, you knew it wouldn’t still be intact by Christmas!). We slept in our bivvies under the stars – no rain but persistent mosquitos and a puffy eye in the morning to prove that they had won.

Our next stop was Cap Draa – a very beautiful and poignant place for us – the point where the sea swallows up the river that has defined our every visit to Morocco. It was also the place from which we finally, slowly, headed inland to end this unexpected few days in the wild. We knew it was time to get some miles under our belts but also knew that when we finally did hit the tarmac, our camping options would suddenly get limited. When a Kasbah/campsite presented itself just as we were discussing the issue, we couldn’t pass it up. Some French overlanders we’d met earlier also turned up, and we were greeted by some Germans with a Uaz bus, so clearly this was the place to be. It even had hot showers, but only from six (which was unfortunate as we’d both braved the lukewarm water long before this). Once the sand from previous night had been extracted (it took Sam two showers and a haircut so doubt Cat will ever get it all out), it was an early night. We found a stowaway beetle in Sam’s sleeping bag – existence confirmed by the thud it made when propelled across the inside of the tent but a bugger to find afterwards.

After a short leg back to the tarmac north of Tan-Tan – and a smooth one by recent standards – we were reminded why we like it so much on the slow, rocky piste. But it was time to cover some distance, and so we did.

(So many more photos and so much more to say but we’ve got a bit behind. Suffice to say, we’re safe but seriously hot in Mauritania and all we can cope with now is showers and insect repellent – both long overdue. We aim to fill the remaining gaps in the next day or so.)

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