I received today the message in the group „dune driving who is in?“. My first thought was „when?“, but then I just said „I’m in!“ Obviously I want to join Martin on one of his dune drives. I lived now almost 7 months in Swakop and I’ve still never been on a drive through the dune field. So it’s time for it! That’s why I had no problem with it, when Martin answered „in 10 minutes“. That is planning in Africa. You want to do something? So do it, NOW!
I decided not to take my camera with, because she doesn’t like sand. That’s why you have to deal with the low quality pictures of my phone.
I am sitting in the back of the cruiser with Katelyn, Martin’s daughter. She is 12. When Martin stopped in front of the sand, Katelyn started to release pressure out of the tyre and checked afterwards that all the tyres are at 0,8 bar. I was standing next to her having a beer. And enjoying the scenery. I love the desert. It’s so beautiful.
Let’s go! Martin is driving up the first small dune and Katelyn screams loud „hold on tight!“ I trust her. I think she grew up in daddy’s car. She knows what to do. What else do you expect if you dad is test driver in the dunes for all the new cars? And we are going down the other side. And up again. Rollercoaster like. I just copy Katelyns movements. If she is holding on the front seats, I hold on the front seats. If she is leaning back, I am relaxing. And we are cruising and drifting through the dune field. Wherever you can see quad bike or car tracks on the dune, we go higher. Closer to the edge. The steaper side down. And faster. We are driving up a very steap dune. And stopping. Viewpoint. That is normally where he stops with his clients to give them a chance to breath. And take same pictures.
In the other car is the 5 year old Malakai. No problem for him. He just wants to get his juice.
We continue. Martin slams on the brakes. „No we can’t go down there, this is way to steap!“ OK, so back and look for another exit. Up the dune and – and this is less steap? Are you kidding? We’re not going down there?! „For sure we are!“ And there we go. I don’t even see the ground. That steap it is! But damn, that was fun! We stop on the way back to town in the river bed for a sundowner. I start organising the full moon boarding, because it doesn’t look as the mist would come in. We pack the sandboards and all the equipment and there we go again. Into the dunes. The moon just appeared at the horizon when Katelyn and I started walking up. It is still a bit dark, but we can see the tracks. On top I give my first beginners briefing in the dark. Katelyn never stood on a sandboard. But that doesn’t matter. She is doing brilliant! Perfect balance, knees bent, all good.
My stupid personality decides to jump, even though I cannot see anything. Like the ramp. Very vague. And the landing behind? Nothing. I hit the ramp, I fly – where is the ground? I don’t see it! Oh there it is, too late. I fall. I tumble. I roll. I stand up again. I ride towards Katelyn. Follow your left shoulder. I hope it is dark enough that no one saw my wipeout.
The next time on top I take a few minutes to try myself in night shots. I’ve never done it before. But I am quiet happy with my first results. Improvable.
You can see the stars over Swakop. The stars right over town. The next time I will take pictures of the stars over the desert. Without any other lights around me. Is possible in Namibia. But now, I will board down, without jumping. Just boarding so that my camera arrives safely back at the car.