Huacachina: sand boarding and dune buggies!
Trip Start Feb 07, 2007
69Trip End Ongoing
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http://www.elhuacachinero.com/ (I think this site is being worked on at the moment)
This place is so close to the dunes that the sand is flowing through the back gate. There's also a pool, a bar and some resident parrots to play with in the garden.
Despite an early morning mist the next day, Tim takes a walk up the massive backyard sand dune in the morning.
Tim reports back that there's great views from the top of the dune.
Tim is disappointed when we're picked up in a shitty old orange 12 seater dune buggy. He had been staring longingly at the hostel's famous V8 'green buggy' since we arrived.
Of course this is no time for contemplation - we're too busy bringing noise, pollution and unsightly tyre tracks to this scene of great beauty. We stop occasionally between heart-stopping dips and jumps for photos. The real motivation for stopping is so Mr Crazy can top up his radiator with water. The radiator has a hole in it and as I am sitting in the front next to the driver I spend the whole drive getting sprayed in the face as the water spills into the fan. This combined with endless whippings of sand and improbably high speeds makes for an impromptu and extremely vigorous facial.
We soon stop at the top of the first sand boarding dunes.
We eventually arrive at the the final series of three dunes, which are progressively steeper.
At the last humongous dune I watch from the top as most other people zig zag slowly down in the standing position. I even let Tim put extra wax on my board for an extra thrilling ride. A few brave souls go head first, including Tim. I am last down as I don't want to crash into anyone. I push off the ridge of the dune holding onto the lip of the board at the back - figuring I can slow myself down a bit with my hands. Before I know it I am absolutely hurtling down the slope at the most uncontrollable speed. I'm going so fast that my hands, attempting to break at the back of the board, start to burn from the friction. I recall wondering how my sickeningly fast descent is going to end when I hit a bump and feel the most almighty tumbling sensation and finally land with a heavy thump flat on my back. The force of the fall is so great that it has torn off my sunglasses and bandanna. I'm not sure if I lost consciousness, though Tim, as he ran up the dune with another guy, thinks I did. All I remember is a few hazy moments and a really strong sense of deja vu that I have had this exact accident before, perhaps in a dream....
I soon realise by Tim's reaction ('Don't move!'), that I have in fact had a fairly spectacular accident. Tim had watched the whole thing from the bottom of the dune, at first impressed with my high speeds, then horrified as I chartwheeled in a flurry of limbs, my board shooting past me to the base of the dune. I experience that inevitably long and heart stopping moment as I scan my body for serious injuries. I feel like someone with a hammer the size of a mini cooper has smashed my head and neck into my body (like that game at the fair where you have to hammer the goffers into the ground). When my head finally stops spinning Tim makes me blow my nose, where about half a kilo of sand is lodged where my nostrils used to be. Tim finally gets me up and I limp the short way to the bottom of the dune (I nearly made it!). I soon realise that those damn bolts have got me one more time, gouging a line of skin off my left shin. My is head throbbing and my neck and left shoulder are aching as I haul myself back to the dune buggy.
It's funny what you can gauge by other people's reactions. Mr Crazy's mad grin has been replaced by a decidedly bemused look - so my spectacular mishap obviously made an impact on him (and I reckon he sees a fair few dune casualties)! However, as he revs the buggy into action the maniacal grin once again spreads across his face as he begins his finale of dangerous driving.
As the sun sets he absolutely canes down the dunes, somehow getting enormous amounts of air between us and the sand. It feel like we're back in that lurching Cessna, not what I need in my delicate and painful state. Even Tim is gob smacked at the recklessness of this guy's driving (somewhat ironic considering his track record).
Somehow, we miraculously make it back to Huacachina vaguely in one piece. According to Tim I was the firm winner of the dubious double award of highest speed/best stack of the day. To his great disappointment, he didn't capture my misadventure on film so you'll have to make do with footage of his more minor stacks (though he did manage to rip his shirt and hurt his shoulder too). I have to say that it is, in fact, the best stack I've ever had and I woke up the next day feeling like... well, feeling like I'd hurtled uncontrollably down an enormous sand dune. As well as the skinned knuckles/bum cheek/shin and numerous friction burns, I have strained about every existing muscle in my neck and my left shoulder, have a bruised left foot, and feel like 40% of my skull has suffered from a very high impact (ie. something like a fairly large sand dune whacking me over the head). I'd say it is akin to being run over by a steam roller! In the following days various orifices of my body shed enough sand to build a respectably sized sand castle. I may have slight brain damage from the experience, but it was bloody good fun. My only recommendation is to avoid the sitting position on the big dunes...