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  • AutorenbildHans Genthe

The Desert and the Wüstenschiff

After I came to Dubai, it took me three months before I had my first desert experience: a hike through the desert in Al Qudra, an area 20 km east of Dubai with some artificial lakes. A beautiful place. We found a lot of animals, plants and sand. After three months in Dubai with omnipresent light and sound pollution this was really amazing. Suddenly there was room to breathe.

Although the desert covers more than a fifth of the land area of the earth, it always seemed to me to be a strange landscape that particularly attracts me. Since my birth I have been addicted to the sea. But now I have found many parallels.

In February 2020 we were invited to join the „Wüstenzeit“ - the desert time of the Christian community of Dubai. It was a great joy to meet nice people in a great place. Some of them became good friends.

It was the first time that I drove through pure sand as a co-pilot. I was impressed by the capabilities of the off-road vehicles. At that time we had a rental car.

So I started reading a lot about off-road vehicles. At the Car Souk in Ajman I found a good looking old Nissan Patrol Y60, but quite expensive and in very bad condition. I liked the shape and so I looked for more information. At the end of March I found a nice white Patrol at Dubizzle, the local Ebay competition, we bought the car just before the loackdown in Dubai. The former owner, a local Arab, was very helpful and honest. The 1994 Nissan Patrol Y60 has a newer TB45 4.5l petrol engine, which gives more than enough power in the dunes. Finally we found the right car for the area. :-)

Above: The "Wüstenschiff" - Ship of the Desert. Here is our new Facebook-Page: Wüstenschiff: Ship of the Desert >> Our first desert trip in April after the lockdown took us only 500 m into the desert, near Townsquare. But impressive. We went for a walk and found this friendly guy, a Dub lizard. We were a bit scared, but at home we learned that this dangerous looking creature is rather shy and prefers to eat plants than people.

A week later Moritz, the pastor of the Christian community, invited me to go on an early morning desert excursion. That was an experience!!! I learned a lot about desert recreation ... thanks for the training and help. The first two trips into the desert with helpful friends led to much experience 😆 and showed the weak points 🙄.

Now we are preparing the car for longer trips in the winter: Preparing such an old for the desert means a lot of work. We are happy we have some friends which give us a lot of advice. During the last years the maintenance was something very special ... the art of improvisation.

First check of the new ship by a real local expert.

- new wheel bearings

- new drive belt power steering

- new oil filter

- new air filter

- new fuel filters

- new drag link

- new lower control arm bushes

- brake cylinder repair kit

- a lot of new hoses

- new engine mount left and right

- new tie rod front left and right

- cooling water temperature doesn´t work

- oil temperature doesn´t work

- differential switch is disconnected

Useful desert tuning parts: - new bigger radiator (aluminium)

- lift kit

- kevlar reinforced radiator hoses

- new AC radiator (aluminium) and hoses

- additional oil radiator

After many recommendations and hints we found a workshop with a lot of experience with Patrol Y60. In 1991 Ivan came from Australia to Dubai, founded his workshop "Powertec" and worked a lot on the Y60. His tuned, turbocharged 300 hp engine, based on a TB42, must be a weapon. His tuned racing cars became 4x Group N Middle East Champions (based on Mitsubishi). At least he and his team solved our electrical problems: "Your Car had some wilful or better creative wiring solutions ...". Thank you very much. We will come back.

It´s always hard to wake up at 5:00 a.m. with the intention to start in the desert, but´s worth doing it. In the summer it´s the best time, until 9:00 less than 40 degrees temperature and great light. In Juli and August we started as copilots, because our "ship" is a workshop ...

Desert sunrises and sunsets deliver incredible colors. Air, light, space, sand, rocks. The color palette of the desert scenery is stunning. Blues, reds, oranges, greens, and everything in between.

The desert’s inhabitants just want to be left alone to live as they were meant to live. With little water, plants and animals found in the desert must adapt to harsh conditions. We love the deserts clean, stark simplicity. Even the plants give each other some space.

Looks like a real dragon: Uromastyx lizard or dabb lizard. German: Dornschwanz Eidechse.

In the summer, when there´s a lot of humidity at the coast and in the cities, the desert is much hot, but dry. In the morning is s clarity that brings out the night sky.

Some say the desert is a big challenge that has to be overcome. Others say the desert is an arid place with a barren landscape that offers nothing but danger especially if you are bad prepared. By all means this rambling sand is full of unforgettable adventures with never-ending stories to tell around cozy night-time campfires under a clear, starry sky. But it’s much more than this.

The dry-land also provides a well of peace and serenity and if you learn and accept the dominant rules and principles the desert will become your friend.

Another morning in the desert. Always ride in a team - it's easy to get stuck in the dry, soft sand in summer. Get up at 5am, get out of the desert at 10am at the latest. Worth it. I was allowed to be there as co-pilot.

These camels are really very nice. And peaceful and quiet.

Similar to the sea. Shit can and will happen. Be prepared.

This great lizard lives everywhere in the desert. He is fast, but if he tries to hide you can catch him. Who knows more

about this funny small friend?

Desert cycling training: You can really adapt to the temperatures. 42 to 37 degrees decreasing from 19:00-21:00 ... and even makes fun. Unless you have a flat tire. During a cycling ride in the town I learned a lot about my body, heat and humidity ... I was totally exhausted after one hour driving, no power left. I found the reason in a cycling article - I made everything wrong. 35-38° and 50-60% humidity feels like more than 50 degrees temperature … the air in the desert is drier. Here´s the good article about cycling and heat:

A lot more pictures here at our Facebook-Page: Wüstenschiff: Ship of the Desert >>

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