Friday, November 11, 2011

Our Trip to the Inland Sea

The weather has changed here. Suddenly, the nights are cool, and we're donning sweaters I was beginning to think we would never don. Although daytime temps are still in the 20s, when it gets to around sunset, if I'm still in a t-shirt, I actually start getting goosebumps. It's downright embarrassing. Am I really Canadian? A woman we met at the park who's lived in the Middle East for many years said it like this: "If you think of the 50 degree weather we were living  in, 20 degrees is quite a drop! So it makes sense we feel cold. " Um, ya, I guess... but I still feel like a wimp.

I hear it's going to get hotter again this weekend, but for now we've really been loving Doha's "winter" temps. These temps were brought on by an equally surprising but welcomed occurrence: RAIN. Yes, Monday morning we awoke to the sound of rain drops. Our first Doha rain. Jeff was so excited he moved the truck out to get it "washed" (wishful thinking) and took some pictures. Look at that: real rain drops.

The rain was exciting except for one fact: we had planned a trip to the Inland Sea that day. But really... rain schmain. We weren't about to be deterred. So around 9am, we set off for our meeting point: Sealine Resort, where we would meet up with the three other vehicles that would be part of our caravan for the day.

Sealine Resort, just under an hour south of Doha, is the point at which the road ends. Everyone driving to the Inland Sea pulls off to the side of the road at this point, deflates their tires, and then stands around for awhile till someone in the group deems it's time to go. Then we all pile into our vehicles and head into the desert. There are no marked roads, but there are more and less commonly used routes. For the most part, we followed the "salt road." It's flat and feels like a paved road, but it's salt. Yes. And at other times, we hit a few of the gentler dunes. Just enough to get one of us stuck. It took us about another hour to get to our destination.

For your information, I found this little bit of information from the Qatar Tourism Authority:
Khor Al Adaid (80 km south from Doha)Also known as the Inland Sea, this breathtakingly beautiful area, surrounded by crescent-shaped sand dunes, is one of Qatar’s finest treasures and a prime tourism asset. A shallow tidal lake with a narrow outlet to the sea, the many-lobed Khor Al Adaid lies between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and has shores in each country.
Four-wheel-drive vehicles are necessary and only experienced drivers should attempt the journey. 
And for your viewing pleasure, I have a rare treat for you... corny videos narrated by yours truly. I promise, each one is short... a minute or so. And yes, they are slightly lame... but maybe they'll give you a better sense of what the day was like. If nothing else, they will make you smile and remember us Epps a little better. Enjoy!

Video #1: Getting Ready at Sealine Resort

Video #2: Going to see the camels (please insert the phrase "dune buggy" where needed. Honestly, I can't believe I forgot the word "dune buggy!") 

And in case you're curious about the camels we saw, here's a picture:

Video #3: Here we go!

Video #4: Stuck Vehicle

Here's Kaiya just before we climbed the dune to where Tom's vehicle was stuck:

Video #5: Getting Unstuck

And finally, some pictures of our time at the Sea. We stayed till around 2:30, wanting to make sure we were back well before sunset. But till then, we enjoyed swimming, picnicking, collecting shells, watching fish, and just hanging around. The way back was crazy busy, with loads of Qataris coming in to spend the night.

We stopped to help someone with a flat tire. 

Kaiya has loved each of our day trips. She still is crazy about water.

Looking around for seashells.

Enjoying the shallow water.

Many Qataris camp throughout the winter... in style, with air conditioners, lights, running water...

Enjoying lunch

Kaiya and Jeff spent most of the afternoon swimming, while I went for a nice, long walk along the shoreline.

It was a really great experience to go off-roading, but I think next time we'll overnight it with an organized tour. That way we can leave the preparations to someone else, and stay to enjoy the beautiful Qatari sunset.


Anonymous said...

It reminds me like driving in a lot of snow , even worse the car was dancing . Next when you are by camels can you put Kaiya on the camel ? Mom

mariaborito said...

haha! kathy i love hearing your voice! you are so funny and excited. i loved hearing kaiya and jeff too. miss you guys!

Rose said...

I was thinking of snow too! Do you keep shovels in your trunks? And proper shoes in case you get stuck? So funny to see the parallels with our winter. Sounds beautiful though, the temperature. And the Sea is amazing! Wow.

Mia said...

I am new here... I was just looking for info about the inland sea excursion in Qatar and end up on you blog!
Funnily enough, We (my hubby and I) lived in Canada for 10 years begore heading for a new expat experience in Australia :) ... So, nice to hear dome canuck experiences overseas!!!
If I may ask... We will spend 2 days in Doha in December and we are planning this full day trip to Inland Sea. Would ypu recommend take the morning or afertnoon trip? And... Would you mind sharing which company do you use?! :)
Thanks in advance!
Cheers, Mia

gypsy said...

Hi Mia,
We went in the morning and had lunch there because we wanted to be back before sunset. And we went with a group of friends, not with a tour.

However, there are some companies here who do day tours and overnight tours at the Inland Sea. We might do an overnight camping trip with one of them next time.

Qatar International Tours:

Qatar International Adventures:

Good luck!

Mia said...

Your blog is really loveky! Continue to have fun in Qatar :)

Suzanne said...

Somehow I totally missed this post and what a post! How much fun is that! I definitely want to go to some dunes, maybe not off-roading per-say, though that would be fun. I just want to be out in the desert!