The week after our desert camping trip we were lucky enough to be invited by friends to join them on another camping trip, this time the plan being to go on their boats to one of the islands off the coast of Abu Dhabi to spend the night. Due to double booking of one of the boats the plan subsequently changed to spending the day at the island but not the night. Or so we thought……
As instructed we arrived at Yas Marina shortly after 9am to hitch a ride in one of the boats. The trip out to the island was enjoyable and uneventful and we were soon unloading our chairs, etc, setting up camp for the day and sitting down to relax.
After a few hours the men in the party decided to have a go at water skiing whilst the ladies sat with the water lapping round their feet, enjoying a drink, and offering helpful advice on the best technique. I was “lucky” enough to be first to have a go but proved to be completely inept, not managing to get anywhere near upright despite a number of attempts.
One of the other men proved to be something of an expert (the swine) so we all became engrossed watching him speeding up and down for a few minutes. Unfortunately none of us noticed that the tide was going out whilst we were watching, and it was only when the water skiing expert returned to shore that he noticed that one of the two boats was becoming rapidly grounded.
Despite our best efforts to push the boat into the deeper water, and some valiant jumping up and down to try and dislodge it by Flossie, it was too late. The boat was well and truly grounded. Efforts were made to dig the it out, and to tow it out with the other boat, but neither of these worked so we had to face the fact that we were going to have to stay put until the tide came back in.
It was about 4:00pm at that point. Searching on the internet established that low tide wasn’t until 6:30pm, so we calculated that the tide probably wasn’t going to be far enough in to float the boat off until at least 11:30pmish. We were in for a long wait!
To make matters worse we had pretty much run out of food and “drink” by that point so things were looking pretty bleak. An emergency planning meeting was held and we decided that we would build a fire to keep us warm when the sun went down, and that we would despatch the boat that was still floating back to civilisation to pick up provisions.
The plan was put into action and by 7pm we had a roaring fire going and the second boat had returned with pizza and plenty of drink. It actually turned out to be quite enjoyable to sit round the fire eating our tea and laughing about the situation we had got ourselves into.
The novelty started to wear off as it got later and later, and frequent checks of the water level indicated that the tide was coming in very slowly (“a watched kettle never boils”). We started to run low on wood, the night got colder, and people became quieter and quieter, huddling closer and closer together to keep warm. One by one the children fell asleep whether it be in the boat or by the dwindling fire.
Eventually, when I think a number of us were being to despair (am I being suitably dramatic?) there was a shout from the direction of the boat. There was a sign of movement! We all rushed to give it another push, and finally, at about ten to one in the morning the boat was free. Cue much cheering.
Relieved, we packed up our belongings and were soon on our way. A chilly 15 minutes later we were back at Yas Marina and thankfully were able to get a taxi immediately to take us home.
Looking back, whilst the final hour wasn’t much fun, the incident made the day very enjoyable and memorable. And in the end we pretty much got our camping trip, with the bonus of (eventually) sleeping in our own beds.
On to the next adventure, whatever that may be.
Thanks for reading.