Sunrise and socks

Putting our new travel tactics into practice, we were all up before the sun appeared over the horizon. It's surprising to those of us who have never been to the desert before that the mornings are quite damp. But watching the sky turn a variety of pinks and purples as we eat breakfast and pack camp is more than worth the early start.

We set off into a pleasant temperature, much more manageable than the midday heat we experienced yesterday. Progress is made even easier by abandoning shoes and walking in socks instead. It allows much better grip on the sand while still offering some protection.

Today we really worked on our route-finding and navigation. Although we had a waypoint some 40km to the south that the GPS would point us to, there was plenty of local obstacles such as sprawling thorny bushes, dense patches of grass and steep-sided dunes that required on the spot decisions and that couldn't have been forseen. This situation is very similar to what we will face in the Arctic when it won't be possible to simply travel in a straight line to the North Pole due to the shifting sea ice and local obstacles such as pressure ridges and open leads of water. It is really frustrating when it is someone else's turn to lead to let them make those decisions - but slowly we are learning to trust each other.

Less trustworthy were the camels. We saw plenty roaming the dunes. They are not wild but are left to graze by their Bedouin owners. They would watch us suspiciously as we trekked past with our sledges, eyeing us lazily as they chewed on grass and thorns.

The midday break was a success, allowing us to escape the worst of the heat by rigging up some shelter for shade for a few hours before continuing until dark.

We saw lots of camels - but they are not wild.

We saw lots of camels - but they are not wild.

Cooler temperatures and beautiful sunrises made dawn a favourite time of day

Cooler temperatures and beautiful sunrises made dawn a favourite time of day

Natasa (Slovenia) getting to grips with GPS navigation.

Natasa (Slovenia) getting to grips with GPS navigation.

Anisa (Oman) gripping her socks ready to put on when the sand gets too hot for bare feet...

Anisa (Oman) gripping her socks ready to put on when the sand gets too hot for bare feet...

Us looking at the camels looking at us - mutually suspiscious.

Us looking at the camels looking at us - mutually suspiscious.

End of a hot day, hungry for dinner - Clockwise from bottom left: Lamees (Kuwait), Natasa (Slovenia), Steph (Cyprus), Anisa (Oman), Ida (sweden), Misba (UK), Susan (France).

End of a hot day, hungry for dinner - Clockwise from bottom left: Lamees (Kuwait), Natasa (Slovenia), Steph (Cyprus), Anisa (Oman), Ida (sweden), Misba (UK), Susan (France).