Sandpit Hash run#14

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Nobody could accuse Sandpit Run#14 of being dull. We started the weekend wrecked and nearly ended it shipwrecked.

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The wrecked bit was explained by the evening before, which had involved Bacchanalian pursuits at the Abu Dhabi Hash Ball. A fine time was had, at least based on the bits that I remember.

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But it’s fair to say that the group which assembled at the port for the first of two boat rides across to tropical Lulu Island were the more dedicated hashers, and the less enthusiastic ones remained in bed nursing pounding heads.

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Eighteen such dedicated Sandpitters treated our morning-after physiologies to the short but choppy boat ride from al Mina across to the seaward side of Lulu Island. Considering it was so close to downtown Abu Dhabi, the island was unexpectedly pleasant with a breeze off the ocean keeping things considerably cooler than the asphalted car parking area of the port had been.

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We were met on the island by Aarfabithore and Di!do, who’d put their camping gear on the boat but then came across on their jetski. As the hare set the run (picking a route based on his varying levels of nausea at the time, making it the shortest run in Sandpit history) others set up camp and took turns on the jetski or being towed on the inflatable ring strung behind it.

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Basing the start of the run based on a combination of hangover recovery, length of trail and sunset timing, we opted for kick off at 6.30pm.

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It was agreed that this was a proper recovery run and any running would be punished. Although that seemed like a highly hypothetical consideration since just getting people beyond a prone position on the beach was going to be a bigger hurdle than dissuading athleticism.

The timing was impeccable. We ran immediately into island security, which is there to prevent people going further than the beach but is also rarely seen. So we made a tactical withdrawal back to the beach then headed back inland once they were gone.

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Who needs to go to Liwa? We didn’t need to because Liwa had come to us.

When Lulu Island was created just over 20 years ago, they imported sand from the Empty Quarter to create dunes. This had created some interesting topomorphic features and when the trail ventured through a saddle between two of these dunes was quickly dubbed, depending on your orientation, the cleavage or the ass crack.

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We’ll leave that metaphor there because we then ascended the, er, protuberance and were rewarded with a fine view back over towards the Corniche and downtown Abu Dhabi.

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Then it was back down into some date palms then back up again to the beer stop on top of the dune, with views out over the Gulf where the sun disappeared into the haze and back to Abu Dhabi. It was a fine spot, in which we lingered until it was almost fully dark.

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Back on the beach, we had the briefest of circles. But not before some of our number succumbed to the travails of the previous evening.

Last To Come enjoyed a moment of domination.

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Then we hosted a brief but amusing circle, capably RAed by Aarfabit, in which miscreants were cited and punished for sins both real and imagined.

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Then it was time to settle into the usual Sandpit evening events, which included W@nker the B@nker’s fine guitar skills.

This was unfortunately matched with singing by most of the rest of us which was of a quality more consistent with cats being tortured than anything deliberately melodic.

I have a video of this singing and for a small consideration – sent to extortion@sandpithash.org – I’ll destroy the file.

Considering the previous evening’s shenanigans, we lasted past midnight, where five of us took part in the fine tradition of the midnight nudie run.

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During the night the steady breeze picked up into something more serious.

It was certainly more serious for Snow White’s gazebo, which went from sheltering Sandpitters during the day to becoming a spinnaker sometime around 3am.

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More concerning was seeing the waves breaching the breakwater just offshore. The breakwater must be about 3m above water level so this was not looking very hopeful for the boat ride back.

The first boat was supposed to arrive at 8am but for nearly an hour, there was no sign.

So, from wrecked to shipwrecked. We began to wonder if we’d ever be able to get off the island, then began wondering how much food we had left and that in turn led to a consideration of which of us we’d have to eat first, like the South American rugby team trapped in the Andes.

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As we were contemplating this, two boats arrived and there was a rush to up sticks and head back to town, where hot showers and beds were waiting.

There was only a brief section where we were facing the wrath of the Gulf but that was plenty long enough as the noukhadas carefully nursed us through 3m swells and back into the calmer waters, during which some of our hashers spent the entire time with their eyes closed tightly shut.

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And then it was time to recover. I think Vanessa’s description summed up the weekend.

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We should be back on form before the season-ended Sandpit Hash.

Sandpit#15. Friday June 14.

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It’s now too hot to camp but not too hot for a final Sandpit extravaganza which, like last year, will be a canyoning trip through Hatta Pools, followed by an evening of shenanigans at the Hatta Fort Hotel. We’re booked the two huge villas with plenty of floor space to crash and have arranged a special rate for those who want their own rooms.

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How to get to Sandpit#14

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We’re a week away from Sandpit Run#14 on tropical Lulu Island on Friday May 17. It’s all part of a hashapalooza weekend with the Abu Dhabi hash ball the night before.

Everyone will be glad to know that we won’t be leaving until the effects of the previous evening’s shenanigans have begun to fade. Thanks to Eleven Inches’ generous noukhada skills, there’ll be a boat ferrying people from Al Mina (or Mina Port, as tautologists are wont to say) from 2pm to 4pm and then back again early(ish) the next morning.

The meeting place is marked. Email us on sandpit.hash@gmail.com if you need more info. Lulu Island has no amenities of any kind. Really — none! So come prepared. If you’re making your own way over, we’ll be on the Gulf side of the island, just above the “I” marked on the map below. Look for a bright yellow sea kayak on the beach.

The usual Sandpit Hash rules apply: the run fee (Dh50 this time, to help pay for the boat hire) covers a beer stop on the run and some down-downs in the circle but it’s BYO everything else — food, adult beverages, camping gear, water etc etc.

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The Sandpit Hash’s 13th run. What could go wrong?

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What could go wrong? The Sandpit Hash had reached the point of having its ominous 13th run, which was being organised by the Al Ain Hash in the dunes near Nahel.

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And of all the perils that could befall us in the UAE, a monsoon at the end of April seemed unlikely. But as we packed up on Friday morning, it was to threatening skies and then heavy rain.

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This might have daunted lesser hashers but the Sandpitters are made of sterner stuff. That or we’re more stupid. In any event, 30 hashers who fitted into either (or both) of those categories made the trek into the desert to a site Forrest Grunt had found.

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Some, of course, managed to get stuck while playing in the dunes beside the road. Does anyone think Can’t Get It Up ought to be renamed Can’t Get It Out???

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After the usual faffing, the run began at 5.30pm at which point the rain had eased off. As we headed away, Singe, one of the A2H3 group, managed to get his car bellied by being too timid while cresting a dune. This would normally be a matter of amusement to be cited later in the circle until one of the Al Ain crew announced: “But that’s the car carrying the beer stop!”

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This prompted a sudden profusion of volunteers offering to help.

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Red Bull’s 4×4 was called in to help and we resumed the run.

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The course was a good ‘un, involving a series of false trails set by Pebble Dash and Bustard to punish the FRBs.

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By this point Singe’s beer truck had been debogged by Red Bull and having found that  timidity had been a problem on the previous dune, Singe decided to gun it on the next one.

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He discovered that it worked. And he also discovered he should have worn his seat belt… I’m sure the bruise where his head hit the ceiling of the 4×4 will fade in time…

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But the good news was that the beer stop was just ahead. This was good because some of our hashers were suffering.

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If you ever wondered about the recuperative abilities of beer, check out this before-and-after example of Wining Beach. “Get this woman some Heineken, stat!”

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We headed on into the dunes once more, with the trail bifurcating into one for “walkers” and another for “runners and brisk walkers”.

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I’m not sure which category covered one of our hares, for whom this was her second lap of this course.

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Her co-hare adopted a winning strategy of grabbing onto Aarfabithore’s ass and getting towed up the dune.

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The run continued. Apollo continued to show up all of us bipeds.

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We crested a dune and discovered Beer Stop Two just ahead.

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Technically it was still Beer Stop One, just in a different location, but after conferring with the hash referees, we decided this raised the average BSQ (beer stop quotient) ratio to 1.07692307692, having had 14 beer stops in 13 Sandpit Hashes. We are now ahead of the curve on the one and only rule of the Sandpit Hash!

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Alayna, the youngest sandpitter, completed the run. Her parents, H@sh F@g and All Ewes’d Up, had swapped from a front-carrying device to a backpack one. Was this because Alayna was becoming heavy, I asked.

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“Nah,” H@sh F@g replied. “It’s to increase the carrying capacity.” And with that he rattled the backpack and the clink of six frosty beers in the storage space demonstrated the reason for the change.

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We continued on, although it’s fair to say the pace was not what it once was.

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And we were soon back in the campsite, where we prepared for the evening ahead. A carafe is definitely the classier way to quaff Russian Bear vodka, the finest spirits than Dh15 can buy!

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The fire was lit and then the circle began.

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The hares, Pebble Dash and Bustard, were brought into the circle. And alongside them were the Sandpit Two, Moby D!ck and Jaws, the only ones who had been to all 13 sandpits.

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Forrest Grunt had organised a raffle, which included this fetching piece of… um….

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This is pretty much how the later part of the evening looked to me at the time.

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The next morning, it turned out we had a new Sandpit Hash Sh!t, thanks to the, er, jaunty new shape Peking F*ck’s barbecue gained sometime late in the evening… (And it turned out the person who assisted in creating this new shape wasn’t aware of it until the following Monday…)

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Amazingly, the rain that had stopped just before the run held off until we were leaving the next morning. It returned with a vengeance. As we were driving back to the Dhabs, the temperature was recording 18 degrees only a few days from May. WTF, UAE???

Big thanks to Forrest Grunt and the rest of the Al Ain hash for organising an excellent Sandpit. On on to Sandpit#14!

Sandpit#14

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The weekend of May 16 to 18 is shaping up as something of a Hashapalooza. On Thursday night everyone is welcome at the Abu Dhabi Hash ball, a night which is not to be forgotten but is also unlikely to be remembered with much clarity either, if previous years have been any indication. It’s black tie and Dh250 a ticket, or Dh200/head if you organise a table of eight. You can sign up online here: http://www.auh4.org/social/2013Ball.php

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Since we’re going to be in town that weekend anyway, we’ve scheduled May 17 for Sandpit#14 on tropical Lulu Island. You can get an idea about what this is like through last year’s trip report: https://sandpithash.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/sandpit-hash-on-tropical-lulu-island/ We’re having to hire a boat for this, which will do shuttles from Al Mina in downtown Abu Dhabi from 2pm to 4pm and back again the next morning. To cover the cost of this, the hash price will rise to Dh50 for this Sandpit, which includes, of course, a beer stop.

Sandpit#15

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The season-ending Sandpit Hash will be on Friday June 14 and will be at Hatta Pools and is not so much a hash run as a canyoning trip. Improbably enough, this can be done when it’s 50 degrees outside and there are the easier upper canyon and the more taxing lower canyon. Because camping is out of the question, we’ll hire another villa at the Hatta Fort Hotel for the evening. Lots of floor space to crash out. You can read about the last one here: https://sandpithash.wordpress.com/2012/06/

Sandpit#16

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In late September we’ll have a Mud Sweat and Beers mangrove run. Based on last year, this is a lot of fun (except for the heat stroke the course setter suffered!?) and we’ll do a commemorative* and collectable** T-shirt to mark the start of the Sandpit’s third season. You can read about last year’s one here: https://sandpithash.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/sandpit-run7/

(*barely **unlikely)