Desert Winds

Those that know us well, and even not so well, will understand that calling us wind-obsessed would be an understatement.

It was therefore only fitting that we dive deep into the less-explored regions of the earth again in order for us to discover some kiteable gems.

One consistent obstacle we tend to have is a love-hate relationship with various check-in staff of airlines. Purely due to the nature of packing a quiver of kites, boards, harnesses, bars, lines, straps, pumps and even small, large-wheeled vehicles (the buggy's as we fondly know them) tension at the check-in is not unusual - and that's just kite gear! The conversation tends to go a little something like..."what on earth is that!?"" so which we explain, before the next question....."why!?" Rather than drilling down to the core of our ethos and explaining in depth - as the hoards of passengers behind us grow impatient - we usually just smile, nod and reply with "someone's got to do it." In any case, travelling with us is not for the feint of heart - we are thankful for patient and encouraging wives who have to endure these long customs conversations time and time again - all with a brimming smile!

The fun part, maps! We love pining over maps, sometimes for hours on end. Geographical, topographical, any-graphical you can give us. Oh, and wind charts - equally as stimulating! Watching them come to life is the real joy as we look out across vast lanscapes, noticing landmarks, valleys and rises.

For those that haven't spent time in Namibia - it's truly most akin to (what I would imaging) as a moonscape on some foreign planet. Deserts have this uncanny ability to inspire - shifting sands, wind-swept dunes, intense heat, bitter cold at night, rich colours and soaring skies. First things first, time to lather our lilly-white skin in long sleeves, suncream, zinc, hats and anything else to cover-up - sunburn, heatstroke and subsequent dehydration are the biggest killers in a place like this. Delerium can set in very quickly if you haven't taken proper precautions - thankfully as a reconaissance expedition resource scarcity isn't an issue like it is over a long-haul expedition.

So enough dilly-dallying, time to lay out the kites (carefully selected acording to the wind conditions) pop them up and get comfortable in the buggy. Next step, start looping to get up those ridges then tear down them at speed - what a feeling! We were encouraged to see how effectively the equipment worked in getting us up and down the dunes - with a bit of technical flying. Ozone kites were pick of the bunch.

Deserts weren't the full extent of our adventures either. Our new experience had us yearning for any open-sand spaces, salt pans and even farm-land we could lay our eyes on. So much so we would drive the long-way round, even resort to ultra-light aircraft in order to scope out new spots to have a spin. The shot below was making good pace across an empty maze field on a farm in Tanzania.

Lots to think about now - planning, logistics, permissions and adding our 5th Element Expedition flavour to what will surely be another spectacular expedition.

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