Riding the ships of the desert in the biggest sand sea in Morocco – Erg Chegaga

M’hamid el Ghizlane is at the end of the road the leads into the dessert.

It’s a strange way to start a story about going to Morocco at the end of the road into the desert at a town only 40km from the closed Algerian border.

But this is discontinuous narrative and at some stage I will get back to the start of the journey.

But getting to the desert and it’s nomadic herders was a dream for me.

At M’hamid the mighty breva was garaged while the crew at https://www.desertbivouac.com/ took control.

The Erg Chegaga is the biggest sand sea in Morocco and a perfect place get the feel of the desert.

At the one of the small oasis, or…

Or riding a ship of the desert in a sand sea.

Riding the waves of sand up to 300m high.

Waves that change colour with the setting sun.

To time this adventure with a desert full moon was extra special.

And to sit on a Berber carpet in the desert listening to the sounds of Bedouin singing and drumming beside the camp fire under its silver light

This has to be one of my most amazing travel experiences. So thanks to Desert Bivouac

Australia’s borders are open, its autumn, and time to contemplate Northern Hemisphere Travel

Summer has flowed into autumn in Melbourne, Australia

At my local beach the water is cool and clear

So clean you feel like you could reach out and grab a handful of sea lettuce and just munch it

But in late February, Australia’s international borders opened post covid and my mind had turned to travel again to the Northern Hemisphere and the motorbike I have stored in England

Time for another European Adventure , and maybe with a touch of North Africa.

It was time to get used to riding my Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 again. The same bike as I have in England.

The Mighty Breva was 3,000 km short of its next service. Perfect for a return trip to NSW to enjoy that beautiful part of Australia and catch up with friends.

So it was time to hit the highway and byways.

Pick up some uninvited company on the way

Then head over the Waterfall Way

To the Northern NSW Coast.

I still believe the beaches of Northern NSW are the best I’ve seen in all my travels. Unfortunately due to the heavy recent rains the water was a murky brown rather than the usual blue.

The Arawarra Fish Traps are a legacy of the aboriginal aquaculture in this area.

At high tine the traps are hardly visible.

But at low tine the intricate stonework of the traps are revealed.

And a trip to this area is not complete without a ride in the mountain rainforest.

Unfortunately the changeable and wild weather that has been happening on Australia’s east coast cut my time and I had to come back to Melbourne early.

As I had a swim this afternoon this tern was flying overhead.

Its soon time for me to fly

In a couple of weeks its across the world to England to see my sister, collect my Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 stored there and then head across Spain to Morocco to recommence the journey of adventure there, which was cut short by pandemic in 2020.

The mountains and the sea of South East Australia. Part 2 – water flowing to sea

Rivers are like arteries of the land

The water they carry the life blood

Water is life!

Something we should never forget.

The Murray River, the longest river has its head waters in the mountains of South East Australia and wends a long path west before crossing through three states to meet the sea.

But these mountains don’t take their from the Murray but share a name called Snowy.

The Snowy Mountains and the Snowy River are both known for their wild beauty

The Snowy River originates on Mount Kosciuszko and flows 352km to the sea at the 90 mile beach at Marlo.

The Snowy was a wild river now somewhat tamed by being dammed at Lake Jindabyne.

When I was younger I walked the trail to the peak of Mount Kosciuszko from the ski resort town of Thredbo.

This trip was a ride through the mountains south to follow the river from Lake Jindabyne to the sea,

The route was through the southern sections of the Kosciuszko National Park and into the Snowy River National Park camping at the famous McKillops Bridge.

The campground sits just above the river with a little beach on the Snowy River

McKillops Bridge is a long narrow wooden bridge opened in 1935 that spans a low gorge of the Snowy River and links remote villages in the mountains of South Eastern Australia.

Originally McKillops Bridge was to open in January 1934 but a huge flood sent a 14 metre high wall of water down the Snowy River lifting the wooden top structure off the concrete pylons. The rebuilt bridge was designed to withstand a 17 metre flood. Not that that is likely now the wild river has been tamed by Lake Jindabyne.

The Snowy River National Park is home to smaller rivers, tributaries and deep gorges in the mountains, reflectiong the wild remoteness of these mountains.

At the little village of Marlo the Snowy meets the sea

At Corringle Beach on the Marlo Estuary sits an old slipway where the boats that used to ply the old wild Snowy were pulled up for repairs.

An immature Osprey standing guard over the estuary

A small line of sind dunes separates the estuary

from the 90 mile beach and the wild sea that pounds it.

The Snowy drops from around 2000 metres high in its short 350kilometre journey to the Ocean. No wonder it was a wild river.

When I’m 64

Maybe its a latter life crisis

Too late for a mid life one – me thinks

Haven’t been to the blog for a while

Feel a bit like the unadventurous adventurer at the moment

In reality its just the piecemeal part

And now I’m 64

A child of Aquarius

My birthday just past

Maybe its still a hangover from the amazing 8 months I had travelling around some of the most iconic and remote places in Australia.

I think I miss a lot of being in the wilderness now Im back in the city.

But there have been little escapes

On the Mighty Breva onto the Victoria’s Central Highlands

In the rain forests and on the windy roads and trails in the Otway Ranges

I think my late life crisis hit its peak on my last trip to the Otway Ranges

Riding some of the more difficult trails, getting bogged in mud and in sand and having to muscle a big heavy bike out of those predicament

One beauty of the Otway Ranges is the waterfalls such as Beauchamp Falls

It’s also where the rainforest meets the Southern Ocean

But I think what I have missed most being back in a big city is the stars.

The lume of artificial light from a major city like Melbourne robs the night sky of its sparkling grandeur

But camped in the higher parts of the Otways on a clear crisp night with little but a camp fire to compete with the night sky put on a special show.

It’s 2022 now and we are entering the third year of the pandemic and for us in Australia the possibility of travelling overseas again.

I still have a bike in the UK and there is a strong urge to complete the journey to Morocco that I started in 2020 and that was bought to a sudden and abrupt halt in Spain and its first pandemic lock down.

Also there is nothing like riding a motorcycle in the Alps lol

Looking across to Grimsel Pass from Furka Pass in the Swiss Alps

Ps an addition for my friends in the US. In the Otways there is a small stand of Sequoia. They were planted in 1939, only babies in the life of these trees but already they are reaching high into the sky. A little bit of California in Victoria.

An interlude in Victoria’s temperate rainforest.

Friends and followers its a while since I last posted. At that time I foreshadowed further tales of my forebears pioneering times in Western Australia

But the truth is that 8 months of travel on a motorbike much of it sleeping in a tent left me tired and a case of still itchy feet complicated my enthusiasm to write

The only remedy was getting back out into nature.

To the east of Melbourne the Grand Ridge Road is a winding 132 km ride across the the Strzelecki Ranges and a mix of sealed and unsealed road.

The road runs through rich farming land, old growth temperate rain forest and sadly, old forests that have been destroyed by clear felling.

At the eastern end, the road winds down into Yarram through the Tarra Bulga National Park

Here are some views of this beautiful forest.

Coming down of the mountains the forest is dryer and the wild flowers abound.

To the West of Melbourne is the Great Ocean Road and the Otway Ranges – a favourite haunt I have written of often.

But even on a day trip to a well known area there are new places to find and the waterfalls were at their best after the spring rains

The swimming hole at She oak falls was too inviting to resist

Unfortunately I got to Stevenson Falls late in the day and as it was too late for a dip on a day trip

But I had been enjoyed my time having a beer and a swim at Wye River.

A stop off at the beautiful harbour at the coastal village of Apollo Bay

The perfect end to any day trip is of course- A beautiful sunset.

Now I’ve had a little interlude, a couple of day trips and the batteries are starting to feel recharged I will get back to my families pioneering tale. After you are warned at the start of my blog it is a discontinuous narrative!!!