Camping was always fun to the boys. Seems that everyone had a good night sleep. We woke up for our “sahur” around 4.30 am with some leftovers and snacks available. The air was very cold. After Fajr, we decided to continue with our nap while waiting for the sunrise. Seems like everyone had a good night sleep and didn't realize the sun was already up. Only mommy was up caused she was playing with game on iPad while everyone was sleeping...haha (this a secret...trying to break my kids record ;-))!
Once everyone was up, the weather was too cold for a swim. The kids still insist on swimming but we were scared they might catching cold by swimming in the cold morning air. Comparing to the other beaches of Red Sea that we have seen, this one is nice but incomparable to the other beaches that we have seen so far of the red sea. It is clean and nice but nothing compare to Maqna beaches that we were there yesterday. After the kids gets to finds some sea shells and stone throwing competition, we decided it is time to pack our tents and heading for Duba.
Our humble camp by the seaside.
On the way to Duba we stop over another historical spot in Tabuk, Al Muwaileh castle. It is about 45 km before reaching the town of Duba. The castle is from the Ottoman empire which was built in 968H/1560 AD. The castle is built on 120,000 square meters surrounded by a protecting wall. It was strategically built and became a main Hajj station on the highway for the Egyptian pilgrims and it was the largest station on the road. The castle was build by Sultan Sulaiman the Magnificent.
The castle is very near to the Muwaileh/Muaileh/Muailih (choose any spelling you like, its all referring to the same place :-)) beach. Even the beach here are very unique with its own beauty. It is a gorgeous beach with gradated sands and many palm trees. From the crystal clear water, we can see that the beach is partly stony and partly sandy. As we are catching up time, we couldn't stop for water playing again at this coastal area. Supposedly we find from the net, there should be a Prophet Mousa (a.s) Water Spring nearby the area but after a drive around, we failed to find one. So, it is the right time for us continue our journey to Duba.
In front of fenced Muaileh Castle
Side view of Muaileh Castle
It doesn't take long for us to reach Duba. Duba is a small town and a port city where ferries and ships operate from here for Egypt and Jordan. The Hurgada and Safaga ports of Egypt can be reached within about 3 hours (minimum) by ferry. It is strategically located at the starting point of Gulf of Aqaba that ends at Ellat (Israel) and Aqaba, Jordan. Local citizens describe it as The Pearl of the Red Sea.
It was another great surprised to find such a beautiful town in Saudi Arabia. The small town is very well kept and decorated with varieties of miniatures from seashells, pearls and sea creatures. The port with the masjid on the background gave a spectacular panorama. Bridge, shops, fish souq and boats makes the place looks 'happening'. We are sure the place would be full of people after Asr as the afternoon was quite a heat when the sun top on your head. Another place where you don't expect to be in Saudi Arabia! The more we explore the northern, the more we are in love with it.
After driving around the town taking a glimpse of the town surrounding, we continue to our next destination which is Wadi Dissa.
Is this in Saudi? So peaceful, green and clean.
This Duba surely have many interesting and unique arch to be seen.
We continue our journey to Wadi Dissa which was another attraction by seeing the beautiful pictures posted on the net. Driving to the place itself was a splendid experience. We felt like driving in the village in our hometown since there were green trees and grasses by the roadsides. Until we reach the end of the road...the real beauty lays down right in front of your eyes. Everyone were excited. This is the best place in Saudi Arabia! We have awarded Wadi Dissa to be number one place in Saudi!
The road leading to Wadi Dissa.
Dissa is a stunning oasis lying in a beautiful plain of sand. It is surrounded by striking sandstone mountains and dramatic peaks. A four-wheel drive vehicle is a must to navigate in deep sand before reaching the entrance of a red sandstone gorge. Unable to control the lust of exploring its beauty, we couldn't resist to make an effort entering the wadi as far as we can.
The soft thick sands were really challenging. We manage to passed the first portion of the entrance where we had to go through small streams and quite big puddle. One side of the high rocky mountains were full of 'art graffiti's. The graffiti's were so obvious until we miss what lays behind it....fresh water comings from the rocks of the mountain! Masyaallah!
Both sides of the hills were covered with papyrus and dates tree which add the green color to the orange, brown rocky mountains. We already fall in love with the beauty. The landscape is like a postcard. The combination of colours were just perfect. Thus, we decided to make an effort to pass through another phase of the soft thick sand. However, we weren't so lucky this time :-(. The moment we wish we didn't dare to proceed..OUR 4WD CAR STUCKED!!!
We have minor gears with us in case of stuck but wasn't hoping of using it. Seems we have to opt for a little more adventure to our trip ;-). Me and hubby start digging sands from under the car to place the slipping mat under the tyre. First attempt...FAIL! Second attempt...FAILED! Wow...now there's a bit of tense sense in the air. It was already Asr and we are stucked in the sandy Wadi and we're fasting! In about two hours time it will soon gets dark.
We started to ask our son to survey around the area in case we need to camp here if we'll stucked till night. At least there's stream of water for our use. While we were struggling to dig more sands and taking out the air tyre, a 4WD pick-up on its way out stopped. They were two of them and one of them which is the older one was deaf or mute. They used sign language asking whether our car is a 4WD. We nod telling them its an automatic 4WD.
They started to reduce further the tyre pressure for all 4 wheels. The car got stucked more and seems to be hanging on the sand. Without giving up, one of the guy took his gear and attempt to pull the car with their pick-up. They tried a few times and it still failed. One of the guy seems like giving up but the older one insist on trying. Together with hubby they were digging, pulling, pushing and putting every effort they could.
There were 2-3 pick-ups and 4WD passed by us without stopping or even asking, that gave us more pressure since we felt being neglected :-(. Anyhow, what were we expecting, right? Its good enough that these two guys are helping us with all what they had.
As our hopes getting lower and the pressure intensified, came this big Chevrolet Navara pick-up with 3-4 shababs (young Saudi) on their way to camping (with all the usual camping gears) in the wadi and being stopped by the two guys that were helping us.
MasyaAllah, when our hopes almost gone, there is still people that come to our help and put our hopes high again. That's the reality in this life, we should never feel hopeless, especially as a muslim. We have to keep praying and keep trying. After all, we have Allah, the best Helper of all.
With this mighty beast, with one pull… that's it, our car got out from the “sticky” sand, Alhamdulillah...what a great relief! We were so thankful to Allah for the assistance we got. The shababs quickly continuing their way further into the wadi after giving us an advice in Arabic, but we still understand it which is “get one like our pickup, only then can enter the sandy wadi, otherwise no-no with your AWD SUV”. My husband just smiling and nodding at them.
As for the other 2 guys, we tried to gave them some money as a gesture of appreciation for the assistance but they politely refuse.. and asked us to pray for them instead. MasyaAllah... may Allah bless their sincerity in helping us.
A bit of the mountain magic…
We turned back and getting out of the wadi and quickly went to find a spot where we could pray for Asr as it is getting late. We took wudhu' from the stream flowing along the road. Very cool and refreshing. It was a meaningful day of Arafah for us. We remind our kids not to forget making du’a asking blessing for the people who had sincerely help us today and how grateful for everything that has happened to us today.
Now it is time for us to find food to break our fasting. We have less than an hour to find food. The challenge was not able to see any restaurant on our way here! Anyhow…at least we had some water, a few box of juice and biscuits. Since we had our car air tyre releases while back in the sand…now we had to take our time to fill in the air tyre. As the air pump machine we had could only used for 15 minutes at one time..we had to make four stop to fill in as much air as we can for a decent ride until we reached a petrol station for a proper air tyre filling…which makes longer time for us to get food!
By the roadside stopping to fill in air tyre…
The mountains shimmered like a mirage from inside our car along the way…
After properly filling up the tyre pressure at the first petrol station that we found, we continuing our journey, with a music in our stomach :-). Our drive for tonight will get us out of Tabuk Province which is a lovely province. If it wasn't that far from Riyadh, surely we would love to come again for a visit. Tabuk offers so many attractions for anyone who love to explore the kingdom. From sandy rocky mountains to coastal beaches. There are more than 10 islands and shores offered by Heqel, Duba and Wajh district. Not to forget on the heritage of historical places right here in Tabuk. So many that we haven't covered though so many that we felt grateful for having the opportunity to visit. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w in a hadith about Tabuk said, "if you were destined to live a long life you will see in here fields full of vegetation."
Our destination for tonight is Sakaka, one of the hitorical and archelogical city in Jouf province. From the GPS, it will be another more than two hours drive before we reached Sakaka, which that means another two hours with our starving stomach. Wow.. what a challenging day for the family. A day of fasting with great energy to pull out our car out, no bath yet from our camp day, but blessed with a beauty of god’s creation and the beauty of heart.. Subhanallah.
As we reached Sakaka, we bought some foods and directly looking for any nearby hotels that we could found at an acceptable rate. At least Sakaka gave us a better option compare to other towns we have been thru. Finally we end up the day with a decent hotel which insist us taking two rooms though actually the four bedded room was big enough for all of us.
All in all, what a day.. another interesting day to be remembered in our life. Tomorrow is Eid-ul-Adha. This is going to be our 6th time spending Eid without our extended family. And in that every Eids, we really missing the air, sounds, feels and looks of Eid in our home country. This is something that we are trading with what we are looking for here. How long we could keep our missing feeling, we will see… -twð