The next leg of our journey was the one that I was most nervous about. The whole group was about to start a 4 day camping trip in isolated Bountiful/Khor Karfot and although I would visit it for a few hours, I was to stay behind ALONE with my 2 babies in Dulkut. Again that's all alone in the Middle-East, insert sinister voice and maybe a du du dummm for good measure. Granted things had gone pretty smoothly thus far in the trip but I still didn't really know what to expect about being on my own. It seemed dangerous and a bit overwhelming, not to mention I was worried about Varian and the group and how safe they would be.
We decided to have me stay behind for safety for the boys. We thought the camping would just be too hot and dirty and isolated for them. We didn't know if there'd be snakes or other poisonous creatures. Chad and Warren and had seen some type of mountain lion tracks on previous trips. We just decided it would be better to have them stay in the town. The night before I was feeling pretty worried and apprehensive of the whole thing. We weren't entirely sure there'd be somewhere for me to stay in Dulkut or if I'd be driving back the few hours on my own (through armed guard) back to our hotel in Salalah, and be there on my own.
I was also worried about getting our kids to Khor Karfot- as our plan was to get in a little fisherman dingy and boat there. We hauled life jackets in our suitcases for the boys just for this one day- but we are pretty terrible swimmers ourselves. I had prayed and wondered if we shouldn't even take them there at all. It's so hard to know what to do. We sat on the balcony at night and I had Varian give me a priesthood blessing (We're members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormons) click HERE for a larger explanation on preisthood blessings.)
My faith was a bit tested as we boarded the boats in the scorching heat of the mid-day sun, and forced our tired boys into life jackets. They both started screaming and going over those big choppy waves I did think we were a bit crazy. One of the nice fishermen that were helping us gave me this umbrella had for Reid and Kathrine helped hold it over us to give him shade while I sang in his ear and got him to calm down, and I think even fall asleep.
Even though it was just a small boat and a short ride I did feel such an insight into how Sariah must have felt. Loading up her whole family in a boat and sailing towards the unknown. How terrifying in ways. How she must have had faith and prayed for angels to encircle her family for protection.
We didn't know how much time I would have at Khor Karfot, if it would be a few minutes or a few hours. I was going to go back with the fishermen. Obviously it wasn't a lot of time to contribute to the expedition much, so the main plan I had was to use the metal detector on the beach (also on my bucket list of things to do.) As soon as we landed Chad ran it over to me and I began a very fast and desperate attempt to find metal ancient artifacts- sadly my attempts were unsuccessful- but it was crazy hot, and the whole group was unloading and getting ready to haul their things a bit inland, and we were taking photos...it was a lot to get in.
So we left the beach and began the trek inland- probably about 10 ish minutes or so, but it was extremely hot. It was nice to get to the shade and see the fresh water spring. Again look how lush and beautiful it was- especially compared to the dry sandy desert from before. No wonder they called it Bountiful!
Here's a shot of the whole group, and yes that's me holding a machete.
The ground was full of these little prickles that I had to pull out of my skin. Unfortunately I decided to pull off my long baby wrap to cool off and it got covered in the nasty things. I spent over an hour that night pulling them out and washing/clogging up my hotel sink.
Above Kathrine helped shield my as I fed Reid and we rested in the shade. After all I still was in the Middle-East where women cover their ankles- I can only imagine what they think about breastfeeding. I wish I could have stayed longer, but Salim and his friends were waiting to take the boys and me back to Dulkut. So off we trekked back to the beach.
Salim stopped to show us this local fruit that grew there that we could eat.
Life jackets were put back on and then I had to kiss Varian goodbye and get on the boat to leave alone. Just the idea of having both babies on the boat by myself to Dulkut was overwhelming.
I sat Reid on my lap and let Jaren sit/stand right next to me while I held onto his life jacket straps like a leash with a death grip. There was no way he was falling off that boat. So obviously I wasn't completely alone. Our local friends were there to drive the boat and help me if needed. And Actually Salim was my helper- Jaren kept laughing and jumping at ever giant wave wanting to go higher and higher. But then he would drop his binky out into the muddy water of the boat and Salim would hold it over into the salt water to clean it. Jaren became very attached to his binky this trip. I was a bit anti, but it was a bit of comfort away from home in a daily schedule of craziness and unfamiliarity. So we were a bit lenient with his binky time.
ps: We didn't want to take our nice cameras over on the boats with us and so I'm borrowing lots of other people's photos for this post. The letters next to some pictures indicate which person took them in order of appearance (with links for Felicity and Alana who have their own blog/websites). Thanks guys!