Teams have just finished the second day of kayaking on the Arabian Gulf, after a remote overnight camp out on a sandy island. Kiwi's are filling the podium currently, with Qasr Al Sareb (Richard and Elina Usher, Marcel Hagnar, Nathan Fa'avae) in first, ADCO NZ (Stu, Fleur Pawsey, Gordon Blythen and Nathan Peterson) and Vibram Sport 2000 with Kiwi Dwarne Farley.
After the fast and furious prologue - 'adventure triathlon' - around downtown Abu Dhabi teams took off for several hours of paddling. The Kiwi teams were quick to show their prowess on the water, with Richard Usher's Qasr Al Sareb taking the lead, with Stu and team ADCO NZ on their tail. By the end of the first section of the paddle Qasr and ADCO had put a bit of a break on the rest of the field, and could relax in camp watching the other teams come in.
Stu commented at the end of Day 1 "Triathlong was pretty good - we were a bit slow on the swim relative to some of the other teams, but made up for that by being faster on the biking and running sections. The kayak went really well,with some great paddling conditions in the Gulf - we even got a gap on Vibram Sport2000 (3rd place) when they fell out of their kayaks in the surf! We are watching the others teams come in now while we set up camp. Planning an early night tonight, as we will have to get up very early in the morning to srt out a few things before the start at 6:30am. Things look a bit tricky tomorrow with lots of channels and potential tidal flows to deal with"
Day Two saw and early start, with teams on the water just after dawn from 630am. With low tide at 830am, much will have rested on teams judging well where the deepest and best water flow was. It seems to have suited our Kiwi teams, with both Qasr and ADCO extending their leads over the chasing teams. Qasr are now 25 minutes up over ADCO, who are a further 15 minutes up on the French Vibram Sport2000 in 3rd.
Stu's comments on Day 2: "Good paddle today, shorter than expected, would have suited us if longer but we were still glad to finish.Four minutes back on Qasr today, 15 minutes in front of the french."
Teams are now on buses being taken deep into the desert, where they will enjoy a luxurious bivouac put on byt he organisers, with traditional Beudoin tents and local food. Tomorrow they head into the sand dunes for two days and 110km of desert treakking. Teams have to take 8 hours of stop time at two checkpoints during this trek, so it will be interesting to see how teams choose to split this rest time (i.e. daytime vs night time), and where they choose to take it.