Maratoto - March 2015 - from Ray
key words: cyclone pam, category 5 , maratoto, landrover, mud!
We had 4 trucks initially. But by the time I had mucked about figuring whether to go ahead we were down to two . Craig in his new Disco 1 Tdi with recently fitted side under and front protection and the my white open ( to the weather and rain) Defender.
The weather forecast played havoc with this run. We had super storm Pam bearing down on us. A Category 5 cyclone with apparent winds and high seas off shore.
It wasn't forecast to reach the track until late in the day, but it was in the back of our minds, and even more obvious when we were heading to the track and seeing the dark grey clouds swirling towards our direction.
Once in the track, it was the 20 mm of rain 3 days earlier in the week that made things interesting. There was one winch point where the track seems to be always wet and boggy but even worse today. I winched out after being stuck in the heavy mud. Craig followed through managing more forward progress before needing a gentle snatch recovery.
Apparently we had followed in 6 capable trucks who had done the loop the day before which made the track a little heavier. The ferns covered in mud next to these bogs gave us clues as to the funs and games the day before.
Craig felt that after 3 years of coming down, this is the worst he has ever seen the track. We were able to drive everything but the ruts were definitely deeper and the rocks much bigger all while the keeping an eye on the storm clouds above us.
We eventually reached the rock face.
A couple of options; either low and to the left, high and right or something in the middle, with varying degrees of throttle and corresponding tyre spins and freshly laid rubber burns as trophy. Luckily with breezy conditions the smell of burnt rubber on the rock surface didn't last long :)
After a little more track driving we decided to turn around and head back, it was still early in the day, but the sky was getting pretty dark with the storm seemingly close by.
It was a another great day, challenging for the track and the weather forecast we were dealing with.
We had planned well enough and were prepared for most outcomes but it was nice to be finally home safe and sound and on this particular day. We really didn't want any problems this time.
Thanks to Craig for coming down. He had camped close by the night before. Hopefully we drive again in slightly more forgiving conditions
~ Ray W