Taftan Plantak 2005

The following is a diary entry I’d written for Alex, Maz and Martin for their journal as they drove through Pakistan. Updated for posting here.

Back in March Alex had contacted us – he was trying to get some information on Pakistan, and had stumbled across our website, offroadpakistan.com, where he left a post on our forums: “Hi. I was hoping that I could use the collective knowledge on this forum to offer our team any advice/suggestions/routes/must see & do’s for a visit through Pakistan?”

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East meets West in Koh-i-Taftan on the Pakistan-Iran border today

by Kaleem Omar

KARACHI: “East is East and West is West, / And never the twain shall meet…” wrote Rudyard Kipling more than a hundred years ago. But what he said doesn’t always apply. In this context, consider, for example, an event that will take place at about 4 o’clock this afternoon in the small town of Koh-i-Taftan on the Pakistan-Iran border. Koh-i-Taftan (let’s call it Taftan for short) is not exactly the hub of the universe, and many Pakistanis may have never heard of it. Nor would they be any the wiser if one were to tell them that it is about 60 km northwest of Koh-i-Dalil. Yet it is here, in Taftan, that East and West will meet today, in a manner of speaking.

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First Pakistani Motorcycle/Scooter

scan0001.jpg A view of the first motorcycle/scooter built in Pakistan. Built by Hamid Omar, inspired by plans from Popular Mechanics.

It was built from pine wood because in those days I had no tools available, nor access to welding, steel etc. I needed a transport, and couldn’t buy one.

These were the days when nobody ever checked for things like licenses, etc – the old Lahore of 1960s. I used this bike for a few months.

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How well do K&N air filters work?

This is a question which has been long debated. There are those who swear by K&N filters, and many who swear at them. From ‘Autoblog:’:http://www.autoblog.com/entry/1234000600057664/

Fortunately, a Duramax owner tired of the lack of scientific evidence pursued a path of testing that eventually ended with a lab performing the ISO 5011 procedure on a number of replacement air filters.

Read the ‘full test results here’:http://home.usadatanet.net/%7Ejbplock/ISO5011/SPICER.htm. The gist of the tests is:

The K&N and UNI filters were far less efficient at trapping dust, and note that they lose their flow advantage after filtering about 180 grams of dust.

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Sailing from Karachi to Chuta Churna and beyond

This is the second edition of my adventurous sailing. After the last trip we had become a little more adventurous and less fearful, which is not exactly very good! We had been planning to look for a couple of day’s holidays so that we could move onwards to the coastal areas where we had not been before. The good part is that now that we have reached the beginning of March, the water has started becoming warmer so capsizing is not a real problem. However, at the same time, the danger of wind picking up has increased – a phenomenon quite prevalent in this part of the world being in the monsoon belt.

<GPS and tacked now for Gaddani. Ten minutes into the tack the wind started dying down we knew that this would be a wind shift and there would be a south-westerly starting. However the wind shift took much longer time then we expected. We were almost doing nothing for the next hour and half just hoping that wind would pickup so that we do not spend too much time and be able to make to the land/destination.

Yesterday while sailing to this point we met our diving buddies Asif Chaudhry and Dr. Sohail Tabani who told us that they will be at Churna Island again the next day but as luck would have it they weren’t there till the wind came back which was around 10:30 (this is normal for the wind shift in middle to late Feb).

While lying at rest next to Churna Island we discovered how the Churna Island resembles the Turtle. Next time somebody visits this place please look carefully—it is a replica of a turtle when you arrive from Mubarik Village, the body, tail even the small head and eyes of turtle. Somebody has to be blind not to see the huge turtle sitting in the sea. We just wondered why somebody not named it the Turtle Island.

Now the wind was picking up again and it was a fine reach. We put up the spinnaker, in approximately an hour we had a good strong breeze, and we were skimming the waters towards the one of the world’s largest graveyard for ships, Gaddani.

We had asked our driver to meet us at Gaddani. Gaddani is longer then one would expect. We got to Gaddani by 12 in the afternoon but that was just the beginning. We went along the complete shore line of Gaddani looking at the various ships being scrapped and being torn apart and we finally came on this beautiful huge oil tanker sitting on top of the water the Tasman Spirit which had just drowned in the harbor channel of Karachi harbor, a cruel accident which left many sea lives dead. But seeing the huge vessel recovered from bottom of sea sitting at Gaddani was a sight, of mankind’s control over the sea. Before sailing around the Tasman Spirit we noticed another island which is commonly known by fishermen as ‘Chota Churna’. This sits directly opposite Gaddani or really center of Gaddani.

Not totally ready to land on the beach here we kept on going till Gaddani finished and headed another hour away to the jetty for the fishermen at Gaddani.

I am mailing this adventurous expedition to you hoping that some of you might try it possibly once in your lifetime or at least a part of it. I do not wish to put in any more details as far as the sailing terminology is concerned which might suffocate those who are not sailors since this log is not only meant for sailors but also for my friends, well wishers and power boat enthusiasts.

Please look at the chart which shows our path.

Good luck, happy sailing.

Wind, Sand and Stars

/> This book is number 1 on ‘Outside Magazines list of The 25 (Essential) Books for the Well-Read Explorer’:http://outside.away.com/outside/features/200301/200301_adventure_canon_1.html and National Geographic magazine named “Wind, Sand and Stars” the third best adventure book of all time. So it had to be good… and turned out to be jaw droppingly amazing. This is not just a book – it’s sheer poetry. See Outside magazine’s review below:

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Fluid selection

Good article on oils: ‘Fluid Selection’:http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3828/is_200311/ai_n9320844/print:

Today, the automotive service industry is faced with a daunting variety of fluids. One type certainly does not fit all applications. This article summarizes some of the most common fluids and the unique OEM specifications that have appeared over the last 10 to 15 years and that are in use today.

There’s no turning back once you’ve been Jeep-ed

Here’s is how it all started for me.

Ever since my childhood I’ve been riding in Jeeps and dreaming about them. After reading volumes of illustrated War history books, I spent hours in my uncle’s CJ-3A imagining myself to be a World War II soldier. A few years later my father bought my eldest brother his first Jeep. It was a Willy’s M38. I still remember that day; it was our very first Jeep.

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4×4 Offroaders Club of Karachi