Overland Cruisers

Having lost our faith in the original overland expedition “specialists”, we went to see Julian at Overland Cruisers so that he could go over the car and see if there were any glaringly obvious issues that the other guys had missed. While he did this he explained each thing he was looking at and showed us some of the mechanical things to be aware of and how to fix them – basically enough knowledge for us to hurt ourselves.

Even with the OME springs, the back of the car was still a bit low and we installed some air bags which have made a big difference to the handling. Another hangover from the previous mechanic was that even though we’ve just had a massive engine rebuild because of the piston problem, the car needed about 3.5 litres of oil.  You would think they would have checked the oil levels before handing the car over.

If you have a Land Cuiser don’t make the same mistake we did – go straight to Julian at Overland Cruisers.  You can get hold of him through his website here.

Off-Road Training

Jules and I went down to Devon to give the car a run when fully loaded and say goodbye to some family.  While  we were down there we did some off-road training.  Having never used the 4-wheel-drive capabilities of our car in anger, it was really good to see just how capable it is.  Apart from being bloody cold, the day was brilliant.  Ian from  MTF training was extremely knowledgeable, giving us loads of advice and showing us the ropes when it comes to vehicle recovery.

To find out more about MTF Training click here.


Lotions and potions

Normally when we go somewhere our first aid kit comprises some paracetamol and Rennies bought at the last minute in duty free before a flight.  Having gone on the first aid course and being shown all sorts of crazy ways to die we thought we should be a bit better prepared for this trip.

As well as the standard pain-killers, antiseptic creams, anti malaria medication and bandages, our first aid kit includes some antibiotics and a sterile kit with needles, syringes and scalpels.

Other items include a resusciade, sphygmomanometer* and stethoscope, aluminium splint and 2 neck braces.

We’ve got eye drops, ear drops, creams, pills to stop vomiting, pills to stop diarrhea, pills to start diarrhea, pills that stop vomiting but start diarrhea, pills that stop diarrhea and vomiting, but cause itching – you name it, we’ve got it.

We’ve also got or are getting vaccinations for Heppatitus A and B, Rabies, Meningitis, Typhoid, Diptheria, Tetnus, Cholera and Yellowfever.

We’ve probably gone a bit overboard with enough medicine and bandages to stock a small hospital, but at least it keeps our mothers happy and preempts the “don’t forget to take a first aid kit, and have you thought about medication for Malaria, and don’t forget to pack a toothbrush and don’t spill your coffee, yak yak yak”.

Hopefully when we get back to SA it was all a big waste of money and the medication ends up expiring and being thrown away.

* Sphygmomanometer was spelled correctly without having to google it.

First Aid Course


Don’t feed the bears

Jules and I went on a 2 day first aid course with Wilderness Medical Training, a company specialising in training people who are travelling to remote areas where access to medical help is limited.

The last first aid course I did was a 5 day “intensive” First Aid at Work course, which predominantly involved learning how to call an ambulance, fill out an accident form, and keep your patient comfortable until the ambulance arrived in 7 minutes.

The highlight was when we were dealing with burns and a little old lady on the course (who paints faces at children’s parties for a living) put the level of tuition into perspective by using being scolded when you spill some tea on your chest as an example. Fortunately another person on the course was a retired sniper and he trumped her example with a story of watching soldiers he knew being burned alive in a tank and nobody being able to help them because of enemy fire.

Having done various first aid courses in the past, I was expecting the normal CPR, recovery position etc, but this one went way beyond that, from popping a dislocated shoulder back into place, to treating a collapsed lung.  We were also told what antibiotics we would need for things like diarrhoea.

Throughout the course we were shown examples of injuries and how to treat them.  The photo above was one of the tamer, although more memorable ones and is an example of what happens to you if you get too close to a polar bear – something we will pay careful attention to when we’re in the Sahara.  In this instance prevention is better than cure and the solution is similar to coming across a shark while diving - out swim / out run the person you are with.