S o c i e ty d r e w m e to a r e c o n n a i s s a n c e of th e A h n e t m assif. I d e - R O L E X •11. .1 J o f G en eva c id e d to go t h e r e a n d h a v e a lo o k a r o u n d .” H a v i n g a lo o k a r o u n d m e a n t a n o f f - t r a c k s j o u r n e y o f n e a r l y 5 0 0 m ile s in m in im a l ly m a p p e d d e s e r t .

B u t d u s t - la d e n w in d s gave p o o r visibility, o f te n m a k i n g i t im po ss ib le to i d e n t i f y h is p o s i t io n from l a n d m a r k s s h o w n o n s a t e l l i t e p i c t u r e s of th e a r e a .

In th e d e s e r t Tom Sh ep p a rd can h e su re o f tw o th in g s :

th e sun and h is R o le x . W h e n Tom S h e p p a r d isn ’t a c t u a l l y e x p l o r i n g d e s e r t s , h e ’s lo o k in g l o r g o o d r e a s o n s to r e t u r n t o th em . “I j u s t love b e in g th e re ,’’ h e says. “I t ’s like b e in g th e f i r s t m a n on e a r th .”

S in c e 1967 h e h a s fo u n d seven g o o d re a s o n s fo r d e s e r t e x p lo r a t io n . E a c h b e ­

c am e a m a j o r p r o je c t . A n d each p r e s e n te d its p e c u l i a r d a n g e r s .

Tom, however, d i s likes t h e “d a r e - d e v i l ” la b e l w i t h i ts o v e r to n e s of re ck le s sn e s s . “T h e d e s e r t is u n fo rg iv in g ,” h e a g re e s . “B u t y o u g e t t h r o u g h i t b y p l a n n i n g a n d b e in g c a re fu l , n o t b y b e in g hero ic .”

F a u l t y n a v ig a t io n a l e q u i p m e n t m a d e h is s u n c o m p a s s T om ’s m am d i r e c t io n a l re fe re n c e . A s ever, Tom h a d t a k e n h is R o le x O y s t e r q u a r t z . “I t h a s w o r k e d u n f a i l in g ly in th e p a s t . U s e d w i t h t h e s u n c om p a s s ,

d e a d r e c k o n i n g is t h e u l t im a t e n a v i g a t io n fa ll-b ack.” I ts im p r e g n a b le O y s t e r c a s e p r o v e d e q u a l ly re lia b le in o n e of th e w o r s t s a n d s to rm s Tom h a s e v e r e x p e r ie n c e d .

"I fin d i t e a sy to id en t ify w i th th e e n g i n e e r in g superlativ e s of Rolex,” h e says.

Tom is n o t th e k in d of m a n to overlo ok th e sm a l le s t d e t a i l in h is p l a n n in g . A n d , in th e d e s e r t , h is w a t c h is f a r from b e in g th e sm a l le s t d e ta i l .

TIOUEILNE ROCKSCAPE ON ROUTE FROM AHNET.

l a

E v e n so, h is l a t e s t v e n t u r e e v o lv e d a lm o s t o n i ts ow n . " I n t e r e s t t a k e n in m y ’79 e x p e d i t i o n a n d c o n t a c t s w i th in th e R o y a l G e o g r a p h ic a l

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