Bulletin 31 - March 1987: Comments

(The following article appeared without credit on Page 1 of the March 1987 Bulletin.)


All good things come to an end, it is said, but the departure of Mike Crumbie from Abu Dhabi earlier this month is a huge loss to the Group. For sheer vitality and dogged perseverance Mike made a Chairman par excellence. His achievements in one year have put the ENHG on a footing it had never approached previously, while the present membership of close on 200, our highest ever, speaks for itself. He was instrumental in gaining Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak al Nahayan as our Patron, and in pursuing contacts and close cooperation with His Excellency. He engineered the move from St. Andrew’s Hall to the Documentation Center for Monday evening presentations, and the Workroom from the ADMA-OPCO Federal Building to the Old Fort. He was the prime mover behind the Photographic Competition. He set up the Hatta Fort meetings with the Al Ain and Dubai Groups, and has organized and encouraged field trips, not to mention the trip to Oman. Above all, perhaps, he has organized the Committee such that his departure leaves the Group functioning almost as if he were still here. Nevertheless, his drive and ambition will certainly be missed from time to time. It is now up to the present committee to ensure that the ENHG continues to go from strength to strength. Not that we have heard the last of Mike, however, for the next Bulletin will include his article on the mangrove, following several months of patient research into this topic during 1986 and early 1987.

This issue brings you a variety of articles, including two from the Al Ain Group. The first, on page 22, is a brief glimpse at a few of the UAE’s wild mammals. Chris Furley, ex-veterinarian at the Zoo there, has given us several articles in the past on such topics as the breeding patterns of captive oryx and the potential use of gazelle for desert game ranching. Most larger animals are rarely observed, being nocturnal or secretive, but Chris’s article will surely whet the appetite of the Mammal recorder. The other article is on rock art in the mountains by D. White-Cooper, a topic that has been touched on before in the Bulletin (Pictographs in Wadi Kubh, by S. de Mare, No. 21, November 1983). Readers might be interested to know that the UK-published Seminar for Arabian Studies contained an article on Omani rock art by C. Clarke in 1975 (Vol. 5). A copy is in the Workroom library.

On Saturday, February 14th, 1987, the Khaleej Times ran a story on a legendary lost city under the sands of the Empty Quarter. Radar images from a space shuttle over flying the region in October 1984 seemed to suggest the possibility of such a fabulous place on the ancient frankincense trade route between Oman and Petra and Baghdad. Some members of the ENHG (not many of us left, I admit) will remember the article in Bulletin No. 10, March 1980, in which John MacRae summed up some of the evidence from recent explorers in Arabia. These included on O’Shea, who claimed to have found such a city southwest of the Liwa in 1944 while on leave from his Trucial Oman Scout base in Sharjah. O’Shea wrote a book on his exploits, “The Sand Kings of Oman”, published in 1947 and now out of print. It seems that nobody believed him, and his story did contain inconsistencies, but an expedition led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes is expected to make a comprehensive search for such a city this coming autumn. The Bulletin will keep you posted.


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