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Spanish / Moroccan Observing Adventure


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Hi all, I have in years gone by traveled to Southern Spain and even int the remote deserts of Morocco with my Land Rover so that I can not only enjoy being off the beaten track in the Land Rover, but at night the skies are MARVELOUS....you will never see skies like it in the Uk anymore, no matter how remote you go.

The skies are like black velvet with LEDs installed...

I am going away around Easter next year so cannot get to Southern Spain or Morocco early in the year, but i am considering a Trip around October, so it will still be warm, but not oppressively so and the night skies will be still free from cloud.

So the question is, do any of you Astro-Nuts fancy making this a group star party under velvet skies?. I am sure that several of us have Land Rover's, and if there is enough I can likely illicit members of the Land Rover forums I frequent to act as drivers possibly because it would be a great excuse for them to have a safari..

If you would be interested in such a trip, say so below....who knows, maybe we can get Steve at FLO to come long too :)

Here is a selection of Moroccan sky vista's from my two 2007 trips..sadly the last ones I did..

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Was considering a trip somewhere like that to bag some of the more southern messiers.whats the best way of getting to morocco in a car i.e. drive the who way or ferry to spain,drive throihh spain then accross the gibralta straits?

It's Horses for courses Really, last time I went I drove all the way from Calais to Gib, meeting up with others who got the ferry to either Oisterhum or they ferried to Santander in Spain.

When planning it is wise to check the cost of Ferry crossing costs against driving, I do know that if you have enough vehicles many of the ferry companies will give a group discount...

Next time I will likely ferry to Spain, spend a few days travelling through the country to Gib, then ferry to Morocco for a week to 10 days observing and exploring..if we can get enough it will be cheaper on the ferries and more fun..

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That is pretty neat, I can't stop looking at your pictures especially the first picture. What a sight.

I would love to go on this trip, problem, no Land Rover.

Rob

I am sure you can arrange one :)

Seriously, I'll put a post on the Land Rover forums to see if I can organise something where people are perhaps prepared to take passengers, that would work out cheaper for all, and then perhaps it is something doable for many more than we may first think of.

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I'm also self employed, so cannot commit yet but I am interested and, yes I do own a FC 101 ambi in mid conversion to camper.

If I can make it I would possibly have a spare seat and room for another (small scope).

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Near where I live are some great dark sky desert-lands which are probably not anything like those Franklin has mentioned, but pretty spectacular none-the-less. You can check out decent dark sites within the Peninsular by getting a general idea here (I'm about half-an-hour to an hour away from those black patches north-east of Madrid, south-west of Aragon):

mapacontaminacionlumini.jpg

Needless to say, if anyone was in Spain and needed a hand or whatever, they can always drop me a line. It's a real shame the skies in Europe are becoming so polluted, but there are pockets of good dark-skies here as can be seen.

Edited by Qualia
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Getting a reasonable response on the Landy Forum, one Chap has actually done a run to Gambia recently and was considering a Morocco adventure for his 40th Birthday in December next year...I'm thinking Geminids....But the exact date can be moved about as necessary to suit everyone...

I'm thinking that if we go into Morocco then visa's for Algeria may be possible and then get really high up in the Atlas mountains....thats something everyone can discuss and decide on together if we can get this off the ground..

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Hi all, been doing some digging and chatting on the LR forums...we currently have 4 confirmed vehicles and drivers including myself, hopefully more will come along and sing up soon.

Price wise we are currently looking in the region of £1500 per vehicles all in, fuel, ferries and Insurance (vehicle). This is a little bit of a moving target due to fuel costs etc, but I very much doubt this budget would get seriously breached. Clearly some of this will be "user" money in Morocco and that is up to the individual, but so far the break down of costs per vehicle is approximately as follows....and bear in mind these costs assume two people per vehicle and so the costs per person is halved.

  • Ferries : - Portsmouth-Bilbao & Gib to Morocco ~ £750 return
  • Fuel :- (based on Swindon to Portsmouth then Bilbao to Marrakesh for guidance only with a lea-way for travel in country) £650
  • Vehicle Insurance: £100
  • Food costs etc are personal and should not be ridiculous as we can take much with us in tins and dried food for self cooking.

I want to try to pin down the exact number of vehicles and people going so that I can then negotiate with both ferry companies involved and get a group discount as this would help, not sure how much, but if we have say 10 vehicles and 20 people then i am sure we can get at least a 10% discount from past experience, perhaps better.

Fuel is another issue, and once I have a clear idea of the numbers involved i want to speak to a couple of fuel suppliers that operate in the UK, Spain and Morocco to see if we can get a discount by paying up front as a group and getting cards/vouchers to use in these locations, even a 10% saving here will be significant for all.

If there is anyone who seriously wants to come, please PM me and simply post here you have PM'ed me. I knwo for the guys that are self-employed it's a difficult call due to work, haveing been this way most of my career I know where your coming from, but all I would say is that if you want to come, you will find a way :)

Lets make this a great event people...

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To make it easier for all to discuss, i have started a free forum so all those here and elsewhere can come together to discuss this journey..

http://moroccoastro2013.boards.net/index.cgi

There are adverts on this board as it is a freeby, but it is purely so all members here and on the Land Rover forums can come together to discuss this trip and the subjects surrounding, it is not for discussing telescopes, space in general or Land Rovers (unless these topic relate directly to this trip) as that is why we have this and the other dedicated forums.

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Sounds like a great trip. So thats what the sky looks like :laugh:

When it's clear and dry, the sky is excellent...

I was up in the Atlas Mountains beginning of October a few years ago and it was cloudy ((( Weather starts changing then...

I know the weather changes that time of year, but November (after the first week) certainly gets too cold in the High mountains so there is a chance that we may have cloudy conditions, but we will not be staying in one place, we are planning to move south toward the Algerian border then across toward Mauritania and then back up the coast or perhaps a little inland..The final route will be decided on the ferry to Spain and then still adapted on the fly.

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As an update. The consensus among those discussing this is that the Total Solar eclipse of the 3rd November is something we can incorporate on the way back as it will be visible in Spain, this would then give us a mid October start for the High Atlas in Morocco, Algerian Visa's to cross the border would be problematic I have discovered, it can be done but it's a pain in the rectum getting them and then crossing the border.

Currently it looks like the setting off date from the UK will be around the 16th October with arrival in Morocco early on the 19th. The Higher part of the Atlas in Morocco can then be achieved around the late 20th where a nice high level vantage point can be found in the Mountains for a night of Stargazing from there. After that we will be setting off South, so cloudy conditions are unlikely, and there is still land that rises to more than 2000m (~7000ft) accessible by tracks and roads, however i would point out that even from a few hundred meters above sea level for the majority of South east Morocco the skies are spectacular.

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I was in Morocco in November 2011 staying at a place called Erg Chigaga aon the edge of the Sahara. Spectacular skies and very clear. Good views up the High Atlas as well, but the main purpose was landscape (see:

) not astro photography.
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

So all, does anyone fancy being a passenger, I have a seat available, it would cost you minimum, cost of food and living expenses if we stay anywhere, but as I will be paying for the ferry and the fuel anyway...

So, any takers???

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