Siwa Oasis, Egypt 3/30/06

Postby Tony Crocker Wed Apr 05, 2006 6:06 pm

Since Patrick posted his Lake Erie sand skiing from last summer, I figure I can do the same from our sandboarding on the dunes outside Siwa Oasis in Egypt.

The sandboard does not have metal edges and the footstraps are simple, similar to those on a windsurfer. Fortunately they were aligned in a goofy foot position, which is what both Adam and I prefer.

As Adam surfs now and has skateboarded and snowboarded in the past, he tried it first. The friction of sand makes it easy to just go straight without attaining excessive speed. After his demonstration I did the same and had no problem while riding down the slope but crashed at the bottom when I hit the flat. Richard and his wife Elda tried it, but since they had never even been on a skateboard they sat down about halfway down. Adam, Richard and I took second runs, and this time Adam made a couple of turns.

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Adam shows us how it's done on his first run.
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033006_tony1.jpg
Hiking the soft sand near the top of the dune is quite a workout for me.
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Richard sitting on his board. My sitzmark is visible in the sand just below him.
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033006_camels.jpg
Some tourists prefer to visit the dunes by camel.
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Adam preparing to turn on his 2nd run
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Adam near the bottom of his 2nd run. From his position vs. prior pic you can tell he made a turn.
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Ready to start my second run
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On my second run
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re: Siwa Oasis, Egypt 3/30/06

Postby Tony Crocker Wed Apr 05, 2006 6:32 pm

The real reason for a non-ski vacation at this time of year was the total solar eclipse on March 29 (my 3rd), which we observed in the NW corner of Egypt between Saloum and the Libyan border. You can zoom in on the area (or other sites people visited in Libya and Turkey) with Google Earth: http://xjubier.free.fr/download/GE_File ... E_2006.kmz .

For those who are not familiar with this particular obsession, Fred Espenak's web sites should be anyone's starting point. http://mreclipse.com is his personal site, includes a few chapters in his book, emphasis on photography. Good intro on how eclipses work and how you should observe.

http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/eclipse.html is his NASA site, which contains details of specific eclipses (global map of March 29, 2006: http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/S ... E2006.html ) and much more.

The premier eclipse photographer IMHO is Wendy Carlos: http://wendycarlos.com/eclipse.html .

Google Earth maps for numerous solar eclipse paths are available here: http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/So ... Earth.html . Eastern skiers should note particularly the path of April 8, 2024, which passes over Stowe, Smugglers, Jay and the Eastern Townships. This is the best opportunity of our lifetimes to ski and see a total eclipse on the same day.

The Nolan Ryan (strikeouts) or Rickey Henderson (stolen bases) of eclipse chasers is Glenn Schneider. He is 50 years old and has been to 26 total solar eclipses since 1970. http://nicmosis.as.arizona.edu:8000/UMBRAPHILLIA.html . Read the account from 1986 to get an idea of his dedication. He has written a laptop computer program (available free, but it only works for MacIntosh) to operate his camera automatically while he is devoting full time to observing the eclipse and his surroundings.
Last edited by Tony Crocker on Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:24 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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re: Siwa Oasis, Egypt 3/30/06

Postby Tony Crocker Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:58 am

A few of my amateur pics shown below. Here are some more professional pics from the Riverside CA Astronomical Society (located next to us at Saloum):

Second Contact: http://webpages.charter.net/alsonwongweb/2006.htm
Earthshine: http://webpages.charter.net/alsonwongweb/20061.htm
Third contact: http://webpages.charter.net/alsonwongweb/20062.htm
Diamond ring: http://webpages.charter.net/alsonwongweb/20063.htm
Composite: http://webpages.charter.net/alsonwongweb/20064.htm

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This reviewing stand was set up for Egyptian President Mubarak and other VIP's. For awhile we believed a false rumor Prince Charles and Camilla were there after seeing their signed wreath at El Alamein cemetery 2 days later.
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032906_slovenes.jpg
Many viewers at Saloum brought serious hardware: telescopes hooked up to laptops, etc. This was the Slovenian Astronomical Society.
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032906_Jay_Anderson.jpg
I ran into Jay Anderson (center), a Canadian meteorologist who does all the weather analysis for the NASA website and eclipse bulletins. He was very worried about the morning fog, which fortunately burned off by 10:30AM.
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032906_crescents.jpg
Crescent shadows cast while the eclipse was partial.
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032906_contact2.jpg
2nd contact diamond ring at 12:38PM start of totality, which was a relatively long 3 minutes 55 seconds. The eclipse on my 50th birthday in 2002 was only 79 seconds, so I took very few pictures then.
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032906_totality.jpg
Adam's point and shoot pic shows the twilight darkness during the eclipse. A 360 degree circular sunset is visible at the horizon. This view would be enhanced at an elevated location like Jackson Hole August 21, 2017 or Jay Peak April 8, 2024.
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032906_corona.jpg
1/2 second exposure of solar corona. Inner corona is way overexposed. That's why the pros spend so much time compositing multiple exposures.
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032906_contact3.jpg
3rd contact diamond ring marks end of totality.
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Last edited by Tony Crocker on Thu Apr 27, 2006 4:57 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Siwa Oasis, Egypt 3/30/06

Postby Patrick Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:13 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Since Patrick posted his Lake Erie sand skiing from last summer, I figure I can do the same from our sandboarding on the dunes outside Siwa Oasis in Egypt.

It's a ski and boarder forum HOWEVER you have posted it in the wrong section. Egypt is in AFRICA, this is the Europe & Asia Section. :wink:

Great job and pictures Tony. When they started talking about the eclipse, I just remember about your trip.

Okay, who next on sand skiing? Marc?
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re: Siwa Oasis, Egypt 3/30/06

Postby Admin Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:38 pm

Nah, I'll keep that as a spectator sport. ;-)
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re: Siwa Oasis, Egypt 3/30/06

Postby Tony Crocker Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:53 am

Admin has not yet created an Africa section, so I have to use closest available. FYI there is very limited lift service in Morocco and South Africa, and more ambitious backcountry on Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya.

If anyone gets to ski the Antarctic Peninsula they will have to post in the Down Under section :wink:. FYI Richard did an Antarctic cruise in January, and in the course of researching it we did find an operator who would accommodate requests to climb and/or skin up some of the mountains there. The Patriot Hills camp also accommodates climbers and backcountry skiers but it is very expensive.
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re: Siwa Oasis, Egypt 3/30/06

Postby Tony Crocker Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:05 pm

One of the nice Google Earth features is that multiple downloads of kmz files superimpose on one another. So if you start with admin's skimap.kml file and then load one or more of Mr. Jubier's eclipse maps (both available here) you will see exactly where ski areas are located with respect to the eclipse paths. The relevant eclipses are:
August 21, 2017:
Oregon: The path passes between Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor. The backcountry hard-core can ascend Mt. Jefferson, but realistically the area along Highway 97 north of Smith Rock State Park will be one of the best places anywhere for clear weather.
Idaho: Sun Valley is just inside the southern limit and Tamarack just inside the northern limit.
Wyoming: The centerline runs through Granite Canyon just north of Jackson Hole ski area (2 minutes 19 seconds). Targhee and Snow King are also well within totality.
Kansas/Missouri: Snow Creek (near KC) and Hidden Valley (near StL)
Tennessee/Georgia/North Carolina: Scaly Mountain/Sky Valley are close to centerline, Ober Gatlinburg and Cataloochee are at the northern limit and Sapphire Valley is in between.
April 8, 2024:
Indiana/Ohio: All of the areas on admin's map are between centerline and the southern limit.
New York: Buffalo is on centerline, so all of the NY areas south of Lake Erie and any within 50 miles or so of Lake Ontario are within totality. Niagara Falls will undoubtedly be a popular viewing spot. Whiteface is also within totality.
New England/Quebec: Montreal is on the northern limit, and Sugarbush/MRG are just inside the southern limit. Everything in between is in totality, with Owl's Head, Jay Peak (3 minutes 31 seconds), Mt. Sutton and Baie de Sables being closest to centerline. Moving northeast totality ranges from Mont Original in Quebec to Saddleback/Sugarloaf in Maine. Balsam's is the only area in New Hampshire in totality.
New Brunswick/Newfoundland: Crabbe Mountain, Gander Winter Park and White Hills.
The 2024 eclipse will exceed 4 minutes in parts of Texas and Mexico, which also have better weather odds than the areas to the northeast.
August 12, 2045:
California/Nevada: Mt. Shasta is near the northern limit. Boreal and Mt. Rose are on the southern limit. Mt. Lassen is close to centerline.
Utah: I-80 near SLC is just inside the northern limit, thus so are BCC, LCC (Alta 2 minutes 41 seconds) and the Park City group. Sundance will have longer totality (4 minutes 3 seconds), though centerline is still farther south near route 132.
Colorado: Winter Park is on the northern limit and only Steamboat is too far north. Telluride, Durango, Silverton and Wolf Creek are too far south. All other Colorado areas are in totality (example Vail 3 minutes 40 seconds), as are the driveable 14ers of Mt. Evans and Pikes Peak. Crested Butte (5 minutes 12 seconds) is closest to centerline, and totality will also exceed 5 minutes in Aspen and on Pikes Peak.
The 2045 eclipse will be the longest in the continental U.S in several hundred years, and will just exceed 6 minutes totality in parts of Florida and the Bahamas. Stay healthy and/or tell your kids!
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Re: Siwa Oasis, Egypt 3/30/06

Postby jamesdeluxe Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:04 am

Admin wrote:Nah, he probably crunched a bunch of statistics on how much sand blows around the Siwa Oasis annually.

I've goofed on Tony's numbers mania many times over the years, but as an occupational hazard of his profession, it's understandable.

What I don't get is the eclipse chasing. :-s Maybe these eclipse junkets are actually a cover for an incredible bacchanalian singles scene that flies under the general public's radar. If that's the case, hey, carry on.
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Re: Siwa Oasis, Egypt 3/30/06

Postby Tony Crocker Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:25 am

The Egypt trip was undoubtedly the best value and smallest "eclipse premium cost" of my 6 eclipse trips. 2 week per person land cost was $2,500 and included:
Cairo Hilton and 2 days guided tours
Flight to Abu Simbel, returning to Aswan
4 days on Nile cruise ship, guided tours at 3 temples on cruise plus all day tour of Valley of the Kings and Luxor/Karnak
Flight Luxor to Sharm-el-Sheik, Ritz Carlton hotel there. We paid extra for the scuba diving.
Transfer to St. Catherine's, climb Mt. Sinai for sunrise.
Transfer, flight back to Cairo, driver and guide out to first the eclipse site, then Siwa Oasis.
Return drive to Alexandria Hilton, stopping at El Alamein WWII site.
Day tour Alexandria, return to Cairo for flight home.
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Re: Siwa Oasis, Egypt 3/30/06

Postby jamesdeluxe Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:19 pm

Last night, during a flight to (appropriately) Los Angeles, I came across this article about Crocker and his ilk in the American Airlines in-flight magazine. I still don't get it, but it allows these nutcases to explain their obsession:
http://www.americanwaymag.com/mike-kent ... luxury-car
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Re: Siwa Oasis, Egypt 3/30/06

Postby Patrick Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:58 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:I came across this article about Crocker and his ilk in the American Airlines in-flight magazine. I still don't get it, but it allows these nutcases to explain their obsession


Was there anything on the undercover single scene? :rotfl:

jamesdeluxe wrote:Maybe these eclipse junkets are actually a cover for an incredible bacchanalian singles scene that flies under the general public's radar. If that's the case, hey, carry on.
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Re: Siwa Oasis, Egypt 3/30/06

Postby Tony Crocker Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:52 am

I did meet my Antarctic ski partner on the Solar Eclipse Mailing List. :mrgreen:

I saw the same 4 eclipses as Liz but not in the same places.
In 1999 I was in Hungary and she was in Turkey.
In 2006 I was in Egypt and she was in Libya.
In 2008 I was in western China and she was on a charter flight viewing by air over the Arctic.
In 2010 I was on a Tahiti cruise and she was on Easter Island. We were the only ones on SEML to ski after that eclipse, I in New Zealand and she in Chile. Offline correspondence led to 2 mutual ski trips last season and then to the Argentina/Antarctica trip in November.

Next eclipse is November 14, 2012 at Cairns/Port Douglas in Australia. We'll be scuba diving before that one.
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