[AZ-Observing] Re: Six Weeks in Namibia - Sort of On Topic

  • From: "Matt Luttinen" <mluttinen@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 6 Mar 2004 16:39:31 -0700

Tom,

Good luck, and good seeing! We non-world travellers will be huddling =
under
the monsoon clouds cursing loudly.

I promise not to use your name very often whilst belmoaning the August
weather.

BTW, here is a partial list of languages you might hear while trekking =
in
Namibia:

!X=D3=D5

'AKHOE

=3D/KX'AU//'EIN

AFRIKAANS

DIRIKU

FWE

HAI//OM

HERERO

JU/'HOAN

KUNG-EKOKA

KWANYAMA

Oh, and maybe some English as well. I wonder if Borders will have the =
latest
edition of "Conversational =3D/KX'AU//'EIN For Tourists" . . .

Probably not.

Matt



-----Original Message-----
From: az-observing-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:az-observing-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Tom Polakis
Sent: Saturday, March 06, 2004 1:54 PM
To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [AZ-Observing] Six Weeks in Namibia - Sort of On Topic

Folks who pay close attention to every message that comes across this
mailing list may remember a message forwarded last August by Christine
Shupla about an observing opportunity in Africa.  A luxury eco-tourism
lodge at the base of the sand dunes of southwest Namibia was soliciting =
the
services of astronomical tourguides.  They recently purchased a 12-inch
LX-200 telescope, and are filling slots for people who would be able to
show guests their way around the sky with it.  The position and flight =
to
"nearby" Johannesburg are uncompensated.  Compensation comes in the form =
of
sleeping and eating at a $400-per-night lodge in a spectacular setting, =
and
a long stay at latitude 24 degrees south with free reign on a telescope.
The minimum stay would be six weeks.

After a month or so of dawdling, I pitched my southern-sky knowledge and
enthusiasm to the director of the program.  Nearly six months later, the
lodge offered me the period from the beginning of August through the =
middle
of September.  I realized that I would be replacing six weeks of the
hottest of the hot Phoenix summer with the coolest and driest winter =
period
in Namibia, and a couple seconds later I accepted it.  I am currently
finalizing air travel plans with my travel agent (who is incidentally =
the
co-founder of EVAC): six weeks for me, and the last two for Jennifer as
well.

Here is the Web site of the lodge.
http://www.ccafrica.com/reserve.asp?id=3D10

It is located a couple km from the eastern edge of the world's largest =
sand
dunes, which fill the expansive Namib-Naukluft National Park all the way =
to
the ocean.  The region receives roughly four inches of rain per year,
typically between December and May.  Here are some of the better sand =
dune
photos I have seen from near Sossusvlei:

http://staffi.lboro.ac.uk/~copal/pal/play/photography/gallery_nature_d.ht=
m

Just imagine how the place looks under moonlight!

I am not concerned about sky darkness, as this place is remote!  Namibia =
is
the size of the four states of the Southwest U.S., and contains 1.5 =
million
people.  Windhoek, the largest city, has a population of only 150,000.  =
It
becomes more and more sparsely populated (and less inhabitable) as you =
move
south and west from there.  As for transparency, I have been told by a
person who did a stint last year, that suspended sand is not a concern.
I'm sure there will be plenty of clear nights.

This will be my sixth Southern Hemisphere observing trip, and I'm hoping =
it
will be my best.

Tom

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