Entries tagged "oman"
A big thanks to Mark Evans at Outward Bound Oman, for sending over images and the actual star sightings used by Bertram Thomas, from when he became the first Westerner to cross the Rub' al Khali - The Empty Quarter - in 1930/31.
The records show him using the stars, Polaris, Markab, Procyon, Sirius, Betelgeuse and the planets Jupiter and Mars, to help fix his position.
The picture below shows the telegram expressing royal interest in Thomas' expedition and offers the King's congratulations.
I like the thought of a worldly…
Following on from my last blog post about the windvane self-steering marvel, comes another wonderful piece of sailing technology. Although this one also works closely with nature, you will be delighted to read it is brilliant in its simplicity.
A couple of weeks ago I had the immense privilege of accompanying Eric Staples in Oman on a small voyage. Eric and his team restore historic Omani boats and build many from scratch. From fantastically detailed models, through small reed boats to great vessels, Eric brings back to life craft that might have feared their days had been…
This really is one of the best astronomical photographs I have ever come across. It is amazing even before you notice that the sea is glowing with bioluminescent algae.Congratulations Sim on taking this fantastic photograph and allowing me to share it and thanks Mark for sending it my way.To celebrate this great pic, I thought a little quiz would be fun. Or to be more precise, several shades of the same question...To make this more interesting I'm going to give you the opportunity to test yourselves at the level you feel most comfortable with. Anyone who has been on my…
In this photo, one of the Outward Bound Oman instructors, who I visited recently, is being taught how to use a traditional and beautifully simple navigational instrument called a 'kamal'.
This instrument is as simple as they get: it works by forming a triangle. If you know the base of a triangle (the fixed length of twine from eye to instrument) and you know the height of the triangle (the number of fingers counted up from the horizon), then you have a fixed angle to the horizon. This is the ancestor of nearly all navigational instruments prior to…
As promised, here is a more detailed update on my short time in Oman last week. My main reason for being there was to train the Omani Outward Bound instructors. In the short time available I wanted to give them a decent understanding of how to use nature's clues to find their way in the desert. Just as importantly, I needed to give them the techniques and knowledge they could pass onto their future students.
We started with theory indoors at the offices of Outward Bound Oman, with the help of planetarium software and makeshift whiteboards (paper…
Thank you to everyone who came to the course at the Royal Geographical Society on Friday. Also to those who came to the talk and walk on Saturday and to Rohan for organising and sponsoring the event.
I have just returned from a wonderful two days in the desert in Oman, where I have been teaching a group of Outward Bound Oman instructors some techniques for them to pass on to their students. In the picture above we are marking out the shadows from a stick in the sand.
We also looked at…
My thanks to Mark Evans who not only flew over from Oman for a course, but also sent me this great time lapse photo from Oman.
Mark is the General Manager of Outward Bound Oman, which does not sound like the worst job in the world to me! Outward Bound Oman, under Mark’s leadership, is teaching young Omanis many outdoor skills, including traditional methods of desert navigation.
Time for a bit of fun. Which way are we looking in this picture and why?
by email please. I’ll post the correct answer in a couple of…
There is a good piece in yesterday's Telegraph travel section, by Kate Humble, encouraging those who visit Oman to step out of the resort and into the mountains.
The lines that caught my attention were. predictably, when she asked her savvy guides about their navigation skills.
"How do you know you're heading anywhere?" I asked.
"You get to know clues. The path down a wadi is never straight down; it usually follows a contour to the head of the valley and around. Omanis don't like going up or down if they can…