February 2010 Rambles and Field Trips

 QNHG February 2010 Rambles & Field Trips Schedule

A message from the Rambles & Field Trips Coordinator: 

Saturdays v Fridays, Who We Are & Delayed Schedules

 

You may have noticed more Saturday events slipping into the weekend schedules. 


 

The reasons behind this are twofold; first, there are some trips that can only take place on Saturdays. The second part is that we simply haven't done a lot of trips on Saturdays, so it's only fair that those many members who can't participate in Friday trips have a few opportunities to get out into the great outdoors - and relax! The best events are those that everyone can participate in, so we'll keep playing, trying to meet the needs of as many of our members as possible.


 

Another quick note - a reminder, really. The purpose of QNHG is to explore the natural world and investigate people's relationship to their environment. When doing so, we try to have as positive of an impact on the places we visit as is humanly possible. This means we clean up our trash after ourselves, as well as others'. In contrast, we leave archeological sites as we found them, which is why we are allowed to go on a tour of Ruwayda this coming Saturday. We also respect all animals and treat them carefully; we are mindful around domesticated creatures and we observe wild ones from a distance. This is for everyone's, including the animals', safety.


 

Finally, yes, this schedule is going out at the 11th hour again. Why? Well, I could go on about how I've been moving house and don't have an Internet connection as I write this, but the reality is that we have been working very hard to get trips together for this month; they just keep resisting coming together! We are waiting permission before confirming two trips in the middle of the month; they may change drastically still, depending on unknown factors. 


 

Keep watching the website for updates.


 

 ~ Exciting, fun & safe travels, 

 John Tribuna

 

February Overview - See details below!


 

Saturday 6th: Ramble - Qal'at Ruwayda Archeology Site visit - northwest coast

Saturday 13th: Ramble - Oryx Breeding Farm visit, POSTPONED - Abrouq Peninsula Ramble

Friday 19th: Ramble - Qatar University Campus, Intro to Birding Doha - POSTPONED - Musfer Caving trip
*Friday/Saturday 26th & 27th: Field Trip - Great South Camping Trip - south


 

Saturday, February 6th: Ramble - Qal'at Ruwayda Site, northwest coast

 

Description:

 

Dr. Andrew Petersen, who presented at one of our monthly meetings last season, has graciously volunteered to host our visit to the area about which he informed us. His description of this archeological site's background is as follows:


 

"Ruwayda is one of a number of Islamic period sites located on the northern coast of Qatar between Madinat al-Shamal and Zubara. The presence of the world’s largest pearl ban less than 10 km from this coast is probably the main reason for the location of these sites, which include the abandoned villages of Khuway and Jumail. In 2009 the University of Wales in Collaboration with the Qatar Museums Authority began a programme of excavations at the largest of these sites, which is known as Ruwayda.


 

 The site comprises a large square fort approximately 100 metres per side and at least one and a half kilometres of mounds along the coast.  Ruwayda is of particular interest because of its large size and because unlike to other sites on the coast it is not mentioned in written historical sources such as the accounts of Carsten Niebhur and other European travellers. There is also a possibility that the site is more ancient than the others, though this has yet to be proved."


 

 We will be visiting the site with Dr. Petersen as our guide. Afterwards, we will be going to a nearby beach and mangrove area for snacks or lunch. There is an extensive abandoned village that we may be able to explore as well, but it has recently been closed to the public due to its having been converted into a film set. 


 

What to bring:

 As per usual, bring sun lotion, a hat, and water - lots of water - along with plenty of food. The beach is a great place to stop for lunch, but we'll need to make our own shade/rain protection since we are not guaranteed access to the village its potential sun, wind or otherwise shelter from passing shower!

 Just a reminder - We will be in primitive conditions, so bring along any toiletries you may need. The facilities at Landmark Mall will be the last ones we see before heading north.


 

Other preparations/concerns:

 Some Special Requests from Dr. Petersen regarding this archeological site visit:

 Do NOT drive over or park on the site.

 Do NOT pick up pottery or other artifacts from the site - these are part of the historical record and should be preserved in situ.

 Although this site should be accessible to all cars, if you drive slowly and carefully on the dirt road to the site, be prepared for the necessity of leaving cars at the Al Shamal parking lot and jumping into a four wheel drive vehicle to complete the last leg of the journey. Dr. Petersen will give us an update on road conditions when he meets with us at Al Shamal.


 

A SPECIAL NOTE TO PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN: Do not expect that your children will be allowed in vehicles without the required safety seating. It is a car owner’s prerogative as to who rides in their car, and the conditions under which this occurs. If you want to guarantee a seat for your child, you must bring your own vehicle.


 

Restrictions:

·         Dogs are allowed, as long as they are on a lease and under control. Just be considerate of your fellow QNHG members who may not be as comfortable around or experienced with canines. 

·         Remember - something that looks unimportant/innocuous and perhaps like trash to you should not be touched at an archeological site. Leave it as is, as and where it was found. 

·         If you have children with you, be especially careful to watch out for their curious hands! Ask Dr. Petersen about anything of interest you see during our tour! 


 

Date: Saturday, February 6th

Rendezvous & Times: Landmark Mall, parking lot in front of TGIF

 Meet: 8:00 AM

 Depart: 8:30 AM


 

From Landmark Mall we will head straight north through the construction on the Al Shamal Road, to its end. Our route is very simple; go north 97 km, or one hour, until the expressway ends at a roundabout. Turn right at the RA, and then take an immediate right into the parking lot bordering the RA. Dr. Petersen will meet us there, and lead us about 5 kilometers west down the coastal road to the archeological site.


 

Price per Adult: Free

Price per Child (under 12 years-old): Free

Organizer: John Tribuna, QNHG Rambles & Field Trips Coordinator – send texts to 605.6762; no calls during business hours, and none after 9:00 PM.


 


 

Saturday 13 February:

Oryx Breeding Centre
Central area

 

POSTPONED
 
DUE TO RENOVATION WORK GOING ON AT THE ORYX CENTRE WHICH MAKES A VISIT ON A FRIDAY OR SATURDAY IMPOSSIBLE, THIS RAMBLE WILL HAVE TO BE RESCHEDULED 

 

NEW TRIP: Saturday, February 13th:

Ramble - Ras Abrouq,

west central coastal area

Description:

     A repeat of an earlier Friday trip, although every visit to Ras Abrouq is unique.

     The Abrouq peninsula is a marvelously unique, secluded and beautiful area of Qatar dotted with gypsum and flint laced limestone plateaus, littered with fossils, and home to a few movie sets, gazelles, desert foxes and ostriches. In order to have a chance of seeing the wildlife on this trip, we are going to leave a bit earlier than usual, but you'll find the experience to be worth it!

     We'll drive to various places, get out and explore - how long we stay will depend on what we feel like doing! This is a great place to go for a swim when the weather is appropriate, and for overnight camping!

 

What to Bring: 

     Bring a pair of binoculars, as we might not be able to get very close to the gazelles, and with any luck we'll be able to see flamingos. As per usual, bring sun lotion, a hat, and water - lots of water - along with plenty of food. When we stop for lunch, we'll probably need to make our own shade, so take an umbrella or tarp along, too. 

     We will be in primitive conditions, so bring along any toiletries you may need. The facilities at Umm Alafai Petrol Station are basic, but they will be the last ones we see before entering the desert.

     Any books on the flora, fauna or geology of this part of the world will come in handy, as well.

Other Preparations/Concerns: We will be heading out into the desert and sabkha areas for this trip, so make sure your 4-wheel drive vehicle is in good running condition, that is, double-check equipment, top off the gas/petrol tank, and generally get ready to go the night before departure. We have a long trip ahead of us, so we won’t have time for casual stops along the way.

A SPECIAL NOTE TO PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN: Do not expect that your children will be allowed in vehicles without the required safety seating.
It is a car owner’s prerogative as to who rides in their car, and the
conditions under which this occurs. If you want to guarantee a seat for your child, you must bring your own vehicle. 

 

Restrictions: 

You must have a 4-wheel drive (4X4) vehicle for this trip. No sedans or saloons. 

Date:  Saturday, February 13th 2009

Rendezvous & Times:  Umm Alafai Petrol Station on the Dukhan Road

Meet at:    7:30 AM

Depart at:8:00 AM

Directions: 

     From the Umm Alafai Petrol Station [This is the one with the big, tent-like awnings that looks like Landmark Mall. It is just past Al Rayyan Sports Club stadium & the huge roundabout.], we will caravan west on the Dukhan Road/expessway. We will leave the expressway at the exit before the Zekreet exit and use the camels passageways to go under the expressway to the road that leads up the peninsula.

     This is a new route, so remember caravaning safety and watch for the signals from the car ahead. Pass on any turn signals to the cars behind you!

 

Price per Adult: Free

Price per Child (under 12 years old): Free

Organizer: John
Tribuna, QNHG Rambles & Field Trips Coordinator – send texts to
605.6762; no calls during business hours, and none after 9:00 PM
.


 

Friday, February 19th: Ramble - Qatar University Intro to Birding, Doha
POSTONED

Musfer Cavern - south central


 

Description:

Not very far down from Doha and a bit north of the Salwa Road is Musfer Cavern, a sinkhole formed through corrosion and naturals shifts in the earth’s crust. This is almost a pitcher shaped cave with a small bottle shaped opening and is about 30 meters or so deep. There was a presence of fresh water at the bottom in the past, indicating the presence of an underground water channel/table. Over the years, however, sand seeping in has covered all the water. 
The cave is home to several birds, bats, insects and reptiles. However given the size of our group, we cannot promise any animal sightings, with the exception of sheep and camels grazing in the Rawda around the cave.


 

What to bring:

While the cave isn't very big, its sides and the descent are rather steep. Make sure you wear appropriate climbing footwear. While we will be exploring a cave, make sure you bring a torch/flashlight with extra batteries. Since we won't be in the cave all that long, As per usual, bring sun lotion, a hat, and water along with plenty of food for a lunch afterwards. 
An extra layer of clothes, such as a light jacket, may be handy due to the unpredictable temperatures this time of year, especially one with a bit of water-proofing for the odd rain shower that could put in an appearance. 

Regarding toilette facilities, we will be in primitive conditions, so bring what is necessary. The facilities at Hyatt Plaza will be the last ones we encounter before we head off into the desert.

 

Other preparations/concerns:

A 4-wheel drive car is necessary; the terrain past a certain point is uncertain. Make sure that your 4-wheel drive vehicle is in good running condition. Double-check equipment, top off the gas/petrol tank, and generally get ready to go at least the night before departure. We have no intention to stop for petrol after the rendezvous. You must be fully ready to leave from our rendezvous!

Don't forget ~ safety first ~ we are not driving in Doha during rush hour! Leave space between vehicles, drive slowly when appropriate and otherwise be aware of the both the road conditions and your surroundings. Ask for help if you are not sure how to drive through a certain kind of terrain!

Children are welcome, but due to the nature of the cave, must be watched at all times. Dogs will not be allowed in the cave due to safety concerns; they could easily knock someone off balence on the steep, narrow path.


 

Restrictions:

No Dogs. Children are okay, with a little bit of ketchup.


 

Date: Friday, February 19th

Rendezvous & Times: Hyatt Plaza, under the large shopping cart

Meet: 8:00 AM
Depart: 8:30 AM

 
Directions:

Go to Hyatt Plaza and meet us under the large shopping cart. We will caravan from there.


 

Price per Adult: Free

Price per Child (under 12 years-old): Free

Organizer: Parag Parelkar - please send texts to 559.5245; no calls during business hours, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

 

Friday - Saturday, February 26th & 27th: Field Trip –

The Great Southern Camping Trip -south


 

Description:

All are Welcome!

The journey to this camp will take us down through some areas which are very green and quite beautiful at this time of the year. There has been a large amount of rain and both the camels and goats are out grazing. 

To begin with, we will pass through Al Kharrarah, then drive along the gravel plains to an area where there is a seam of large gypsum, calcium sulfate, crystals. We will stop there for lunch so you can have time to explore.

We will then drive over some tracks, to the new pylon road which we will follow for a few kilometers and drive cross country through some purple rock formations to the track which leads to the campsite. 

The site is south west of Turayna Gardens and is spectacular, sheltered, surrounded by steep embankments with a floor dotted with acacia trees and many small plants. It is a great place to spend some social time.

We intend to get there early enough for folk to play rounders, petanque, etc. if they so want. We will probably offer an optional early morning walk to an Al Thani fresh rain water cistern, which we happened upon while in that area. 

We will leave camp about 1:00pm on Saturday so folk can have a leisurely morning. Those who wish to leave earlier can exit the way we came in and head for the Turayna Garden masts, then follow the road back to Al Kharrarah.


What to Bring: 

The usual camping gear for your family plus plenty of food, and especially water. You will need food for lunch, dinner and breakfast as well as lunch for the second day. 

Bring your own toiletries and a spade to dig a hole! 

Make sure you bring a torch/flashlight with extra batteries, have good walking shoes, a water bottle and sunblock. At this time of the year it can get quite cool in the desert at night, so be prepared with warm clothing. Also be prepared for rain.

Please try to gather up some wood  so we can build a communal campfire, just a few off-cuts from you local building sites. Get a cheap saw and cut them so they fit in your car. There is just a small amount  of dead wood in this part of the desert.

Remember: GAMES - bats, balls, etc.  and FIREWOOD.


Restrictions: 

  A 4 wheel drive vehicle is mandatory. If you wish to come and do not have a four wheel drive you must pre-arrange a ride. Either meet your ride at the rendezvous and leave your car there or arrange with the person giving you a ride for another suitable place to leave your car. 

NOTE:  Space in vehicles is limited since they are loaded with camping gear, so if you don't arrange a ride beforehand, you are not guaranteed a ride. Also remember that this is precious family time for families out together for the weekend. For others, this is often the only break they get from sometimes exhausting work schedules. Neither families nor groups of friends will necessarily want unknown passengers to join them in their car for the whole weekend.


Other Preparations/Concerns: 

We will be travelling over some rocky tracks as well as some softish sand. The terrain can be handled by typical Qatar SUVs but ensure you have a good spare tyre at correct pressure in case of a puncture. 

Make sure that your 4-wheel drive vehicle is in good running condition. Double-check equipment, top off the gas/petrol tank, and generally get ready to go at least the night before departure. We have no intention to stop for petrol after the rendezvous. You must be fully ready to leave from our rendezvous!

Don't forget ~ safety first ~ we are not driving in Doha during rush hour! Leave space between vehicles, drive slowly when appropriate and otherwise be aware of the both the road conditions and your surroundings. Ask for help if you are not sure how to drive through a certain kind of terrain!

A SPECIAL NOTE TO PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN: Do not expect that your children will be allowed in vehicles without the required safety seating. It is a car owner’s prerogative as to who rides in their car, and the conditions under which this occurs. If you want to guarantee a seat for your child, you must bring your own vehicle.

  A NOTE TO PET OWNERS: Although spending time outdoors with your pet is enjoyable, camping with a large number of people who don't know your friendly dog, or curious cat, or stubborn water buffalo is not necessarily so, especially if others bring non-compatible animals. 

  Leave your pets at home for this trip. 


Rendezvous & Times:

Rendezvous location: Al Wakrah vacant lot (See Directions below.)

Dates: 26th - 27th February

Meet: 9:30 Friday 26th

Depart: 10:00 Friday 26th

Return: Saturday 27th early afternoon 


Directions: 

From Doha drive through to Al Wakrah. You will pass the Airport Petrol Station on your right.  As you reach Al Wakrah:

At 1st Roundabout after the petrol station, go straight.

At 2nd Roundabout, Oyster Shell Roundabout, turn right.

At 3rd Roundabout go straight. After 20 metres turn onto the left  on to an unpaved area. We have a dark Red Pajero so look out for us. Shops border this area, (Beauty Salon), so cars can be left here.

 

Price per Participant: Free

Organizer(s): Mike and Bronwyn Donaldson

Email:  bronwyndonaldson@gmail.com

Phone: 318.7652 - No calls after 9pm