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the Degree Confluence Project
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Morocco

8.8 km (5.5 miles) W of al-Ksar al-Kebir, Tanger-Tétouan, Morocco
Approx. altitude: 87 m (285 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 35°S 174°E

Accuracy: 4 m (13 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Looking east from the Confluence #3: All zeros #4: Our driver, two locals, Joby, the owner, Andy, and two more locals #5: Traffic on the path to the Confluence #6: Joby hunting for the spot #7: The path on the way back

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  35°N 6°W  

#1: Looking north from the Confluence

(visited by Joby Lafky and Andy Glass)

24-Oct-2002 -- Andy and I had a day off from work in Malaga, Spain, so we decided to try for a Moroccan Confluence. We drove to Algeciras, left the rental car in the ferry terminal parking lot, and bought tickets for the next sailing. We'd missed the fast ferry, so we had a 2+ hour crossing to Tangier, Morocco.

The ferry was huge, and we killed some time exploring the various restaurants, bars, and duty free shops. The man running the coffee shop was excited by my computer generated map of the northern tip of Morocco. He had apparently never seen a map of just that region. We cleared Moroccan Immigration onboard the ferry, and changed some Euros to Dirhams.

I'd read a lot about the various tricks and scams used on tourists, so we were a little apprehensive as we arrived in Tangier. We were accosted by several guys offering to be our "guides" or just offering "friendly advice" about immigration regulations, hotels, etc. We did our best to ignore them until we got to where the taxis were waiting, but as it turned out we had to negotiate with the same group to hire a taxi.

We produced our map and explained that we needed to go to a particular, arbitrary spot on the map (a tiny town very near the Confluence). Tangier taxi drivers make most of their money through kickbacks from businesses they bring customers to, so this wasn't popular. They told us it was impossible to drive there, and that they would be happy to show us the sights of Tangier for a very reasonable price. I said that if they couldn't get us to that spot, we didn't have any business to conduct with them. They finally decided that they could probably get us there, and decided amongst themselves which of the English speaking drivers would take us. Then they told us it would be 100 Euros for the day. I bargained down to 80, and we set off.

Once we were on the highway, I showed our driver (Muṣṭafā) the GPS, and explained what we were trying to do. He was a little confused as to what the point was, but understood the mechanics. We covered the first 60 miles (100 km) or so towards the Confluence in about an hour and a half. At that point we had exhausted our Muṣṭafā's knowledge of the local minor roads, and my map didn't have anything beyond major freeways. We went the last 8 miles (13 km) by choosing roads that seemed to head in the right direction, and turning around when we made a bad choice.

Eventually, we headed down a dirt road that ran within 0.4 miles (600 m) of the Confluence. We parked in an extremely small farming community and asked if it would be OK to walk over the hill to the spot. One of the young men of the village agreed to guide us, and we (Andy, Muṣṭafā, the guy from the village, myself, and 4 or 5 curious kids) headed out. We walked a little over half a mile (800 m) through farmland, down dirt paths lined in Prickly Pear hedge. The community had electricity and satellite television, but lacked running water, so there was a lot of burrow traffic hauling water.

We got to the closest point to the Confluence on the trail (less than 100 m) and asked if it would be OK to enter the hillside field that contained the actual spot. Our guide (through Muṣṭafā) said it would be fine, so I wandered around the field until I got all zeros. As I got to the exact spot, an older man came down the hill from a group of buildings to ask what we were doing. He owned the land we were standing on, and our guide didn't really have the authority to invite us onto it. After Muṣṭafā and the guide had explained what we were doing, he said we were welcome to continue, but seemed a little uncomfortable. We took the pictures, thanked him, and left.

After we had left, Muṣṭafā told us that we had looked like government surveyors or officials of some sort, and that he had been worried that he would lose his land. Muṣṭafā had assured him that we were just strange foreign hobbyists, but he was only partially convinced. If anyone visits this Confluence again, I'd recommend staying on the path, which appears to be more or less public property, and which runs within 100 m of the Confluence.

I printed out some pictures for the people who had helped us, we walked back to the taxi, and took off. On the way back, Muṣṭafā took us to a great restaurant for lunch, and then we headed back to Tangier.

In Tangier we thanked and paid Muṣṭafā, and bought tickets back to Spain. In the ferry terminal, two guys convinced us they were Immigration or Ferry officials, and tried to hustle us for a few Euros. We figured out what they were up to, and told them to get lost. They spent the rest of the time until the boat left asking for tips for their "assistance". We had another 2+ hour ferry ride, got the car, and drove back to Malaga.


 All pictures
#1: Looking north from the Confluence
#2: Looking east from the Confluence
#3: All zeros
#4: Our driver, two locals, Joby, the owner, Andy, and two more locals
#5: Traffic on the path to the Confluence
#6: Joby hunting for the spot
#7: The path on the way back
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)