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Socotra - the island of dream

the Archipelago of Socotra (Socotra) - a pearl of Yemen and all Arabian region. Socotra truly is a treasury of flora and fauna of which many generations of sokotriyets managed to preserve and inform us. Socotra with the unique nature - one of the few places in the world which are not spoiled by the coming progress yet. The archipelago of Socotra lies in 380 km from the cape Fartak on the Yemen coast of the Arabian Sea. The island of Socotra - the biggest of all islands of the archipelago.

the Island of Socotra - the island of dream... I do not remember any more how my correspondence acquaintance to the island began, but I fell in love with him at once. Still: to take a walk in desert beaches of the most beautiful virgin bays, to sit on a bottle tree, to dive into the deep small lake in the gorge. And, of course, to photograph all beauty and to show others, that who did not see it yet that who it is lazy lies on beaches of Egypt and Turkey. Without thinking twice I went to photoround.

Flight from the capital of Yemen of Sana`a only an hour and a half. And you on Socotra, island of dream. The small airport which and the airport - that language does not turn to call. Farther on the jeep on the island with spending the night in campings. The first stop - in the sea reserve of Dee Hamri. The sea worried therefore survey of a reef ended for me very quickly. But the surgeon and couple of butterflies I managed to make out under water. Examined vicinities further, tried simple local food which was cooked for us by our guide and the driver Nurdin: rice with a sauce from vegetables and fish. For fresh lobsters the price was bent - 20 dollars, last year there were 10... Perhaps because the sea worried, and fishermen did not put out to sea, or perhaps already local get used to tourists who will give any money for seafood... Steadily before food and later tasty sweet tea with spices moved. On taste there were cinnamon, a carnation and cardamom. These spices were successfully acquired then by us in one of shops of spices in Sana`a. Dastarkhan under a shady awning from reed - the unique vacation spot and meal on Socotra. Though is not present, in the capital of the island of Hadibo we somehow ate at local restaurant at a table. But neither the situation, nor food went nor in any comparison with our homebrew dastarkhan by the sea.

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On a smell of food flew local Egyptian vultures - “chickens“ with bright yellow plumage on the head and habits of poultry. They admitted to themselves on quite short distance to admire and photograph. Their biggest population in the Middle East on Socotra. By the way, except them we still saw also the Somali starling - a black birdie, is similar to a soroka, only instead of white strips on wings at it is dark - orange, saw a sokotransky starling, a turtle-dove, a black raven and different seagulls and cormorants. Having had a dinner and having had a rest, we went further, to look at a lagoon Detvakh.“ Close eyes“, - our driver at approach to an observation deck told us.“ And now you can open“, - the car stopped. And the view from a hillock was, and the truth, tremendous. A lagoon with gentle sand and the long tongue of sand leaving afar, and around - mountains and dunes. Little men were guessed on a tongue of sand - those who decided to pass 3 km across the sandy coast and a braid on foot. And nearby tanks, tanks T - 34: old, rusted, the remains of the aggressive past and a reminder on friendship with the USSR. We could not pass by, without having sat and without having hung for a while on them.

On foot to the place of our lodging for the night we did not venture to go. Therefore traveled over mountains by car and stopped on a lodging for the night in a camping near a lagoon. It is necessary to tell that each camping has surely a toilet, a shower, an awning for rest / lunch / protection against wind. And tents - local or can be put the. We with ourselves carried tents, mattresses and pillows from foam rubber. To everyone - tent double or even triple, a mattress, a pillow and a lung covered. At night warmly, at daybreak I was still covered with a windbreaker, and in a sleeping bag to me there was enough cotton insert. In a usual sleeping bag it was a pity to sleep. I was rescued still by my inflatable pillow because on porolonovy it was awfully inconvenient to sleep.

Who would tell

to me a year ago that I will sleep in tent by the sea on the bank of the Indian Ocean, I would not believe! Noise of the sea lulled, the stars scattered in the sky as constellations bewitched a look. By the way, on the island it is very good to remove stars I woke up at five o`clock. It was dark. Stars still brightly shone through a lattice of tent made of cloth, only constellations were displaced aside. By tent of a protsokala two shadows: goat and kid. Lyapota.

of the Half-sixth. Rise, a trip around the sea from the fishing village of Kalansiya on the West in a bay Shuab. Breakfast: fragrant tea with hot flat cake, processed portion cheeses and jam. And 40 minutes by the fishing boat by rocky coast with cormorants, small chaykiny islands and tremendous color of water, as if illuminated from within. Also small beaches meet stones, as on the Seychelles island of La Dig. The beach of the bay Shuab slowly extends on several kilometer. Small sand, emerald color water through which it is visible how some large fish floats on shoal. And anybody. Fishermen - conductors landed us and departured to catch fish, having left us in private with the virgin nature of a bay. Our small small group right there dispersed who where: but first of all - to float. Then I rolled in sand, made walk along the coast to seagulls who carefully moved back when the distance between us was reduced to 10 meters. On the road couple of Egyptian vultures with the yellow heads preparing a corpse of the large-headed big fish back met. These already admitted to themselves meter on three - four so worked well for the photo wonderfully well. It was necessary to leave back hours in 10 - 11, therefore to hours to 12 - 13 heavy sea at rocks before a bay amplifies, and can simply turn the boat. We plunged and headed for Kalansiya.

After an exit from a bay Shuab we understood that such heavy sea: nearly beat the boat waves to rocks. But fishermen masterly passed in centimeter from the rock. And further for us a roller coaster began: on waves the boat jumped, and all jumped and everything that it was inside. Bags with photoequipment had to be shifted in a boat nose: there practically water did not get. It with signs the conductor - the fisherman explained us it. Generally, I had no such emotions long ago. Besides, our fishermen arranged rally on speed with other boat, and we entered Kalansiya at the same time in spite of the fact that at first other boat was far ahead.

Full of impressions, we got out to the coast where we were surrounded at once by crowd of local children. About inhabitants of Socotra separate conversation. Men are low, women are completely hidden in the clothes and a burqa. Our driver Nurdin had 9 brothers and five children. “Three more will also be enough“, - he told us, smiling. So the family in 8 - 10 children is a normal situation. And as they live in small stone shanties with a flat roof from a tree or leaves, it is no wonder that all streets of villages are full of children of different age.“ Kalyam, kalyam (the handle, the handle),“ - they shout, running up to the stopped car. A usual ball pen - a desired souvenir from foreign tourists. Children are more senior bright: at first “kalyam“, then “sura“, that is photo. Not to pull out the main thing of 10 handles at once, and that all and will be snatched away at once with a bang.

I small one-storeyed constructions on the island - in the capital and between villages - schools in which school students with blue identical satchels are flown down in the mornings: girls and boys are engaged in separate classes. And the lonely building of svezhepostroyenny hospital - clean, but still non-working. Further we go deep into islands, stopping on plains and mountains to imprint beauty of this edge, unusual bottle trees and island open spaces leaving afar blossoming in February. Our way to a canyon Vadi Dirkhur lies through a plateau of draconian trees Diksam. A draconian tree - one more endemic of the island. Still his relatives grow Canary Islands, Kabo - Verda and Madeira. The draconian tree emits red pitch - blood of a draconian tree, she is brought together by locals. It is famous for the medicinal properties. Trees are scattered on a plateau among stones, they go down on slopes of mountains to the gorge. At sunset you feel somewhere in Land of the Lost. There are not enough only dinosaurs and pterodactyls.

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It is expensive from a plateau down in a canyon Vadi Dirkhur - not for the faint-hearted: 5 km/h under a big bias are rolled the 100-th kruzer on sharp red stones, gradually going down below and below on the so-called road. And as a result we appear below in the gorge. Is slightly more left - the place for a camping about the rock from which “bottles“ grow. We here one: our group of four people and driver. Local guides do not like to stop here on a lodging for the night: on a local legend it is possible to meet gin here, and after a decline - the woman - the ghost. In complete darkness we put tents: there is a strong wish to eat and there is a wish that our driver completely devoted himself to cooking. The benefit, we have small lamps and a design of tents very easy, also the child would cope. Meanwhile Nurdin on a gas torch prepares for us rice and fish, our constant food on the island. Both rice, and fish very tasty though already also begin to become boring. Since morning a bit earlier we go on foot to the next plateau where too it is full of draconian and bottle trees. There we saddled one of trees and were wonderfully well photographed with the girlfriend. On the road we were attacked by goats as then it became clear, they wanted that they were just milked.

of the Goat is separate conversation too. Each village has the fields fenced with a low stone fence. On this field special low bushes which are picked by goats are grown up. In Hadibo we saw how one goat for lovely soul chewed a cardboard, and another, having jumped on a table, tried to skhomyachit the scraps which remained from a lunch.

After pedestrian ascension on a plateau just need to bathe arises. The sun already rose rather highly, and we hurry back in a canyon. Only not towards a camping, and in another, there, where the nature scattered small lakes - reservoirs at the different levels along the gorge, such long cascade falls - the small river. Fancy coast and big black and white stones. The lake 4 meters wide, long 10 meters, depth - meter 3 - 4, the purest transparent water of green color. Of course, I did not keep and dived from the rocky coast. Lyapota...

Then we on foot went along the gorge on coast of lakes further and further, finding other lakes of a bizzare shape: for example, long - meter in width and 3 meters in depth. Went so far coast were rather flat for walking. Approximately through 800 meters the way to us was blocked by the lake with abrupt rocky coast which we did not decide to ford, having in hands expensive reflex cameras. Having returned back to the first lake, we found group of the German tourists who are nervously going around the lake there: to bathe or not. It appears, we left, having thrown all our things ashore in one bathing suits and swimming trunks. The picture oil painted to Germans when they came to the lake: things are, there are no owners! And it is unclear where all of them disappeared. We long laughed then. Germans appeared very cheerful: having caught sight of us and having understood that everything is all right, they started bathing at once. And we went meanwhile to have breakfast. Moving to other gorge was coming us.

on the way we stopped by in the capital of the island of Hadibo where it became clear that the road to mountains is closed from - for a rain, and we do not get there where early was planned. Well, not on the cards. And we went to the new place of a camping on the seashore. The sea reserve Rosh was chosen as the place.

the Second half of day we carried out

on the beach, considering cockleshells and corals which instead of sand and pebble formed the beach in this part of the island. You represent - around one corals and cockleshells. If in Egypt the piece of a coral found ashore was perceived as gift, then here they just were instead of sand. Very beautiful and unusual show.

Then - a traditional dinner. Next day according to the plan there was a cave Hok, one of large caves on the island which great variety. Socotra - paradise for the cave explorer. Hok - the most available and studied cave. Is at height approximately of 700 - 800 meters above sea level on the edge of the rock. To reach it - only on foot on goat tracks and stones on the mountain up somewhere an hour and a half. Through Land of the Lost literally this word. While we went, I turned around all the time and looked in the sky, the feeling that here - here from - for clouds some pterodactyl will take off was so strong. I do not know as, but I sustained this way. I will honestly tell: it was very difficult for me. Both change of climate, and my bronchitis, undertreated to a trip, affected. But having handed over the camera and a support to our conductor which as the mountain goat vigorously ran up a grief, having collected all the will power in a fist, I overcame rise, difficult for me. And not for nothing. What I saw at an entrance to a cave and then was worth it. Drogarati`s cave on the island Kefalonia has a rest. Hok it is huge, the train will easily come around there, the cave arch at an entrance is visible from far away, and still from below it is visible how it is huge. And directly the entrance to a cave can easily argue with the Komsomol metro station on arch height.

the Cave leaves deep into and goes along the rock about a kilometer 3 - 4, the way is noted by a tape. Any light, except small lamps that with. Well, we had with ourselves a lamp underwater which very fine lit and allowed us to enjoy fantastic stalactites and stalagmites of 6 - 7 meters high, fancy huge forms and halls in which during a time to hold balls and conferences. The fancy stalagmite in a form reminding a long cockleshell with feelers makes a sound as if a glockenspiel in inept hands. The huge blue “nest“ which is hanging down from a ceiling forces to think what size there would have to be bees if they were there. A cave wreath - or still tourist part - is big “hall“ with lakes in which stalactites and surrounding walls are reflected. Very beautifully. We also tried to imprint it our cameras.

we Went down quite vigorously though descent and borrowed us almost as much time as rise. As weather did not please us with the sun, we have dinner and went to look meta for photographing in the town Archer, known for the lunar landscape and huge sandy dunes against rocks with caves.

the Place tremendous where we arrived, and the next morning, to the dawn sun which pleased us finally with the emergence and allowed to shoot several morning scenes. Deceptive mountains of sand: you look at them - it seems small, but here you notice a point highly above. Having looked narrowly, you understand that it is the person. It was the last place on Socotra before our departure back to Sana`a.

I Can only tell

one: I will surely return here. Also I will try to bring with myself friends, the same mentally ill people as I, ready to sleep in tents on the bank of the Indian Ocean and to eat rice and fish among the exotic nature and good-natured people whose rest we, tourists, break...

P. S. All my photos from Socotra can be found here