D266. May 26. Let’s find the Aral Sea shore !

Capture d’écran 2014-05-27 à 18.19.46This is the Yaz car that is going to bring me to the Aral Sea – The actual Aral Sea, meaning the actual shore, where water is still visible. It will take us one full day to reach that point. The temperature reaches 50 degrees and there is no air conditioning in the car. The windows cannot remain open, so I’ll figure something out with a rope and some rubber band…

Capture d’écran 2014-05-27 à 18.19.29 I see sand storms for the very first time. Difficult to catch on a picture but I guess you can see it, above, in the middle of it : a sand tornado…
Capture d’écran 2014-05-27 à 18.20.13 We drove Northwest along navigable dirt tracks, from Kungrad via birdladen Sudochie Lake to the desert backwater of Kubla Ustyurt.

Capture d’écran 2014-05-27 à 18.20.22 In the afternoon, we reach a shore. But this is not the Aral Sea, it is the Sudochie Lake, filled via udnerground flow and giving some water to the Western Aral Sea. It looks so beautiful, even birds are coming back to this area. You cannot figure out than less than one hour drive from here it’s gonna be a complete different story.

Capture d’écran 2014-05-27 à 18.21.23The reward of our long drive is impressive : cliff top views of the desertified formed seabed and the thin blue lie of the Aral’s new shoreline in the distance.

Capture d’écran 2014-05-27 à 18.20.51 The Aral Sea formed about 5.5 million years ago due to a fall in sea level and the uplift of Caucasus mountains. Later, it got the flows from the Amu Darya and Syr Darya Rivers, born in the Xian Chan and Pamir mountains…

Capture d’écran 2014-05-27 à 18.21.41In the early 1960s, USSR  decided the two rivers would be diverted to irrigate the desert, in an attempt to grow rice, melons, cereals, and above all cotton… That’s how the Lake, formerly one of the 4 largest lakes in the world (after the Caspian Sea, Lake Superior and Lake Victoria) with an area of 68,000 km2 , declined to 10% of its original size…

Capture d’écran 2014-05-27 à 18.21.01 A few kilometers East, rough tracks lead down from the plateau and on the new shore line, where we camped >>> To be continued

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