Aral Sea

As you head across the mainly desert wasteland a raised penninsular rises up where the run down town of Moynak is. Formerly a fishing village on the Aral sea and now 200km from the water” edge. The rivers that fed this unique ecosystem were diverted to grow cotton in another part of the desert under the old USSR management.

We stood on the highest point and looked out at a pall of smoke on the horizon that “captain Bryan” informed us was the disposal plant for nerve gas now that the toxic island in the middle of the Sea is going to be joined to the mainland. There are huge environmental and health issues here.

Because they had had a large rainfall recently we did see the area at its best with crops and growth around the canals, but the salination of the soil is evident as the salt layer forms when the surface drys. Most of the population has moved to other lives, and for the remaining residents a tough character type would be needed.

We saw the breakup of the school year there and the children were all out in their finary, beautifully presented and our only encounter with the local police waas when we were instructed not to run any children over. He must have read our minds as we had been inundated with light-fingered rogues while we explored the ships stranded in the sand dunes 100 meters from town.

What a privilege to be able to see first hand the sights that you have seen in National Geographic.

Hope all is well. we are in 40+ degrees and in Khiva living in the past, in a desert Baazar.

See the photo album here.

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