Monday, June 4, 2012

The Lost Island Of Socotra As Never Seen Before

From: Becky K.
Sent: June 4, 2012
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Fw: The Lost Island Of Socotra As Never Seen Before
Island Of Socotra
Have any of you world travellers heard of this place? Someone sent me this email and thought it might be worth sharing. I found additional information on wikipedia "Socotra, also spelled Soqotra, is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean. The largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago. It lies some 240 kilometres (150 mi) east of the Horn of Africaand 380 kilometres (240 mi) south of the Arabian Peninsula. The island is very isolated and through the process of speciation, a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. It has been described as the most alien-looking place on Earth. The island measures 132 kilometres (82 mi) in length and 49.7 kilometres (30.9 mi) in width." - Becky
Socotra Island:

Just off the horn of Africa and the coast of Yemen .
Socotra Island:  Just off the horn of Africa and the coast of Yemen .
It is like being on a different planet.

Socotra is one of those "lost world" islands (separated from the world six million years ago)

known as the Galapagos-of-the-Indian-Ocean, it's the world's tenth richest island for endemic plant species.

125 kilometers long and 45 kilometers across.

The landscape is one of contrasts, with isolated nature preserves with dazzling wildlife (including 900 species of plants, the famous Dragon's Blood Tree (Dracaena Cinnabara) some of rarest birds that exist nowhere else in the world), and picturesque unspoiled sandy beaches.

Imagine waking up one day on Socotra Island and taking a good look around you. You'd be inclined to think you were transported to another planet - or traveled to another era of Earth's evolution. The second would be closer to the truth: this island, part of a group of 4 islands, has been geographically isolated from mainland Africa for the last 6 or 7 million years. Like the Galapagos Islands , this island is teeming with 700 extremely rare species of flora and fauna, a full 1/3 of which are endemic; that is, found nowhere else on Earth.
The climate is harsh, hot, and dry, and yet - the most
amazing plant life thrives there. Situated in the Indian Ocean 250 km east of Somalia and 340 km southeast of Yemen , the wide sandy beaches rise to limestone plateaus full of caves (some 7 kilometers long) and mountains up to 1525 meters high.

The name Socotra is derived from a Sanskrit name meaning "The Island of Bliss."

The trees and plants of this island were preserved through their long geological isolation with some varieties being 20 million years old.

The dracena cinnibaris or Dragon's Blood Tree is the source of valuable resin for varnishes, dyes, and "cure-all" medicine; also used in medieval ritual magic and alchemy.

The branches spread out into the sky and from below appear to hover over the landscape like so many flying saucers. From above they have a distinct mushroom look.

There is also the Desert Rose (Adenium Obesium) which looks like a blooming elephant leg.

Dorstenia Gigas ... apparently does not require any soil and sinks roots straight into the bare rock.

The Lost Island Of Socotra Never seen anything like it
It also has a distinct personality and likes to smile for the

Somewhat similar to the weird Dorstenia Gigas, is this
"Bucha" vegetable, found as far north as Croatia . I hope it's not pregnant with anything malignant inside this sack. John Wyndham ("The Day of the Triffids") would've loved it.

Also found in Socotra 's landscape is the strange and rare Cucumber Tree (Dendrosicyos Socotranum) - and, yes, it is related to what's sitting in a pickle jar in your fridge.

Getting around can be a challenge as there are almost no
roads. Despite the fact that this island has around 40,000
inhabitants, the Yemeni government put in the first roads just 2 years ago - after negotiations with UNESCO, which has declared this island a World Natural Heritage Site. It is a quiet and peaceful enclave in an otherwise troubled world. If you visit there, forget about beachfront hotels and restaurants. This island is geared towards Eco-tourism and sustaining the local economy and way of life.

This island is a birder's paradise as well with 140 different
species of birds ...10 of which are not found anywhere else in the world. A unique Socotra Warbler, Sunbird, Starling, Bunting, Sparrow and Cisticola are among the ones found here. There are also Socotra Cormorants.

Want to see some fairy-tale (and possibly haunted)
shipwrecks? Diving tours are available. Hopefully some IMAX crew would film it in all its glory one day.

To give you a glimpse of Yemen 's unique architecture, check out this place located on the mainland .... Al Hajarah, Yemen - walled city in the mist.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for shareing this remarkable place with me--


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