Socotra/Yemen February 2013
In February 2013 I travelled to the remote island of Socotra/Yemen for an extraordinary paragliding trip. Find the pictures via the following link
The Island of Socotra
Socotra forms part of the Republic of Yemen. The 130 km long and 50 km wide island is located at the entrance to the Red Sea between Somalia and Yemen. The island broke away from the continental landmasses several millions of years ago and due to its arid climate one 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 – still untouched by modern tourism - is home to some 50,000 people of which 8,500 reside in the capital Hadibu. Purpose of my travel was to explore the island´s beauty and to fly with a paraglider along the cliffs of the costal ridge using the easterly Passat winds. Considering the political instability, the danger of kidnapping s well as pirates the approach was to travel “below the radar”. With the help of a small local tour company which provided a car, a driver and a guide I spent a fantastic week at Socotra sleeping under the sky on remote beaches and living off what the driver was able to catch in the sea during the day. The pictures in the link show
the capital Hadibu
Qalansiya (west-side of the island) with its remote and lonely beaches
Fisherman emptying the nets
Dug-in tanks from the Soviet area costal defense
Herdsman, water well and camels
The central massive with the Haghier Mountains (up to 1,500 m high) and deep canyons originating from a time when Socotra was still located in a zone with more rainfall
Dragon´s blood trees and butter (cucumber) trees, two of nearly 700 endemic species, found nowhere else on earth
Sand as fine as wheat flower – at Hayf dunes on the south coast of Socotra
Halah caves, several km deep with impressive stalagmites and stalactites
Camping on the beach living of the catch of the day
Scuba diving is offered by one local dive operator near How Lef. Marin life is breath taking, even if the riff shark hiding under the stone was a bit timid.
Flying a 20 km XC-flight along the costal rage between Diabelhan and Ras Irisseyl, Socotra´s most eastern tip. The strong and laminar easterly Passat wind allows a spectacular and calm soaring flight using the wind pillow created by the 700 m high costal range flying over a moon-like landscape.
Sanaa (2.6 million inhabitants), the captial of Yenmen, is located on the mainland at an altitude of 2,200 m. The old city center consists of thousends of towers built out of mud bricks several centuries ago which can reach up to eight floors. In 1986 UNESCO decleared the old city center a world heritage.