[QODLink]
Witness
Return to the Sea
While their ships rot on a desert sailors reminisce and rejoice the seas return.
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2009 08:12 GMT

Watch part two

Filmmaker: Antony Butts

One of the most arresting images from the past few decades is the rusting, rotting ships left high and dry on the sandy bottom of the Aral sea.

It represented an ecological disaster of epic proportions. The Aral Sea once covered  68,000 sqare kilometers, an area about the size of Ireland. It was the fourth largest sea on earth.

But the old Soviet Union central planning system decided one day to divert two giant rivers away from the Aral sea to grow cotton in the deserts further south.

Without fresh water the Aral sea evaporated and became a desert. All the water left and the ships remained.

Before the sea disappeared and the fish died out most of the people had lived by fishing. One of the best fisherman of the Aral sea and his crew would regularly hold sturgeon weighing almost a hundred kilos over the gunnels.

But those Kazakhs who had lived by fishing had to adapt fast or die. Now they herd camels and tell what must seem like fishermen's tales to their grandchildren.

Antony Butts travelled east to Kazakhstan and found a faint glimmer of hope on the horizon. Some areas are being re-flooded: Return to the sea.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.