Socotra: June 2011 Archives

The Dragon Blood Tree

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High up in the Dixam Plateau you start to feel like you're in a Dr. Seuss book.  I'm not sure what my favorite tree was before (the Buckeye tree?), but there's no doubt about what my favorite is now.

Here's the very first one we came upon alongside the road--it's the most distinctive form of life on the island.  As you climb in elevation, you can see them everywhere dotting the landscape.

This was our final tourist activity before heading to the airport the next morning, and it's the perfect way to cap the trip.  There are other pristine beaches in the world, but there's certainly nothing like these trees anywhere else on the planet.

During this outing we also dropped down into a canyon to have lunch, where Lillie had a swim in a sketchy algae pool.  I was not interested in contracting leptospirosis or the like.

Here's a nice contrast of date trees with the dragon bloods high up in the distance:

The photo I totally forgot to take in this little area was of the ugly side of Socotra.  Folks aren't too keen on putting trash in a trash can, and the picnic area around here was absolutely disgusting.  Madagascar isn't the most affluent of places, but I don't think we encountered anything even remotely close to this filth there.  And I'm not sure if trash even exists in the Galapagos.  (And if there was a speck of trash, the guides are quick to put it in their pocket there.)

Anyway, I'll save further comments on that for another time.  From the Dixam area, we descended back to Hadibo for our final night to be spent at Adeeb's Eco Lodge.  While this was the nicest place we stayed on the island, you wouldn't get it confused for the eco lodges you'd encounter on an African safari.

Our tent was nicely enclosed and even featured a power strip!  This was a great place to end the trip because there were mats all around our tent that allowed us a fairly clean space to unload/reload the suitcases.

Amazingly, the only other Americans we encountered on the trip turned out to be a young couple teaching English in Aden, Yemen.  The kicker being they were also from Seattle.  Crazy.  We spent some time catching up with them at the fine dining room at Adeeb's:

And that's pretty much our time on Socotra.  I'll round out one more quick post on the island, but then we still need to get over to Cairo...

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Shoab Beach - Another Nice Beach

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On our last full day on the island, we woke up early to hop on a fisherman's boat from Qalansiyah to head to the western shores and Shoab Beach.

Right off the bat, a pod of dolphins entertained us with jumps and flips.  While this couldn't compare to the magnitude of our dolphin sighting in the Galapagos, it did show I'm consistently unable to get a good photo of such events.  So again, take our word that it was pretty sweet.

The boat ride itself was quite scenic alongside steep cliffs adorned with sea birds like cormorants and boobies.  At full speed, the ride was also incredibly bumpy.  Lillie and I had to hold on with all our might to avoid falling out—meanwhile you'll see in a photo below how casual our awesome captain was while steering the ship. 

I posted the below video of Shoab earlier, but it's pleasant enough that I'll post it again.  There were about five other people on this beach, so pretty crowded compared to what we were used to!  We left just in time to avoid the multiple boats of Chinese tourists we shared the plane ride in with. 

One of the things I loved about this island was that the insane tipping culture is completely unknown.  I actually wanted to hit our fisherman off with a big stack of Rials, but as soon as we disembarked he was happily on his way back out to sea.

This little side excursion is easily a must do on the island...