A 24-hour trip to a virgin Yemeni Island

10 May
(YT photo by Khaled Al-Helaly)Malak ShaherPublished:10-05-2010

Our eyes glittered as we, the Yemen Times staff, heard of a trip to Kamaran, the largest Yemeni island in the Red Sea. Before getting to the island, we first had to go to Al-Saleef Port, in Al-Hodaida governorate. As we reached the coast guard authority “office”, near the coast, were spotted boats being prepared for us to leave for Kamaran.

As our boats moved across the sea, the waves took us high and low. Our hearts were pounding as we were taken up and down. The island was still not in the horizon.

As we travelled further out into the sea toward Kamaran, the peaks of traditional Tihama huts started to appear. Finally, it took about 20 minutes to get to the island. Our first steps on the hot sand promised an interesting visit, the island appeared untouched, clean and natural.

The island is quite flat, with few hills. The island is also extremely quiet with only the constant sound of waves crashing against the coast. One rarely hears any unnatural sound, like that of a car>s engine.

YT photo by Khaled Al-Helaly

Modern buildings are absent from the east side of the island, where we stayed. Only traditional Tihami buildings are constructed here.

As the sun was setting, it gave the sea a golden color. Soon, the moon switched places with the sun and reflected a silver color on the sea. The name of the island was originally Qamaran, or two moons in Arabic. This is a fitting name, given to the island by those who conquered it so many years ago.

At night, the tender fresh air swayed through our clothes and even through the small specks of sands touching our feet.

“You need to sleep so that you do not miss the sun rise, you can see dolphins,” an employee at the resort told us.

In spite of this, we preferred to stay awake so as not to miss the priceless moments of the full moon night. However, the early minutes of dawn also deserved not to be missed. We got up early in the morning, prayed and got to see the sea while the weather was subtle and not yet fiery hot. Unfortunately, this time, no dolphins were in sight.

With this breathtaking dawn scene, we snatched our cameras from their bags and tried to stop time with photos. Our results are hundreds of moments captured through photos. Time, however, was running out and the hot weather forced us to take shelter in the sea or under the shade of Tihami sun umbrellas.

A tour of the mangrove forest

One should not miss a boat tour of the mangrove forest, where trees grow in the water.

The mangrove forest is majestic. There is a mixture of rich and pale green. Magnificent white clouds hovered above the rich green of the forest, while the pale green of the forest reached deep into the sea.

On the way back, the driver of our boat, a small boy, decided to do us a favour and take us faster and faster over the relatively large waves of the turbulent sea. At one point, the boat bounced almost a meter into the air, hitting the water abruptly after. We felt our hearts jumping out of our chests. As we screamed, the boy was thrilled and made the boat move faster than ever, up and down over the angry waves.

We felt safe as we finally reached the Al-Saleef coast. “Oops, I forgot to take shells and corals with me,” I proclaimed. “Don’t worry; the sun did not forget to give you a tint of bronze color,” one of the young boat drivers murmured

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