Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kayaking in the Mangroves

Yesterday's adventure was a kayaking trip organized by the American Women's Network. For about $40 we had a 90 minute guided kayak trip through the Mangroves, which were very pretty. Not exactly Hawaii or New Zealand, but considering the ratio of sand to green things, this was a pretty nice change. :) The kayaking was easy - actually really easy because I didn't have Brian behind me telling me I wasn't paddling fast enough! I went in a single kayak and while never really did get any good at paddling straight, did make it to where I was headed most of the time. It was a gorgeous day - about 80 I'd say with a nice breeze. The sun was intense as usual, but the breeze made it perfect and I didn't get too hot.

We went with an outfit call Noukhada, which means captain of the water in Arabic. The outfit is run by a man originally from North Carolina and they are working on Eco Tourism (a bit of an uphill battle here where 5 Stars is average). They had really nice gear, were well organized and took good care of us. We had a really nice time. We started out at a small beach area less than 10 minutes from our apartment, which was great. We then set out through a man made channel through the Mangroves and then into the more densely vegetated areas.

This channel is man made and goes right through the middle of a Mangrove area. Abu Dhabi is in the process of building a HUGE hotel/spa complex about a mile or so straight ahead from where I took this picture. I'm sure they're going for opulence in the middle of nature, but I'm afraid they'll end up killing everything off while they work on developing this area. For now, though, it's really fun to see the rugged Mangroves against a backdrop of Abu Dhabi skyscrapers!

While there wasn't a ton of wildlife to see on the trip, we were told to keep our eyes peeled for the rare purple Mangrove crab. When they mentioned that they were purple, I thought "sure, light brown that looks purplish in the right lighting", but they really are purple! Unfortunately, the photo doesn't do the color justice, so you'll have to trust me, this little guy was as purple as Donny Osmond's socks! (and if you don't get that reference, you're probably not old enough to be reading my blog. :)

After kayaking, a group of us went out for lunch and had a great time on the Corniche. I learned about 2 local types of bread as we ate at a local cafe on the water. The first is called Saj and is a thin, porous bread that is cooked over a mesh dome which is over heat. They fill it with all kind of things, both savory and sweet and then roll it up into a sandwich, kind of like a wrap. The other bread is called Manakeesh and this one is thicker, more like a soft pita or flatbread dough. Again, you can get many types of topping, savory for this type of bread, and they fold it in half to make a sandwich of this one. Both are very tasty and you can find them everywhere. A cheap, yummy lunch for sure!

No comments:

Post a Comment