In Senegal, in West Africa, there is an amazing Pink Lake, which its color resembles a strawberry shake. Looking at it, it seems that there poured potassium permanganate. Lake Retba (in English Lake Retba), also known as the Lac Rose (from French – “Pink Lake”) – a unique natural phenomenon, it really has a bright pink color and is one of the greatest attractions of Senegal. What is the mystery of this lake, why it has such a color, and as the life of the local population is associated with this lake?
The water in the lake Retba is so salty that it can survive in only one type of micro-organisms – they give a color. Color of the lake varies from pale pink to brown. Its intensity depends on the time of the day (the angle of incidence of sunlight), and the weather conditions. Especially noticeable color during the dry season.
Pink is the lake near the Atlantic coast 30 kilometers from Dakar – Senegal’s capital, and about 20 kilometers north-east of the westernmost point of Africa – Cape Verde peninsula. An area of 3 square kilometers and a maximum depth – 3 meters.
All day, standing up to his neck in water, local residents derive from the lake bottom salt and pour it into the boat. Backbreaking labor, but by African standards he paid decently.
Every day many boats completely cover two-kilometer coastline of Lake Retba – so it is called in the language of Wolof people, the largest ethnic group in Senegal. On the shore of the lake is a whole village where the workers live and traders, representatives of the people.
Their boats, punts are very similar to Russian. But here they do not go fishing, do not carry the hay, do not swim in a nearby village. At this Senegalese lake they serve only to salt production.
What today is called the lake Retba, was once a lagoon. But gradually the Atlantic surf namyvali sand and, in the end, duct, which connects the lagoon to the ocean, was asleep. For a long time Retba remained unremarkable salt lake. But in the 1970s, Senegal has fallen to a series of droughts, the lake became shallow strongly, and salt extraction, lies a thick layer on the bottom, has become quite profitable.
It now employs people standing on the shoulders in water, and 20 years ago by Rose Lake did not swim, and go – there was water on the belt. But digging a year about 25 thousand tons of salt, people rapidly deepen the lake. In some places its bottom dropped very significantly – by three meters and more.
Lake water acquired a pink tinge due to microorganisms capable to exist in brine. Apart from these, other organic life in Retba not – for algae, not to mention the fish, salt takayakontsentratsiya disastrous. It is almost one and a half times higher than in the Dead Sea – 380-400 grams per liter!
The lake is impossible to drown Retba: saturated salt water keeps the objects on the surface, not letting them go to the bottom. You can safely lie on the surface of the water, reading a newspaper.
Microbiologist Bernard Oliver decided to scientifically explain the reason for the unusual color of the water. The lake is inhabited by unicellular algae Dunaliella salina, which absorbs sunlight color, isolated pigment.
Worth mentioning that such Retba reservoirs on the planet there are a few. They’ll also have a very high salt concentration, as well as provide habitat for Dunaliella salina, which is able to survive in salt water. But until recently, scientists believed that such a salt water life can never have arisen.
Because of dredging soon extract salt old fashioned way is no longer possible, and the Senegalese authorities face the problem of employment army foraging around the lake miners and traders. But while every morning dozens of half-naked men, taking simple equipment, swim in the middle of the lake, put the boat on the joke and walk into the incredibly salty water.
Brine at a concentration which is capable of half an hour to corrode the skin to such an extent that the deposition of the poorly healing ulcers. So, before you get into the boat, miners are rubbed with a special oil. It is obtained from the fruit of shea, scientifically it is called butirosperm Park. It is this oil protects the body from the damaging effects of extremely salty water and makes it shine in the sun.
Salt miners spend all day on the lake. Salt on the bottom of the first loosen, then, blindly, under water applied to your cart. Out of the basket, allowing excess water to drain, it is transferred into a boat. It seems that under the weight of a piece of plate to go to the bottom – but dense brine reliably keeps it afloat. The main thing to remember from time to time to bail out of the boat drained with salt water. To fill a salt boat – here it is called a pie – good employees need three hours. Over time it has to deliver to the bank three pies.
Extract salt from the lake bottom men. On their participation in this process comes to an end – all further operations carried out by women, often very young, almost a girl. They dragged salt in plastic basins on shore and dump it there to dry. This work is perhaps no better men – a complete pelvis pulls on 20-30 pounds! But in Africa, few people are concerned with the protection of female and child labor. Women in Senegal spend up to 14 hours a day on the shores of the lake to collect salt.
Just extracted salt has a gray color. Therefore, giving dry, women washed and sorted it to remove silt and sand. From small slides, each of which stuck into nameplate holder, refined salt pour in the general pile, three-kilometer ridge stretching along the shore of Lake Rose. In them, she waits a year or two wholesalers – during which time the salt under the tropical sun manages to fade and become completely white. Salt which is mined here such primitive methods are exported to countries in Africa, and as exotic, even in Europe. Senegalese themselves satisfied with the salt produced industrial way of seawater.
During the 50-pound bag wholesalers pay about 30 cents. Cake holds approximately 500 pounds. It turns out that for a day of hard labor the worker receives only $ 9! But by African standards is good money. Otherwise, the lake Retba did not go to migrant workers from neighboring countries – Mali, Guinea, Gambia, Burkina Faso. Longer than two or three years, they usually do not stay here. Otherwise, you may become invalid. Senegalese immigrants themselves to look down hard workers. They earn their living more “skilled” labor – buying and reselling of salt, as guides and bodyguards escorted Europeans who come to see the miracle of nature – the lake, the water is colored in pink.
Curious tourists strive to look into the village where miners live salt. It is located right there on the shore. On the question of the name of this place, the people say: “Yes, after all, just a village.” Lived here at least three thousand people. Even across the street machine, old, almost all cars in this country.
Dwellings workers constructed of material at hand – a growing nearby cane, plastic film, sheet metal and old tires. Say about this building “shack” means much flatter her. However, in this climate, and nothing more capital is required – home designed to protect its occupants not from the cold and from the sun and in the late summer or early fall – from heavy rains.
Those tires are used instead of manhole log cabins – such wells in the village of four. In Europe, this turbid, brackish water taste would not, perhaps, be used even for technical purposes, and here drink and cook her food – the other did not. Almost can not see around the village and grazing goats, although the Senegalese peasants bred them in the set. Beans corn yes – that is the main food of salt miners …
Conditions in which they live African migrant workers, or how badly you will not name. But the inhabitants of these shacks are surrounding their misery as something completely normal. They do not live here and come to work – from morning till night to extract salt from Rose Lake, which is so admired by those strange Europeans.
Generally, Pink Lake brings the people of the double income. Firstly, otdobychi and sale of salt, and secondly, the lake, because of its unusual color, it has become very popular and attracts large number of tourists. This unique phenomenon has also become a boon for photographers around the world. Excursion to the Pink Lake – an integral part of all tourist routes. But not many tourists who come to admire the amazing lake, resolved to plunge into its color depth. They prefer to watch from the sidelines and much photographed.
Retba lake is famous for the fact that it is here for many years crossed the finish line famous rally “Paris – Dakar”. Since 2009, this rally is carried out in South America.
On our planet, there are so many incredibly beautiful places! For example, in Colombia there are multi-colored river that changes its color due to different algae. And in the Sierra Nevada mountains of algae appears watermelon snow! Another amazing lake has to Palau, home to 2 million jellyfish, which, incidentally, does not sting, and among them you can even swim!