June 10, 2012

Salt, Sailing Soccer

This was supposed to be a post about our victorious win (a bit of a pleonasm) over Danmark in the first match in the European Cup, about how our cheers  and our smiles lit up the Beirut night, and the post was to be accompanied by happy pictures of glorious Dutch in Beirut celebrating in orange . . . .

My fellow sailors and I

So what happened? Well, we didn’t quite win, and the rest you can fill yourself.

And so I will have to entertain you with other things I did. I went sailing that day. I was supposed to have a 2-hour lesson, but I went an hour earlier, and my fellow student showed up an hour late, and the boat rigging took up a good half-hour, and so I spent some 4 ½ hours sailing up and down the coast in front of the Corniche and Rouche. If you saw a little white sail while driving down the Corniche (or 3, when the other 2 showed up as well), than you saw me!

On my way to Rauche rock, a well-known landmark in Beirut

I am stiff as a board now, all my joints hurt, my left hand is swollen and raw from pulling the boom cord (although I am sure it has a more technical term) , I’ve got black and blue bruises all over my body, I capsized twice and my sinuses have been nicely cleared by copious amounts of seawater.  
Sea salt gets harvested in Lebanon, albeit on a rater amateuristic method and scale. The sea water gets pumped into shallow basins and left to evaporate after which the salt simply gets scooped up. 
Most seawater has a salinity of between 3.1% and 3.8%, (source), but the Mediterranean has a higher rate because the evaporation is greater than precipitation is this part of the world, so it gets mainly fed by water from the Atlantic Ocean, and not run-offs from rivers. And it is saltier near the Lebanese coast than it is near Morocco.

And there is Rauche Rock

When the Suez Canal opened up in 1869, a salt water passage between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean was created, which caused a Lessepsian migration, i.e. the invasion of non-native marine species to the Mediterranean. It is a one way street as the Red Sea is higher than the Mediterranean. 
Mediterranean stands for middle (medi) earth (terra), and that makes sense as several great civilizations were located around its shores (Greeks, Roman, Egyptians, Assyrians, Phoenicians etc), and for them, this was the centre of the earth. Enough history lessons for today. I’m off to a family lunch in the mountains.

Back into port

I promise you, these will be the last pictures of me sailing. Next on the bucket list is a bigger boat and a sailing cruise around the Mediterranean, but that’s for later. Hopefully Wednesday I WILL be able to show you pictures of victorious Dutch in Beirut. 


joseph said...

So who is taking the pictures of you and your fellow sailors?

Sietske said...

The instructor! Said Ghorayeb

Anonymous said...

letting the sun do the work when obtaining salt is not amateuristic,

it's the only proper way to do it
reg Anne

Nathalie G. said...

Hi, I really enjoyed reading your post! I was wondering if you knew whether it was possible to hire a dinghy like the ones you sail on (lasers right?) just for an afternoon? Sailing just next to Rauche Rock in particular seems absolutely amazing! :)
Thanks in advance!

Nathalie G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sietske said...

@ Nathalie:

For inquiries, please call:
+961 3 204455 / +961 3 761072 / +961 1 379770
E-mail at: info@waternation.com

Nathalie G. said...

Ah great! Thanks for your help!