Tag Archives: rabigh

Freed Sea turtle

The day I rescued a Sea Turtle from a fish trap!

It was a normal Friday in Saudi Arabia when I decided to go to the beach and enjoy the amazing Red Sea Coral Reef with some colleagues. We were well equipped, someone had a water proof camera (myself), someone else fishing gear and pretty much everybody was wearing a snorkel, goggles and suitable shoes to safely walk in a rocky sea.

We were taking funny photo when we noticed that something was violently moving in the shallow water close to us. We were firstly scared, because we thought it could have been a shark or some other dangerous fish, but then we realized it was a Sea Turtle trapped in a fishing net.

We approached the Turtle in an attempt to free it from the fish trap but the turtle wasn’t very happy of our presence. We insisted in pursuing our goal and tried our best to cut the fishing net that was literally strangling the poor marine creature.

Turtle Rescue Operation

The Turtle was very scared and tried to bite us more than once.

It was a complicated job since the turtle was biting and slapping our hands since it was very scared and the fishing net was super resilient. We did not have any cutting tool, hence we had to figure out how to free the turtle without hurting it.

Rescuing a Turtle

The delicate rescuing operation required 20 minutes and 4 people

Once the the first flap was freed, the turtle seemed realize we were helping and stopped being hostile and almost started cooperating with us. After the right flap, we managed to free the left one and then the head with a very delicate operation. The turtle cooperation was important since with a single bite it could have easily chopped off a finger.

The emotion in seeing the turtle free and happy was unique.

Freed Sea turtle

Also thanks to the turtle trust and cooperation, we managed to free it from the net

   As soon as we put it back in the water, it quickly disappeared leaving us proud of our actions.

Who should be ashamed of his misbehaving is the person who abandoned a fishing net in the middle of the coral reef, endangering many wild animals.

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Rabigh Coral Reef

Exploring the amazing Coral Reef in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia

If you live and work in a small town in Saudi Arabia as I did for almost 18 months, you will easily understand that there is not much to do except working. The nearest mall with a decent level of shops and restaurants was at 150 km from the town where we were based: Rabigh.

During the weekdays, there was very little time to go around and explore, since we were all knackered and were usually opting for a quick stroll in town or paying a visit at the barber. During the weekends, or better during the Fridays since it was the only day off we have got, we used to explore the neighbouring towns and cities like Masturah, Taif, KAEC and finally Jeddah.

However, we soon realized the best entertainment available was really close to our camp: Rabigh Corniche (promenade) and its amazing Coral Reef. The first time we went to the beach, we understood that there were present a certain number of corals and that the deep sea was few meters away. We did not have the proper tools, like reinforced shoes or snorkel and hence we just took a photo from the edge.

The edge of the Red Sea Coral Reef

The edge of Rabigh coral Reef. The deep sea had a superb blue colour.

During the subsequent week, we went many times to the specialised shop and bought snorkels, shoes, water proof cameras and torches and whatever we thought it could have been useful. finally it came Friday again and we rushed to the beach early in the morning.

Once in the crystal clear water, we discovered a surprisingly alive and colourful environment. Unfortunately, I am going to post only few of the thousands photos I took of many different animals.

Rabigh Coral Reef

Crystal Clear Water and undisturbed wild life in Rabigh Coral Reef.

Rabigh Fish

One of the hundreds different fishes in the Red Sea

Rainbow Butterfly at Rabigh Coral Reef

The Rainbow Butterfly Fish is one of my favourite.

Red Sea corals

Corals are everywhere and of every shade of colours.

The Giant Clams are really huge. One alone can weight several Kq.

The Giant Clams are really huge. One alone can weight several Kq.

Sea Snake at Rabigh Coral Reef

I thought this was a Sea-Horse, when I realized it was a snake I literally jumped out of the water

  Unfortunately, the photo I have taken of the giant turtle that we rescued from a fishing net was too blurry to be posted.

The coral reef is also the natural habitat of Octopus, a marvellous animal that we studied in an attempt to kill some hours and that we ended up fishing with great success. But this is going to be another story.

Saudi Arabia Adventures: a day at Rabigh dam

If you had read Lawrence of Arabia chronicles, you should be acquainted with the hardship of living in the desert and most probably you might remember villages names like Rabigh (or Rabegh) and Masturah. I lived in Rabigh – Saudi Arabia for almost 15 months and explored the surrounding areas during the week ends.

The water reservoir created by the dam

The water reservoir created by the dam from Google Maps

I think that we all know that the Middle East in general and the Arabian Peninsula in particular, is characterized by a desert climate that originated the sandy desert we are used to see in many movies and cartoons. It is true even though we should keep in mind that most of the peninsula is constituted by mountains and rocky hills that make the visitors feeling to be on Mars instead of in Arabia. These rocky and sandy places get quickly colder than the surrounding air soon after the sunset, allowing the humidity present in the air to condensate and hence granting the little wildlife possibly present the chance to survive. These rocky areas have also a very limited capacity to absorb the rain that therefore flows towards the sea, creating the so called ‘wadi’, an Arabic term to indicate a riverbed or intermittent stream.

Rabigh Wadi full of water by AndreaDetto

Rabigh Wadi full of water

For this reason, during the rainy season when it could happen to see the rain 2 or 3 times, the water canalized in the ‘wadi’ flows from the mountains to the sea almost undisturbed. Such a big amount of water, indispensable to allow the wildlife to survive, has been recently trapped in appositely built dams to satisfy the population needs.

One of these dams is located close to Rabigh and I assure you that it is a strange feeling to see this artificial lake laying in the middle of the rocky desert. The dam is a multi-purpose construction that collects rain water assuring: i) flood control; ii) municipal water supply and iii) groundwater recharge, helping the overall system to have significant benefits.

I firstly visited a ‘wadi’ in 2010 during a camping organized in November by some friends, close to the Oman border. I was surprised in noticing that after the several months of summer with hot temperature and no rain at all, the ‘wadi’ still had spots of water here and there and that that water was icily cold!!!

Rabigh Dam by AndreaDetto

Rabigh Dam, a very simple construction

The water control systems now in place in many GCC countries aims to prevent very dangerous flooding (in Jeddah died many people few years ago) and grant water availability during the summer. How this is going to impact the environment and the local ecosystem is quite obvious even though I personally think that it is a less invasive solution if compared to the massive presence of desalinated water being used for multiple purposes.

Rabigh News – Strange accidents in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Originally posted on May 2014

For those who do not know, currently I am living and working in Saudi Arabia, in a small city named Rabigh, located some 150 km from Jeddah and close to the Red Sea coast. I will detail my stay in Saudi in the next posts, describing the wonders of the Red Sea in this part of the world where tourists are not so common and therefore the wildlife is still rich and uncontaminated (more or less) by the humans bad habits.

However, the first thing that you would notice once in Saudi Arabia is that, notwithstanding the continue presence of Police Patrols and agents, people seem to do not consider much the traffic rules. Short-cuts and speeding are very common and unfortunately increase the accident rates.

As result of this particular driving habit, most recent statistics (read here) show that in 2012 occurred 598,300 accidents, one every 52 seconds with a death rate of one fatality every 96 accidents for a total of around 6000 death per year.

Authorities are implementing an awareness program in order to reduce these dramatic numbers that are ones of the highest in the world.

Well, due to the mentioned mix of mis-behaviors, I have been witnessing many strange accidents, with cars resting in vertical on a lighting pole, cars upside-down in an empty road and the like. However one of the most “spectacular” accident I have seen so far, that luckily did not cause any fatality or even injury, involved one car in an empty road that for unknown reasons instead of braking before turning left, suddenly accelerated crashing against the walkway and literally flew against the wall of a near villa and penetrating it with the front part of the car.

Strange car accidents in Saudi Arabia - luckily no one got injuried
Strange car accidents in Saudi Arabia

Game Review – Call of Duty Ghost

In order to ease my stay in Saudi Arabia, where there is not much to do for an expatriate after work, I decided to buy a PS3 having found a very good deal in a specialized shop in Jeddah. In the first batch of games I bought there was Call of Duty Ghosts.

 Call of Duty Ghost is a first-person shooting video game where the Ghosts, a U.S. Special Operation unit, fight against a fearful adversary: The Federation. The leader of the latter is Rorke an ex Ghost that turn into a crazy and powerful enemy.

In the game, the player mainly play as Logan Walker the son of the current leader of the Ghosts and will assigned to conduct clandestine missions behind enemy lines. The game story is very well structured and the graphic is excellent. During the development of the story the player will be mainly Logan, sometimes a German Shepard, Logan’s father, a space scientist using the space suite, a tanker, many different kind of weapons and guns, a tank, an helicopter and so on.

The game is very entertaining and the graphic is superb as well as the story that begins from the Walker’s home where Logan’s father explain what is the Federation, who is their leader and what it is necessary to do. A sudden jump in the future will allow the player to understand which is the threat, the definitive weapon that the Federation is planning to use: a giant space gun to destroy whatever they want on the planet earth.

Step by step Logan will learn how to behave and fight as a ghost and . . . . I will not ruin your time with the game telling you the final.

If you like this kind of game, I think you definitely will love this one. Very nicely done. However there is nothing much to invent. Everything is already set for you, there is always someone telling you what you should do and who you should kill first. You have just to pull the virtual trigger and shoot’em all down.

On the other hand, it is very nice the continue switching from forest fight to snowy places, from Logan to the German Shepard, from the space to the underwater world, from a tank to an helicopter.

Ah, just a piece of advice: set the difficulty of the game to the top. I chose an intermediate one and the game was really too easy to be effectively challenging.

 Originally Posted on 4th May 2014