Kamaran Island, Yemen

Photo: onkwma.buzznet.com
Photo: onkwma.buzznet.com

In a perfect world, you’d be able to hop on a plane and see any part of the world you wished. You could travel around Middle Eastern countries—and see their ancient historical sites—the way some people jump around Europe. You could explore Yemen, a country currently controlled by protesters, rebels, and possible terrorists. You could visit the islands in the Red Sea that are off-limits due to pirates and smugglers. And you could see the two moons on Kamaran Island. But, unfortunately, you can’t.

Kamaran Island sits one kilometer off Yemen’s west coast in the Red Sea. The Portuguese used it as an outpost to control the waterway between Africa and Asia in the 16th century. The Ottomans established a quarantine station here in the 19th century. The Idrisi Army seized control of it in 1915 during World War I. They later handed control over to the British Aden Province. The shelf island, surrounded by coral reefs on three sides, is now the largest of the Yemen-controlled islands.

The 42-square-mile island is flat, very flat. It’s few hills sit near the southern cape. Jabal Yaman, the highest point, is less than 80-feet high. Dust storms and high humidity make the interior practically unbearable. The coasts are much more appealing, though. Turquoise water laps against the desert island. Three pearl-fishing villages sit on the west coast. Flamingos and pelicans peck at empty oyster shells. Windswept beaches are vast and empty. Plus schools of groupers, sea turtles, sharks, and dolphins swim among the vibrant coral reef.

But back to those two moons. For two weeks each month, it looks like there are two moons, or a double reflection, from the island’s northern coast. It’s actually the moon on one side of the peninsula and the sun on the other. Regardless, it’s a breathtaking phenomenon. Or at least you’ve heard. Hopefully, one day, you’ll have the chance to see them yourself.

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