The Amazing lake Retba
20 km from the Cape Verde Peninsula and 30 km from Dakar, capital of Senegal, is an amazing natural phenomenon — the Pink lake or Retba, as it is called representatives of the people Wolof, the main ethnic groups in the country. The size of a giant bowl with a bright pink water reaches up to 3 sq. km. the Maximum depth does not exceed 3 meters.
The name of the lake derives from the special color of the water, which ranges from light pink to brown. The reason for the unique color of the water is a large amount of cyanobacteria in the lake are ancient organisms that appeared on Earth 3.5 billion years ago. Surprisingly, except for them in this saturated salt solution no other organic life. The salt concentration in the lake Retba almost 1.5 times more than in the Dead sea – 380 grams per liter. Salt production takes place since 1970.
Now people extract the salt, standing to his neck in water, but 20 years ago the lake was moving without boats, the water level reached the belt. But because mining a huge amount of salt (about 25 thousand tons per year), the depth of the lake was rapidly increasing.
Every morning dozens of local men with the necessary equipment, floating in the middle of the lake and climb in very salty water. They break the salt deposits at the bottom of the pond with special hooks, and then scoop the salt with shovels and loaded into boats. High concentration salt solution capable of only a few tens of minutes to eat away at the skin, resulting in a body formed of hard-healing ulcers. To prevent this, the miners, before getting in the boat, RUB the Shea butter that is extracted from the fruit of a tallow tree.
When the cake full of salt ashore, the men’s mission ends here – salt from boats unload women. They carry on their head basins loaded with wet salt, weighing more than 25 kg, and pour it on the shore of the lake to dry. Initially, salt is extracted from the reservoir, has a dark gray color, but under the influence of tropical sunlight she gradually starts to turn white. In each pile of salt is a plate with the same number of the owner. Here it is a year or two can wait for wholesale buyers.
The workers live here, on the shore of Rose lake, in a small village, in huts built from scrap materials: plastic film, cane, sheet iron and old tires. They come here to work from neighbouring countries of Africa and from Senegal’s provinces, but remain no more than a few years because of poor working conditions. However, by the standards of this country, they earn good money.
Pink lake is known for the fact that for many years, finished the world-famous rally Paris-Dakar.