Tyson´s Travels

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Muynak the Town Missing it’s Seaside – Aral Sea – Uzbekistan -September 2017


Muynak is a seaside town without a seaside. It is a tragic story both for the town and the environment.

The once massive Aral Sea once supported a fishing fleet and a fish cannery. Now their is little left of the towns seagoing roots; the cannery is half demolished and a handful of old wrecks have been placed on the sea bed below a newish looking light house. Amazingly the town is still all hustle and bustle. Looking out to “sea” all that can be seen is desert scrub as the sea is now 150km away. It is now a fraction of it’s original size (it was the fourth largest inland water body in the world) and exponentially saltier meaning the lake is now lifeless.


IMG_5438This lack of water has changed the climate of the area and winds now pick up the dried salt and sand and deposit it across Uzbekistan. The sea has shrunk so much as the rivers that feed it have been choked off to feed the cotton industry. The situation is becoming so bad that even the tap water in distance towns taste salty.


It is fascinating to stand on the lake bottom next to a fleet of boats and look across the flat sandy bottom covered in scrub.


For this trip some random French people approached me in the hostel to go. It was a brutal 7 hour drive each way to see this place. Worth it despite the crazy driving and bumpy roads.


Note the sea is being revived in Kazakhstan. A dyke has been built to separate the Kazakh side from the Uzbek and it is slowly filling. The fish are back and the area is coming back to life. In Uzbekistan the demand for water for cotton and agricultural land use is preventing the Uzbek side from refilling.



One comment on “Muynak the Town Missing it’s Seaside – Aral Sea – Uzbekistan -September 2017

  1. sebpringle1975
    February 10, 2018

    Envious. This area fascinates me!

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