Ships of the Arabian Sea. Goa, India. January 15, 2012.
The Arabian Sea stretches away from the Indian Ocean north of an imaginary line drawn from Cape Comorin, at the southern tip of India, to Cape Guardafui, at the eastern end of the Horn of Africa. Africa, Arabia, Pakistan, and India enclose its warm salty waters in a sprawling shoreline formed like a great cup. The sea leaks over the cup through the Gulf of Aden, which connects the Arabian Sea with the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Oman, which links the sea with the Persian Gulf. At the broadest part of the sea, it is only about 1500 miles from the Arabian Peninsula shores to the Indian coast.
Modern navigation has made traveling on the monsoon-driven currents of the Arabian Sea less hazardous than in Sindbad’s time, but the ancient trade routes along the coasts of Africa, Arabia, and India still hold the same promise of wealth and adventure which lured Sindbad to the sea.
The treasures today are oil, rubber, uranium—raw materials from two continents bordering the Arabian Sea. The ships may be 100,000-ton oil tankers or swift cargo vessels skimming between Mukalla and Bombay faster than Sindbad’s wildest dreams. Yet these ships, supplying the industrial needs of a twentieth-century world, are merely continuing a tradition which goes back past Sindbad to the beginning of recorded history…..
…..A steady stream of huge tank ships, designed for oil, now cuts past the desert shores of the Arabian Sea. Cargo vessels race at 18 knots on a tight schedule between Europe and the East. They carry rubber, jute, silk, wool, spices, sugar, grain, cotton, carpets, coffee, dates and dozens of other products. Air conditioned liners cruise past some of the warmest and driest seashores on earth (the temperature in some coastal areas hovers at 130° and rain falls only a few days a year)…….
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