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Seals Islands at the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan.


Adventure trip to Seals islands by fast boats.

Seal Islands are a cluster of small islands in the Caspian Sea, geographically related to Kazakhstan. The islands of Kulaly, Morskoy, Podgorny, Novy and Rybachy are inhospitable and arid. This is the kingdom of semi-desert plants that do not need a lot of fresh moisture. These islnds situated in Mangyshlak bay.
The largest of the islands is Kulaly, long and narrow, covered with clay and sandy mounds up to 10 m high. The soils are barren and completely unsuitable for agricultural needs.

Seals islands - History.

The main historical event associated with the Seal Islands took place in the summer of 1667. In that year, about two hundred supporters of the popular rebel Stepan Razin (1630-1671) fled from Guryev (now Atyrau, the regional center of the eponymous region) to the island of Kulaly, fleeing royal punishment. From Astrakhan to Kulaly were sent 2,690 archers, armed with cannons, on 40 sea plows. On September 15, 1667, they stormed a cossack town (built of sandbags). After desperate resistance, he fell, and the Cossacks were executed.

Seals at the Seal-islands.

Hundreds of thousands of seals came here from the South Caspian every autumn to produce offspring.
At the beginning of the 20th century, here, in the northern part of Kulala, there were buildings and barns for storing seal fat. These buildings were popularly called seal settlements. Sealers came here for a short time, in cooperative gangs, in order to catch the time when the seal pups had not yet reached a year, so that they could beat the living with chekos and send them for processing. From the skins of young seals, a semi-finished fur product is made, in common parlance called a seal - a rare, hard, light brown. The fishing was dangerous, because in winter ice floes with mobs were torn from the islands and carried into the open sea.

This continued until the seals left these islands altogether. In memory of their former presence, only the name of the islands remained.

Seals Islands names.

Seals Islands are five small low-lying islands in the northern part of the Caspian Sea at the entrance to Mangyshlak Bay, covered with sand and clay. The islands of Kulaly, Morskoy, Podgorny, Novy and Rybachy are part of the Mangistau region of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The islands have a strange configuration, and they are located rather unusually, which is explained by the change in the level of the Caspian Sea.

The entire population of the Seal Islands consists of several people, each of whom had their own reasons to settle here, far from civilization.

How to get Seals Islands.

You can get to the islands with a rare boat, and on the way you can catch a strong storm, with waves of four meters in height. The waves do not allow getting close to the shore, and you have to get to it in an ordinary rowing boat.
Nowadays, on the islands, the only reminders of the sealants are large, rusting vats - in which the valuable fat of pinnipeds was once drowned.

People at the Seals Islands.

Local residents can be counted on one hand, and they are in no hurry to talk about how they were brought to these wild shores.
The other inhabitants of the islands are Kazakhstani border guards, serving at the only sea post in Kazakhstan. The border guards are replaced every two weeks: a squad of privates and two officers. The main task is to scare away, catch and fine the poachers from Dagestan who circle around the islands on high-speed "budars" - boats with powerful outboard motors. For this purpose, the border guards have a powerful locator. Poachers are attracted to the islands because there are very few fish left off the coast of Dagestan.
Life on the islands is not easy: the water in the local well is brackish, therefore it is suitable only for technical needs, and fresh water is brought here from Kazakhstan.

Seals are rarely seen here, and the participants of the International Seminar on the Caspian Seal Problem even suggested that these animals are afraid of islands and that artificial islands could be created for them in the future.
In recent years, the seal fishery has not been conducted at all, but their number is still decreasing (including due to diseases), and the problem of rescuing seals still seems insoluble.

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