Euphrates - Arrival in Chibaish - 13 October
H, our logistics staff having trouble waking up
Our plan is to proceed up the Euphrates River to the town of Chibaish (where our southern office is at the bottom of the Central Marshes) today. Several years ago an earthen dam was built across the Euphrates because the river's flow was so low most of the marshlands were not getting enough water. The dam backs up the Euphrates, forcing the water into the marshlands. As a result, the river above the dam is essentially a lake with very low flow. We loaded up the boats in Qurna and moved them to the dam, to start the last leg of the journey up to Chibaish.
Morning in Qurnah (The start of the Shatt Al-Arab in the distance)
Unloading the boats at the dam
We paddled for about two hours but quickly realized that we had misgauged the distance. We also were facing a strong head wind and due to our late start we decided we would never make it in before dark. So we rafted up the boats and put the engine on to cover the remaining distance.
One of the original breaks in the embankment near Chibaish that was used to re-flood the marshlands
S, A and Abu H on the way to Chibaish
After arriving in Chibaish, I stayed out longer with S & H to sample just near the Nature Iraq Mudhief. Here the Euphrates water is too salty to drink and most people rely upon reverse osmosis units for their drinking water supply. But particularly near the dam, the water is quite clear as the high sediments that the Tigris-Euphrates both carry is here able to settle out.
A and S, sampling near Chibaish
Until now the only place we have had an armed escort was in Baghdad, but two river police boats joined us at the dam. We joked later that despite all the warnings we had received, the worst threat we had face on the whole trip was from some stupid adolescent boys two days before throwing rocks and showering debris on us from a bridge.