Saturday, 1 December 2007

Ormara day trip.

Ormara is an old coastal port town (25° 16' 29N 64° 35' 10E) located in the coastal region of the Balochistan province. It is located 350 km west of Karachi

Its historical routes are linked with Alexander the Great, who stayed here with his army for a few days on his way back from India, in 400 BC. One of his generals "Ormoz" died here and the present day Ormara was named after him. (source Wikipedia)

That's interesting but what has it got to do with this Blog I hear you ask. Well the Jinnah naval base of Pakistan Navy is located at Ormara. And I had been invited to view a new reclaimed site for a proposed Submarine Rebuild Centre. Its a long trip for a 30 minute site inspection but the journey itself makes the whole day worth while.

We left Karachi at 5.30 am and were out of town before anyone had woken up. Takes about 4-5 hours on a really good highway, part hugging the coast line and some up through some terrific barren mountains. It was really amazing to depart a crowded city and enter what is some of the most stunning rock formations. More stunning when you realize they are not granite or hard rock but a type of clay/mud. The eiry shapes are all wind formed and spectacular. One in particular is called the Princess of Hope.

The problem I had was trying to capture the immense scale of it all on a camera. There were no trees or features which could be used to compare depth so the size could not be captured. I tried with a couple of shots to catch trucks making their way along the winding roads. They carry bitumen and diesel from the boarder with Iran to Karachi. Why? Well its come from across the Iran boarder so no duty just a few police 'charges' along the way. This fuel is apparently sold at about 50% of Karachi pump prices. So as you can imaging there are quite a few over laden trucks taking this route!! All fun and games.

Arriving at Omera there is a Navy base and photos are strictly forbidden.
We managed to find the local fish shop where we bought some mackrel and lobsters. Being so far away from Karachi prices were much more competative.

Next trip I'll be more confident and do some subtle stuff. The sea was incredible, blue, clear and teaming with fish. Sure they knew our rods were safely back in Karachi....

1 comment:

Evan said...

Alan,
I'm a bit envious of your trip. I am planning on becoming a Geography Masters student researching ports. I think I chose my research topic more for my desire to visit Pakistan than for my interest in port cities. I doubt I'll ever get the chance to visit Karachi, Ormara, or Gwadar but one can only hope. I've been fascinated by the development and the changes seen in the past ten years. Regarding Jinnah Naval Base, I can see on GoogleEarth the reclaimed land which forms a quay near the naval piers and the small jetty which extends from it. Is this the area which will house the submarine rebuild complex? What a great project this would be. I have written a few small papers regarding the need for Pakistan to expand dispersal bases for its fleet into Ormara and Gwadar, as well as Pasni or Jiwani. It sure does make sense to pull their submarine fleet from Karachi. The only reservation I would have would be the technology transfer to Balochistan. Maintaining submarines isn't synonomous with fixing a rickshaw. It takes experience and training to properly maintain a vessel designed to go and stay submerged. Are there that many workers willing to leave KSEW in Karachi? I've always rooted for Pakistan to succeed - I hope this one works out. When do you think they would start building the complex or is it just a pipe-dream?

The secret to "Success" ..... is never, never, give up trying.