red sea


A couple of days ago I had the great luck to swim with a Dugong in the Red Sea, Egypt. The dugong is a medium-sized marine mammal. It is one of four living species of the order Sirenia, which also includes three species of manatees. The dugong is the only strictly marine herbivorous mammal. The dugong is easily distinguished from the manatees by its fluked, dolphin-like tail, but also possesses a unique skull and teeth. Its snout is sharply downturned, an adaptation for feeding in benthic seagrass communities. The molar teeth are simple and peg-like unlike the more elaborate molar dentition of manatees.
Dugongs are found in warm coastal waters from the western Pacific Ocean to the eastern coast of Africa, they are generally found in warm waters around the coast with large numbers concentrated in wide and shallow protected bays.

Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900)
“Passage of the Jews through the Red Sea” (1891)
Oil on canvas
Currently in a private collection

Ripples in the Red Sea.

The reflection of Sol’s light off the world’s seas reveals the dynamic currents passing through the waters when viewed from space. This image was taken by the MODIS instrument on NASA’s AQUA satellite, one of a group of about twenty that are revealing our world’s secrets in unprecedented detail.

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Pharaonka (rus. Фараонка, derived from “фараон"— "pharaoh”) — an equivalent of an european mermaid in russian folklore. The development of a character begun with the influence of the european mythology and culture in ХVI century and with popularization of folk christianity and reinterpretation of biblical legends.
According to the beliefs, pharaonki (plural) come from the egyptians who had beed chasing Moses and the Israelites during the Exodus and who later has drown in the Chernmnoe sea (distorted Russian, from “chernoe"— black, aka Yam Suph, aka the Red Sea). With all their horses and weaponry those egyptian men and women were turned into half-fish creatures and were said to languish in the seas till the Judgment Day for their punishment.
The tales about the appearance of the pharaonki tend to vary depending on a region: according to the most popular version they resemble the classical mermaids — busty creatures with normal human upper-part of a body and the fish tail, but there are also mentioned fish-monsters with a human head and some scaled one-eyed humanoids.
Pharaonki tend to live in groups (much like slavic indigenous rusalki). They often stop the ships and boats to ask people whether the Judgment Day is at hand, hoping for it to come sooner. If heard the unsatisfying answer, they drown the ship. Pharaonki are also known for their love for the storms and сannibalism.