The recent National Geographic (Jun 2012) has an article about the island of Socotra, located 220 miles off the coast of Yemen. When things settle a bit in Yemen, this is one place I would like to visit.
According to the author of the NG article, Mel White:
Socotra was once a legendary place at the edge of maps of the known world. For sailors it was fearsome, with dangerous shoals, ferocious storms, and residents who were believed to control the winds and turn ships toward shore for capture and plunder. Today Socotra’s rich biological diversity brings new explorers, who hope to learn its secrets before the modern world changes it forever. . .
Research around the turn of the 20th century proved that this tropical island, despite its size of only 83 miles by 27 miles, ranks among the world’s most important centers of biodiversity, combining elements of Africa, Asia, and Europe in ways that still puzzle biologists. The number of endemic plant species per square mile on Socotra and three small outlying islands is the fourth highest of any island group on earth. . . Every vista on Socotra, from the hot, dry lowlands to the mist-shrouded mountains, reveals wonders seen nowhere else. . .
When stability returns to Yemen and roads, resorts, and eager travelers spread across Socotra, will its residents’ peaceful way of settling disputes hold? Will people still gather in mountain villages to recite their poems in a language all their own, and will centuries-old traditions of conservation endure? If so, perhaps those who climb high into the limestone hills will still hear the song of the Socotra bunting, part of the island’s weird and wonderful array of life.
Even though this article is overwritten, it does make me want to visit the island.