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About this City Journal

A once unexplored island on the eastern coast of Africa, Okumara is vastly expanding

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I'm back with a small update to keep you guys on your toes, after a brief hiatus to focus on modeling. ;) But here we go.

The Kandatuu lighthouse was erected in 1961 by the local Okumarans, as many ships that sailed past the southern tip of the island found themselves caught upon the rocky shoals close to shore. Many millions of dollars in cargo, and much more that value in human life was lost at sea due to the numerous shipwrecks. It was decided to erect a lighthouse with a beacon that would shine across the globe. The Kandatuu lighthouse, still to this day, boasts the brightest beacon in the world. It can be seen from over 40 nautical miles away.

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During the day, it serves as a reminder of human strength to the Okumarans, and as a landmark to local fisherman sailing around the island. It still stands strong after 50 years of being battered by winds, sea, and rain. The Kandatuu family has manned the lighthouse for 50 years, and have said they plan to do so for many more years to come.

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The beauty of the area is unsurpassed, for sure. Because of such, it is a popular tourist stop, and many people on the island get married on the cliffs nearby. May the lighthouse shine on for many years to come.

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A little east of the Faraquouh Canal lies the busy port of Dukkar. Easily the busiest sector of Okumara, ships travel through the port at all hours of the night, unloading and loading their cargoes for parts unknown. The port provides shipping support for all industries, including coal, cargo, oil, and liquified natural gas. Many of the residents in the area find employment here, as it is the only industry east of the canal.

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A bridge coming out of the vast desert expanses of the island leads into a small spit of land where the natural gas ships are docked. Here, the liquid fuel is stored until LNG barges come to ship it elsewhere. The gas (although unbeknownst by the government), at the direction of the port foreman, is also used to power part of the port. If only the government were to find out....

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The port was constructed by the US navy during the Vietnam war, as a port to load tanks onto amphibious assault ships headed for battle. The port covers most of the eastern shore of the city, and a small expanse of the western shores of a small island near by. The shipping lanes are tight, but no major accident has happened yet. Strict regulations have been in place since the port was constructed, and have been harshly enforced. The port is so far removed from the rest of the island's major centers of population that it essentially operates as a self-governed province.

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Rail lines stretch from the port into the desert to carry goods to the island's major cities. The desert sands are harsh on the rails however. Many lines have been lost to the desert, as the government often does not have the funds to repair the lines or even to maintain them. Many lines cross dried up lakebeds and rivers, where ships sunken with their cargoes are buried in the sands....

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North of Moubasa exists a small spit of land, less than one mile across at it's thinnest point. This portion of the island is still largely barren desert, but much use has been made of the existing space since the discovery of the island by the Japanese. During the Japanese occupation of the island during WW2, a small earthen canal was dug through the strip of land for Japanese submarines to pass through should the need for African conquest (or a forward naval base) arise. The Japanese determined (and it was later confirmed, to great dismay, by American naval forces at the now famous naval battle of Foquodah Reef...[if you would like details just ask :P]) that passage through the canal saves a day's journey around the southern tip of the island.

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The canal resembles the Suez Canal in that canal locks do not exist. Passage through the canal is watched over by a small guard shack and radio tower that transmits all ship data to a nearby naval base. Should an unauthorized ship approach, Okumaran Coast Guard ships can quickly arrive and escort the ship out of the area.

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A small city named Faraquouh exists directly behind the canal that houses many of the canal's workers. The city is small, but provides much of the manpower and resources that keep the canal in commission. The city is also home to a large police/military tower that provides much of the backbone of the region's security. Much of the police force, however, has been committed elsewhere to fight the country's growing drug trafficking problem, and security in the area has been greatly diminished. Hopefully the problem will not be exploited....

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The city still moves at night. Ships are sailing through the canal at all hours of the night. "Fe Faraquouh", the city's largest hotel/nightclub, provides much needed distraction for the cities workers. As the night ends, the work day begins again....

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A little to the north of the southern shores of the island lies the small village of Moubasa. The village began as a small market town where sailors stopping at ports further north could stop by to pick up or sell goods. However, many of the markets have since disappeared, due to increased violence from drug traffic. Shipping traffic past the lower part of the island has also slowed down due to the increased recent threats of piracy in the area.

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Many of the original residential buildings remain, such as old hotels and commerce offices. The main road through town was paved in 1970 by US marines to allow for easier transportation of tanks and oil trucks to the lower tip of the island. A few barracks were constructed as well, but they have since been converted to low-income family tenements, as many of the village's citizens are poor.

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A small mosque also exists in the town. This mosque was constructed by Marines to appease the local population and encourage cooperation with the military forces that frequently passed through the town during their stop-over while the Vietnam War was occurring. Small cattle and goat farms dot the landscape and provide the locals with small amounts of income from trade.

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As the sun goes down, the sleepy town settles in for the night. A few of the town's population makes their living here at night, as a lack of a police force lends the town to a semi-lucrative drug trail from the poppy fields of the north. Luckily the town is far removed from the majority of the island's population, so violence cannot spread so easily.

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Welcome to my new city journal! This is my first desert-themed CJ, so much of this is new to me. Please don't hesitate to let me know what you think!

Okumara Island is a small island located on the east coast of Africa, right above Madagascar.

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The southern island is composed mostly of desert, with a few small lakes and rivers, which provide much needed relief from the African heat and dryness. The northern half is dominated by mountains, and is for the most part uninhabitable. Once a year, snow from the upper peaks of the mountains melts and runs down into the rest of the island, flooding the river and providing a fertile agricultural valley for the island, which is the main source of sustenance for many of it's inhabitants.

The island was discovered in 1941 by Shushito Okumara of the Imperial Japanese Navy during their expansion before WW2. The island was seen as uninhabitable by the Japanese, but remained an Imperial possession until the end of the war due to the vast amounts of oil reserves buried beneath the desert sands. The island was captured by the Americans in 1943, used as a refueling port during the Vietnam war, and granted independence in 1973 when the US pulled out of Vietnam. For many years afterwards, indigenous peoples survived on fishing and farming. It was only recently that the small nation began to expand further into the island.

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The southern coast of the island is largely uninhabited. Most of the southern tip consists of small spits of land, covered in lush vegetation. A few fishing docks and trails exist, but these are mainly used by the indigenous fishers of the island.

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A little north of the small southern islands lies large expanses of desert, dotted with a small oasis here or there. While still greatly underpopulated, a few fishing huts dot the shores of ponds and rivers. There is no escape for these peoples, as no paved roads yet exist in the area. The desert is their life.......

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