Gennadiy N. Lepeshkin: We didn't make it to the island because it's a very long way. Plus the fact that we didn't know where the road ended up. And most important, the island is located in the territory of the next country over. We couldn't commit a border violation, so we were very careful with regard to all of those requirements, traveling only to the nearest village...
At the present time, it is no longer, since 2001, it hasn't been an island, it's a peninsula. It merged with the land on the Uzbekistan side and is now a large peninsula which has had the effect of nearly dividing the entire Aral Sea into two parts: one part that has dried up completely and one where there is still some water.
This is a tragedy which is still unfolding. And probably in the end, the western part, the part with water still in it, will also dry out, dry out. But the northern Aral is still there, it will be saved, because Kazakhstan is moving forward with the construction of a dam, and the water from the Syr-darya will fill the North Aral. There is a plan to dig a canal between the Aral and that dam that will be about twenty kilometers long, about a hundred meters wide and about ten meters deep, in order to resume shipping activity, so that there is water and to get the city, which is a major Aral coastal city, back on track.
Slava Paperno: Shipping going where?
Paperno: Shipping going where?
Lepeshkin: So that there are shipping lines from the dam to the Aral Sea.