PUNTING through this unusually coloured lake it looks like this worker is wading through water running red with blood.
But while they are not taking to the bizarre looking Lake Retba, in Senegal, west Africa for some sort of morbid rescue mission, it is an unsavoury job of sorts.
That’s because the blood red colour is caused by high levels of salt - with some areas containing up to 40 per cent of it.
Workers make their way to the lake daily in a bid to collect the mineral and piles of it can be seen on the banks of the African shores.
Much like the Dead Sea, swimmers lay back on the water, drifting with ease, as the salt content helps to aid floatation. Michael Danson, an expert in extremophile bacteria from Bath University, said: ‘The strawberry colour is produced by salt-loving organism Dunaliella salina.
‘They produce a red pigment that absorbs and uses the energy of sunlight to create more energy, turning the water pink. Lakes like Retba and the Dead Sea, which have high salt concentrations, were once thought to be incompatible with life - hence the names. But they are very much alive.’
Salt collectors can often be seen scouring the expanse to remove the valuable mineral - but first have to coat their skin with shea butter.
This helps protect their skin from exposure to the intense salt levels in the three metre deep lake. Salt crystals cling to the bodies of miners who work the lake everyday to extract its contents. Villagers then process it before selling and using the valuable mineral. –MO