From a hillside, Kamal Saadat looked forlornly at hundreds of potential customers, knowing he could not take them for trips in his boat to enjoy a spring weekend on picturesque Oroumieh Lake, the third largest saltwater lake on Earth.
"Look, the boat is stuck ... It cannot move anymore," said Saadat, gesturing to where it lay encased by solidifying salt.
The lake, home to migrating flamingos, pelicans and gulls, has shrunken by 60 percent and could disappear entirely in just a few years, experts say — drained by drought, questionable irrigation policies, development and the damming of rivers that feed it.
Now tourists walk on its salt flats.