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Scuba Diving In Oman

GrandEscapades-Oman180Ras Al Sawadi, an hour drive north of Muscat, was not really worth all the hassle. After fighting our way through a serious traffic jam coming from Muscat, we were rushed on a boat. Another hour we spent racing towards Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve for very little to see, literally.

Visibility was appalling! If there were any major fish or turtles, we could not see them because of all the plankton floating around making it hard to even spot our group. October we were told is the best time for diving, with excellent visibility…

New to us and truly beautiful was a kind of soft coral, which reminded us of tiny leave-less baobab trees, with their small branches reaching up like arms. Except that those were bright white with purple knobs, quite a sight!

At the end of the first dive, our dive master brought a dead turtle to the surface. He had cut it from a large fishing net where it got entangled and drowned. Although we all know about this issue – maritime life dying in fishing nets – it is tough to picture it in real. Besides, the turtle was not the only casualty that morning…

On our second dive we came across a gigantic moray eel caught in a net, which seemed to be covering the ocean floor like a lid. In its struggle to get free, this cute silky creature had swallowed parts of the net. Our guide cut it free and pulled the net from the teethy mouth. We did not think it would live. But it trailed off hiding under a rock.

Lots of other fishes were caught, which led a German woman to go berserk: she started slicing through the huge net with her knife as if she had to free the whole world. Eventually the guide motioned us to go up, where friendly fisherman in their boats were waving at us. Of course those guys have to make a living too, but why here in this Nature Reserve? A string of nine rocky islands which goes by the romantic name of Daymaniyat, “the Pearl Chain” in Arabic.

Equally disappointing was our diving safari in Musandam two weeks later. Visibility was poor again: we could only guess there were lots of fish around. On both excursions Heidi suffered tremendously, since we had to stay on the swaying boat in between dives. Even taking pills did not help her from getting very seasick.

To be fair, some experienced divers on our boat had spent almost a week diving in Musandam and seemed quite happy, to our big surprise…


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