Sometimes I feel very lucky. This was one of those times. Why? Because not only do I have friends in the beautiful desert country of Oman and not only do these friends invite me to visit them and show me around, but … big but … a couple of them even have a boat and invited me to spend the day with them on a boat trip in the Gulf of Oman.
I’d seen the city. I’d seen the desert. I’d seen the mountains. Now was my chance to see Oman from a whole new perspective – from the water.
I was up early with my swimsuit on under my clothes waiting to be picked up for the drive out to the marina. Once there we soon loaded up the boat with provisions for the day, filled up with fuel and we were off.
First we went in search of dolphins. I’d been told by various people that dolphins, basking sharks and turtles had all been seen recently.
We sped out, slicing through the waves to the area where the dolphins had been seen. We circled around. We stayed still. We moved on a bit more. But not one dolphin was to be seen.
This wasn’t going to spoil the day however, as we came back towards the shore again and followed the coastline to some lovely secluded bays where we got the chance to swim, wakeboard, snorkel and generally explore.
Okay I only did the tiniest bit of swimming (I’m not a strong swimmer) and it was my friends’ young sons who did the snorkelling and wakeboarding, but I did do this –
Yep, I rode the donut!
A giant green inflatable donut that was pulled behind the boat at high speed.
Getting in and out were the trickiest parts. Seriously, someone should have videoed me trying to get out of the donut and back into the boat – I could have made a lot of money on one of those programmes where people send in their ridiculous funny videos.
Instead I’ve got this video of me actually riding the donut. I was holding on for dear life and trying to enjoy the bottom massage I was receiving as the donut thudded down on the water time after time. It was actually really good fun and I have the bruises to prove it!
Besides all the active stuff we fitted in a lot of pottering along the coast and viewing Muscat from a whole different perspective.
We passed posh resorts, the Sultan’s heavily guarded palace, an isolated wartime graveyard, old style fishing villages and plenty of little coves with gorgeous empty beaches, many of which are only accessible from the water.
We hovered around one cove for a while hoping to spot turtles but just like the dolphins there were none to be seen.
At another larger cove, I got to try my hand at driving the boat. It seems quite simple as there’s not that much you need to know, but it’s way more difficult than it looks as the controls are so sensitive and, unlike a car, the boat is always moving even when you stop. Imagine driving a car and the roads work against you to pull you in directions you don’t want to go!
The war cemeteries were really unexpected and interesting. The small white graves are laid out on several small beaches in one bay. We didn’t get close enough to land and even with the zoom on my camera I couldn’t read the inscriptions. Once I was back home I googled them
The Commonwealth War Graves website names the site as Muscat Old Cemetery and says there is one identified casualty of the First World War buried here and that ten other non-service world war graves are also here in their care. The cemetery, known locally as the Christian Cemetery or Sa’Ali Cove Military Cemetery, is difficult to get to by land as it is served by only a rough path down a steep hill. A reef makes it difficult to arrive by boat too.
I checked to see who the identified serviceman was and found that he was a British lieutenant who served in the Royal Engineers. He died on Sunday 6th October, 1918. There were no other details except for his name and not even his full name is given, just his initial and surname.
His surname was Morgan which is the same as mine and his initial was J.
J. Morgan is the name of my brother so I felt a little shiver as I read that!
There was no further information on the Commonwealth War Graves site so I turned back to Google. I could see that there were more than the eleven graves already mentioned and wanted to know a bit more.
I found another website that had more information about the individual graves. Apparently there are 19 graves and 21 men buried here. Many of them seem to have died in the 1800s.
They all had British sounding names and most had died in their 20s or 30s, though one man was 66 years old.
This website also informed me that the J in J Morgan stood for Joseph. Not the same name as my brother.
It was getting a bit late in the day by this time and we started to head back to the marina hugging the coast and admiring the many convoluted rock formations. We also zipped through a rock arch because … well why not? It was much more fun than going round.
It was quite difficult trying to hold my camera still as the boat bounced all over the place, so I decide to shoot a short video instead.
There was just time to take a few more photos of some of the rock formations and we had to head for home.
We hadn’t seen dolphins, turtles or sharks, but I’d had a great day anyway. And because I haven’t seen any of the wildlife yet, I’ll just have to do it all again next time I’m in Oman won’t I?
So what do you think of my boat trip in the Gulf of Oman? Do you like spending time on boats? Where are your favourite places? Share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.
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