We left a cool Manchester on a Qatar flight via Doha to Muscat at 9am and were in our rather swish 4* hotel before 11pm their time. (We even had time for a cup of tea in Doha’s brand new airport.)
The first thing that hit us was the 37C wall of warmth as our taxi driver took our luggage and loaded it into an air conditioned 4×4. The next was our arrival at The Millenium Hotel—friendly staff, spotlessly clean sea view rooms with super-sized comfortable beds and a 5* buffet styled restaurant. We spent some of Saturday sorting out our kit at Sea Oman ready for our first day of diving on the Daymaniyats, a group of islands about an hour’s boat ride away. The rest of the day involved, eating, walking on the beach and relaxing by the pool.
The diving did not disappoint: 27C water; 10/15m vis and very little current. We saw every type of reef fish, so many morays –honeycomb, ,yellow mouthed, grey, peppered and zebra, both in crevices and free swimming: shoals of snappers, juvenile barracuda, red toothed trigger fish, torpedo rays, turtles, puffer, porcupine and lion fish, spiny lobster and the best find, seahorses and a leopard shark. We only saw one other dive boat all the time we were there. The staff and dive guides were excellent; friendly, well organised and knowledgeable.
A change of venue to dive the Musandam, involved a 6 hour drive in 2 4×4’s, plus 2 border crossings (into UAE ,out of UEA and back into Oman) —an interesting experience!!! We met up with Mark’s friends from Dubai BSAC on board the Dhow that had been chartered for the weekend. This group included Tash, an ex ECSAC trainee, who is now a fully qualified rebreather diver. We then stayed and dived with Nomads for another 2 days.
The scenery was spectacular— jagged mountains plunged into the sea. The underwater topography was its equal. The diving was very different, more challenging and deeper, remote, with drifts of varying speeds. Dive sites with names such as Ras Musandam, White Rock, Lima Rock, Wonderwall, Octopus, Ras Morava and Mother of Mouse. The dive briefings included advice such as “if you get caught in a down current do not inflate your BCD, go with it and fin at right angles to it.”
The night dive from the Dhow on Octopus and the early morning 5.30am dive on White Rock were superb. Shoals of batfish, fusiliers, snappers, red toothed trigger fish, massive groupers, pairs of cuttlefish, shimmering silver and electric blue, soft coral in various shades of purple, yellow ,orange, blue and pink, bubble coral with anemone fish darting in and out, hard coral gardens, the sound of reef fish munching, broom tailed wrasse, bannerfish, angel fish, morays —- a true fish soup. The high lights for me in the Musandam, the curious bat fish, a porcupine fish being cleaned, seeing my first jaw fish and the group of eagle rays that passed by.
We returned to The Millennium to continue diving on The Daymaniyats. Once again 3 days of calm, well organised and relaxed diving with so much to see. We even stopped pointing out the morays to our buddies as they were everywhere.
We left Mark at The Millenium, as he had booked another two days of diving before his return to work in the Omani desert. Would you believe it –5 whale sharks in two days!!!!
We arrived back on time courtesy of Qatar Airlines to a chilly but very green Manchester.
Was a 15 day trip mega expensive? No.
Would we go again? Yes –September 2016 on The Daymaniyats looks likely.
A big thank you to Mark Parsey who organised this trip for us.
Some great photos from Andy Yac https://picasaweb.google.com/
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