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November 2017: Shamal is on the hard in Guatemala.Mum and Dad are home in New Zealand till Jan. 2018. *ATTENTION PLEASE* if you are still interested in receiving the posts, could you please subscribe to the Blog following the two step process in the right hand column, so that new posts are emailed to your inbox. As of next year the reminder emails that are being sent out will cease. Thanks to all of you for following our Adventures.

15 December 2010

Dubai Back To Muscat

Hello Again

Here we are back in Fujairah – on the East Coast of The United Arab Emirates. It is their 39th National Day and we will now have four days of ‘party time’!!!! They – the locals - start about 3.00pm driving up and down the Corniche with their cars all decorated up in flags, and some have bits of cloth the colours of their flag draped all over the cars, transfers of the different leaders stuck all over their cars along with stars and even more flags, then, tooting horns, backfiring their cars like a machine gun going off, screeching tyres and making as much noise as possible is the norm. There are bodies hanging out the windows, the favourite is to sit on the roof of the car with their legs in the windows, or sit with their legs in the sun roof, carrying a can of spray foam which you aim in the window of the car you are passing, preferable at the driver. If that misses then you jump from your moving car and run up and spray it in the window then clamber back onto your car. This is all happening on a four lane road. Very much like being at the circus!! The road is crammed with cars so they are not moving at too fast a pace. This will carry on till about 3.00am!!! and yes, the Marina is right on the Corniche!! I can now see why boats were pulling out for the long weekend as we arrived in here. Oh and to top all of this off, National Day co-insides with the Muslim New Year so there is a big fireworks display included in all this huge chaotic festivity.


Now getting back to our return trip to Fujairah. Brigitte joined us for the five day cruise from Dubai to Fujairah as we came around the top of the Musandam, and of course Murray is with us. We did a quick stop in front of the famous Dubai landmark – the Burj Al Arab Hotel – where Brigitte and I climbed into the tender and Alec and Murray did ‘drive byes’ so we could do a bit of a photo shoot. Unfortunately there was no wind at all so we could not put the sails up and also it is still very hazy here, so the photos were not the best. Just one to say ‘been here’. We spent the first night back at Ra’s Al Khaymah.

Next morning it was on up to the Musandam with the most spectacular scenery. Here the mountains which reach 2,087 meters plunge dramatically into the sea disappearing altogether as the Straits of Hormuz cuts a trench between the top of Oman and Iran. This area is known as the Norway of The Middle East as the claw like fingers off the main range create long fjords and inlets with Islands dotted among them. One of these Islands is known as Telegraph Island sitting tucked away in a beautiful fjord known then as Elphinstone Inlet – today known as khawr khasaibi. The Island was used by the Indo-European Telegraph Company between 1863 -1868 when a cable was laid between Britain and India. All that is left now are the ruins of the buildings. This is the place where the saying ‘going round the bend’ is thought to have come from. Not surprised as in those days during the summer months in heat of 45 degrees plus, and with no air conditioning, and in such a remote location, anyone would go la la!! Anyway the waters were so clean clear and warm. We took the kayak ashore to explore and take photos.


Next we decided to call into the coastal town of Khasab which we visited in our 25ft Nolex yacht some 25 years ago, and yes like all places here it sure has changed somewhat. We were now in Oman and with no visa or permit, we anchor out in the harbour to be invited into the Iranian Smugglers pontoon, which we did of course! The boys were all very friendly and intrigued with us, just as we were with them. There we were among 46 inch plasma TV’s, the latest stereos, and bundles of stuff all waiting to make the short trip to Iran. Alec and Brigitte took two jerry cans each and headed off to the petrol station which was no more than a couple of hundred metres away. They found themselves inside an enclosed area and were stopped by a local policeman/customs officer who asked what they were up to. On explaining their mission was to just fill their jerry cans with diesel, he offered to drive them there and back. Brigitte was also able to pick up a yummy ‘local’ lunch for us as well. So much for the ‘official’ paper work. We then headed out to find another nice bay for the night. The Oman Navy called us up on the radio and asked the usual questions of where we had come from and where we were going. Then they asked for our permit number –well we did not have one so I gave them our registration number which sounds ‘official’. He thanked me and wished us a good day and we were on our way again.

We dropped the anchor again in an interesting area – Khawr Kumzar. Kumzar is the most remote and isolated village in Oman. There is no land access in or out, only by boat. The Kumzari people speak their own dialect which is a mixture of Arabic and Farsi – the Iranian language - with a few other languages thrown in. The town keeps growing so houses are densely packed into the narrow valley and creeping up the sides of the mountains.

It was on to another lovely bay the next night, and then on into Fujairah to check out of the United Arab Emirates. Brigitte had to return to Dubai to work. Hospitality in Fujairah has surpassed any other marina in this area. They are very welcoming to yachts and will do anything they can for you. To other yachties who wonder about coming to this part of the world. We highly recommend it. It is a very safe place to leave your boat as we did over the summer, and also very a reasonable price . Haitham Kamal – the club’s Executive Secretary will take good care of you and he made checking in and out a breeze. Major Ahmed Ibrahim Boloushi – the Managing Director also took a personal interest in our needs and could not do enough for us. There is a very clean shower and toilet block and a wonderful club where meals are five star and very reasonably priced. Also shopping for supplies is very good. We spent eight days there and on our last night the Major invited us to dinner at the club. It was lovely as Brigitte was able to return from Dubai to spend the last day with us.

Then three days ago we left Fujairah and started back to Oman. We decided to check into Oman at a northern Port called Sohar. Well I think this was the first pleasure craft, let alone a yacht, that they had ever seen. No one but big commercial shipping goes into this port, but as Alec had read, it is a customs Port and he was wanting to avoid the rather long check in we had had in Muscat on our first visit! As we were heading for the harbour a Police Boat comes out. We try to explain what we are up to, and next minute one of the boys has jumped on board – Well Hello there!! We are then told to follow the police boat in. Nothing aggressive, but all very polite and friendly. We find ourselves in the ‘Police Pound’ as Alec called it. Alec goes off with the boys, once we are tied up to their pontoon, with passports and paper work in hand. He returns an hour later with a number of locals from all the official departments one can think of. We have really confused them. I am asked a number of questions and off they go again this time leaving Alec behind. Sometime later they return with our passports all stamped into the country for three months – not the usual one month. Also no money changes hands. Alec next asks if we can now stay the night as it is too dark to negotiate our way through all the fishing nets outside the Harbour!! It is nearly 11.00p.m. Another phone call is made by the boys and Alec speaks to someone who says yes, and apologies for the delay, and welcomes us into Oman and wished us a safe passage to Salalah – in the south of the country where we will eventually check out. So under police guard we get a good night’s sleep before continuing on towards Muscat the next morning. Now this is really for all of you who have been in the area. Next night we anchored among the Islands of A’Swadi – just lovely. Next morning we sailed through the Daymaniyat Island group which is just the same. Still pristine clean clear waters, and then on to Muscat where we are now anchored off the Intercontinental Hotel at Shatti Beach. And it is just beautiful and very good holding in the sand. We can see the bottom. It is so nice that not all the waters in this area have become polluted.

So enough for now. But before we sign out we will send our CHRISTMAS GREETINGS to you all as I am not too sure when and where our next letter will come from. We hope you have a Wonderful Christmas and a Very Happy New Year. A very big thank you to all of you who have written. We do enjoy your emails.

Much love from
The Admiral, The Captain and our First Mate Murray


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