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ADDITIONS TO THE BLOG as of April 2017: Shamal and her Crew being Mum and Dad are in the Cayman Islands * Should you want to contact us, you can do so by clicking on the Contact Us tab below. * PLEASE subscribe to the Blog, so that new posts are emailed to your inbox.



13 February 2011

Muscat to Salalah

Hello To You All


Well we are on the move once more, this time making our way down the coast of Oman towards Salalah where we will join our convoy around mid-February. Our three and a half weeks in Muscat over the Christmas New Year period seem to pass very quickly. Christmas was lovely and the evening was spent with our English friends Annabelle and Blair Tame who had also invited five other guests which made for a fun evening. The dinner was magnificent, and Annabelle had decorated her home beautifully with all the Christmas trimmings.


This has been a cool winter and just before New Year there was a light snow fall on the Al Hajar Mountain Range behind Muscat. An English family were up there camping and you can imagine their surprise when they woke in the morning. They took some great photos which were published in the local paper. So it is not just Europe that has been having the cold weather.

New Year was a little quieter. Alec Murray and I went out for a sail back up the coast towards the town of Seed where a waterways project is under construction called ‘The Wave’. We arrived back at the club just on dark and decided to have a meal there. We were joined by our friend from Port Control who had negotiated a ‘good price’ for us when we first arrived in Muscat last year. He was so pleased that we had come back, and like everyone here said we must call him if there is anything we needed.

A few nights later we watched live on TV an incredible equestrian and camel festival which the Sultan presided over. The Sultan had invited specialised groups from around the world to take part and no expense was spared. Schools with their animals came from Egypt, Jordan, US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Argentina, Russia and the list goes on. The Royal Oman Orchestra was there along with all his Military Bands. It was a real once in a lifetime event of its kind to watch. You may be able to Google it, or it may be on YouTube?

Once our friends arrived back from their holiday in Goa we felt it was time to start moving again. So we are now nine days into our trip south. We are anchored up in a large sheltered lagoon at a place called Al Khawr Jaramah at Ras Al Hadd. This is the most eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. We are hold up waiting for a ‘shamal’ to blow it’s self through. The fisherman have kept us supplied with the most wonderful king prawns which are also in the lagoon, so we are not really too hard done by. This lagoon was once – a long time ago – a haven for pirates!!

Twenty days later – Friday 4th February

We have now arrived safely in the port of Salalah in the south of Oman. What a magnificent journey we have had down the coast. A Thousand Golden Miles. It is such a diverse coastline, from magnificence mountains plummeting into the sea with hidden fjords and sheltered bays, incredible cliffs for miles which the winds of time have contorted into weird and wonderful shapes and colours, with shipwrecks at their base from days past, still visible. Then there were those miles of golden desert sand beaches, with high dunes in places behind, which meet the turquoise blue waters of the Arabian Sea. There were the ruins of ancient cities tombs and forts. The outer Islands were also on our list to visit and again we were not disappointed. Crystal clear clean waters where we snorkelled and swam. On the Halaniyat Islands (Kuria Muria Islands) we spent time beach combing finding broken crayfish pots. Alec and I managed to find enough bits to make one up including a length of rope and floats. We set it each night, but sadly I think they must be nearly all fished out as we had no luck, but it was fun trying. We also saw a lonesome sheep on the beach at the same Island so time was spent finding a container to fill with water for it and we also left it half a cabbage and some bread. Rather mad as we discovered it was eating a local bush which must have been giving it enough liquid as well as there was definitely no water on the Island. We visited Wadi Sharb – which translates to mean ‘gorge between cliffs’. It is a green wadi as the water flows all year. The sides of the ravine are lined with date palms and oleander bushes. The gorge comes out to the sea, and we anchored outside and took the kayak over the bar and up into the waters between the high cliffs. It was quite stunning.

We seemed to be never alone and there was always something to watch. There is incredible bird life here as millions of birds migrate through this area every year. We just happen to be here at the right time to see this. Flocks of them at times swopping just above the water in columns more than a kilometre long. The marine life was also something else. The further south we came the waters became clearer as we seemed to have a green algae with us before we rounded Ras Al Hadd. Mind you that must have been some sort of phosphorescence because at night the seas just sparkled. You could see when fished jumped and the wake of the boat turned into a sliver liquid. We saw turtles dolphins and whales. One whale a little too close for comfort. We were out at the Halaniyat Islands here in the south of the country which are very well known in the area for excellent fishing. A huge whale was swimming off to our starboard side. She then disappeared. We were then watching a smaller one slapping its tail on the water putting on a great show on the port side when Alec looked forward and yelled as we think the mother returned to her baby crossing our bow less than 12 metres in front of us. She was much longer than the width of us – more like our length!!

Another day as we were sailing from one island to the next we saw something ahead which we could not make out, but on getting closer we saw about a hundred local fishing boats all in a huge group. Alec said it looks like the Omani Fisherman’s Convention, so we sailed over to see what was going on. Sure enough they were all fishing and pulling in big fish! This was a little too much for me to just watch and thank goodness on our arrival one boat came along side and gave us a small bucket of sardines and told us to join them. We were in over a hundred metres of water but on a bank and the fish were running. We pulled in four fish each nearly a metre long. We are still not sure what they are called but the fish are a cross between a snapper and a groper. I will be heading off to the fish market to suss out the name of them in the next couple of days. They are a beautiful eating fish and Alec filleted them and I vacuum packed them and now the freezer is full. We have also been catching blue tuna and other fish.

Then there were the people – so friendly with a hospitality which became embarrassing at times. The Coast Guard on a few occasions were sailing by and always called us up to see if we needed any assistance. The fisherman hardly ever went past without coming over to say hello and a lot of the time offering us fresh fish and on one occasion two crayfish. A couple of times while we were anchored in rather remote bays they came by to welcome us saying we were safe to stay and asking if there were any groceries we wanted. I was rather interested to know where they were going to get them from! Then there was our visit to Masirah Island which we have visited in the past during our contacts in Oman. We have become good friends with the local Sheikh – the local leader – over the years and we again went to visit him. He extended his hand of hospitality by inviting us for tea, a wonderful crayfish lunch the following day, a car to drive around the Island, diesel for the boat, we were given a lovely big cuttlefish – that is like squid, and as we were leaving he told Alec that at any time on our travels we needed any assistance in any form, we only had to ask. A very generous gentleman who extended the hand of hospitality in a way not always found today. We were truly touched, but have found many of the Omani people are like this.

So as we sit here in Salalah and make ready for the next leg of our journey, it will be with some regret that we must move on. The other sad thing is that it is here in Salalah that our son Murray will be leaving us. He will fly back to Dubai in a few days where he will stay with Brigitte and Dan before returning to New Zealand.

The next leg of our adventures takes us through interesting areas and it will be a little while before we are able to post you another letter. Remember no news is good news!!

So this is the Admiral and the Captain and our First Mate signing out.

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting. Are you still thinking of going past the horn of Africa, thru the red sea to the med? Be careful, the Somali pirates have hijacked private yachts lately. Hey Admiral, keep up the good scribe work. Looking forward to your return thru Oman. Millie

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  2. Hi David & Kathy here, Great to see you in Nelson with Mike, have been looking at your BLOG and video pics.... all we can say is AMAZING! We are scrolling through everything and keep up the good work. Can appreciate the effort you've put into this and loving your adventures. Never realised how much fun you're having on Shamal. Told Sue all about this too, she'll be looking and was pleased Mike brought you around. David is soooo slack. Enjoy Nelson, NZ and your summer here guys. Hoo Roo Kathy and David

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