Musandam Adventures

Dhow cruise, porpoises, and a four-wheel drive trip to the top of the highest point in the Musandam Peninsula filled our two days in the northernmost tip of Oman.

Our trip among the fjords, which lie just miles from the nation of Iran, was characterized by soul-cleansing breezes, embracing sunshine, a million lights twinkling up from the crystalline waters, and rolling waves, sometimes lively and sometimes not. Texture – the day was rich in texture: the worn and layered fjords, the colorful wooden dhows set against ever-changing backdrops, the multiple nationalities, languages and rich cultures, the sights, the sounds the tastes. The day on the water was very sensual.

Our sky-blue and white fiber glass dhow wasn’t as beautiful as the authentic wooden ones, but it was livelier in the water, bobbing down low and flying high out of the sea with each big wave.  It felt like white-water river rafting.  The wooden dhows plowed through the waves and continued smoothly on their sedate way.  I preferred the wild adventure.  Pillows lined the edges of the boat and oriental rugs covered the floors.  Everyone found a comfortable spot and reclined against the firm pillows as the engine hummed and the boat vibrated gently along.

A team of swarthy Indians manned the boat, one a supervisor, the other a man of all trades who made and served sweet Omani tea and lunch in addition to tending to the safety and needs of the passengers, and also managed the anchor as we came to coves for swimming and snorkeling. Passengers included families from Belgium, France, Uganda, Italy and America.  Children frolicked while adults relaxed and conversed, each meeting the others as the day wore on.

Only two wore bikinis – one was a sweet, tawny French teenager who was there with her parents, siblings and boyfriend.  The other was a chubby, middle-aged Italian man in his speedo – why do men never have to worry about their tummies sagging?

We saw a jelly fish, schools of little yellow fishes, and all sorts of porpoises.  When I am somewhere where the Internet works consistently, I will try to post pictures.

After a full day on the water, we returned home dead tired and dropped into bed without even eating supper.

Today we were driven to the top of the highest peak on the Musandam, on a delightfully twisting and bumpy road with gorgeous views.  The mountains here seem to be cobbled together with rocks and mortar.  I felt as though Gaudi had been there before me resurfacing the hillsides.  I wanted to search the little niches looking for hidden saints – color and texture reminded me of Sagrada Familia.  We met and photographed my first Oman man.  He carefully told us he has six children, four boys and two girls and two grandchildren and one wife.  We have pictures to share when we are able.  Meeting Omanis, or even Arabic speakers has been a real challenge.

Tomorrow, we will fly to Muscat and move into Al Bustan Palace Hotel, our home for the next week.


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M.A., Middle Eastern and North African Studies. Wanderer. Author, "When Freedom Called: at the front and home front in the Gulf War", 2011.

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