Home Manama to Muscat 2012 Day 9: Fjords take the breath away
Day 9: Fjords take the breath away
Written by Sarah Clarke   
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 21:42

The dhow on its way to Musandam

We have only one life on this earth and while we are here it behooves us to cherish each friendship forged and memory created.  These are the things that will sustain us in the months and years to come when we recall all that has gone before and dream of that which is to follow.  Time cannot be turned back yet we can see its passage in the faces of those we meet and the landscapes spread before us; in the rock that is etched with lines and the faces that are similarly imprinted.

As we set off this morning on a dhow trip, Musandam stretched before us in a vast geological display of eons gone by when the mountains emerged from the sea in a burst of seismic activity.  The resulting fjords are one of Oman’s natural wonders, the beauty of which cannot fail to take visitors’ breath away, as it did ours.  


Greeted by dolphins on the dhow trip 

This is my third trip on the seas around Khasab – oh that I could spend the rest of my life pottering around the islands of this region; it is a geography lesson unfolding before me!  Each visit I see new natural delights and create another set of wonderful memories, of dolphins playing around the dhow, multi-coloured fish swimming in the waters, and the expressive faces of the Kumsari people, fiercely proud of their heritage, culture, traditions and land where they have lived for centuries.  Here the temperatures in summer reach 50 degrees C, water is scarce and has to be shipped to fishing villages on remote islands and the resources of the sea and land must be respected and safely guarded by them for the generations to come. 

The team with Spanish tourists 

Once again I find myself torn between a desire to tell everyone about this wonderful place and a wish that it remains a hidden, unseen by tourists lest it be destroyed by thoughtless action.  But progress cannot be halted, nor should it if it benefits local communities and is sustainable in its approach.  There is evidence of this in Khasab where new facilities have appeared since I was last here making visitors’ stay in the town an even more enjoyable experience.  

This morning we travelled by dhow, skippered by our friend Mohamed (left), who is pictured fishing in our 101 things to see and do in Oman guide.  His is the face of Musandam that I remember with much pleasure, lined as it is with the effects of sun and wind from a life time at sea.  

This afternoon our mode of transport couldn’t have been more different for we travelled by an ultra modern, roll-on-roll off ferry to make the 5 hour journey from Khasab to Muscat.  What a wonderful way to travel!  No driving and so much more comfortable than the long road trek we would have had to make in our 4x4s.  The ferry, operated by National Ferry Company, is clean, fast (top speed 56 knots) and comfortable, run by a well-trained, efficient and friendly team. 

A light “airline style” meal, tea, coffee and soft drinks and a snack just before journey’s end are included in the ticket price.  There is TV to keep everyone entertained – although for the first hour most tourists were gazing out of the window at the islands of Kumsar.

We arrived in Muscat ahead of schedule to a warm welcome from members of the Ministry of Tourism and our sponsor Omran.  We were delighted to share with them our memories of our special day, of the traditional and modern and they way they successfully co-exist in Oman.  I very much look forward to talking with them some more tomorrow and at the launch of the guide on Saturday, to renewing old friendships and building them anew.

Taking the ferry to Muscat