Saturday, February 04, 2023

CITYLIGHTS

Oman tourism: Swim with turtles, dolphins and even sharks

Snorkeling and the Sultanate of Oman, blessed with a long coastline, goes hand in hand. From the shores of Muscat to Damaniyat Islands to Musandam peninsula to fishing town Mirbat in Salalah, one can go snorkeling and be gay abandon.

By Our Special Correspondent

info@thearabianstories.com

Friday, September 23, 2022

The Sultanate of Oman, blessed with a long coastline of nearly 1700km along the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea,  is naturally filled with snorkeling – both filled with singular and still undiscovered – spots. 


 The snorkeling spots starts from the shores of Muscat, the national capital, to best and favourite spots for snorkeling in Damaniyat Islands and to Musandam in the north and the small fishing town Mirbat in Salalah down south. 


From whale sharks to sea turtles and an incredible show of colorful reef fish, there is a wide range of marine life under the shallow sea.


The Sultanate is generally warm and has a dry climate round the year and is the most sought snorkeling destination. Peak summer is from May to September when temperatures hover around 40 degree Celsius.


For those new to snorkeling (swimming underwater using breathing equipment, dive, swim, scuba), a starter can try shore snorkeling in an around Muscat – at Muscat Hills Resort, in Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa and in Marjan Beach, a public beach situated in Ras Al Hamra.


If one wants to try spectacular reefs and sea life, wait!


Book a boat trip to the Damaniyat Islands which has the bragging rights in best snorkeling in the Gulf region.


The Damaniyat Islands is an archipelago of nine small islands and declared the first marine reserve in the Sultanate. 
Fish – surgeon, clown, butterfly, grunt, and moray eels – and coral species, are found in big ways at shallow reefs. The male daisy parrot is one of the many colorful fish species one can watch while snorkeling around the Damaniyat Islands.


The Sultanate is a well-known nesting site for green sea turtles in the region. The nutrient-rich waters are the main attraction to whale sharks and Mobula rays.


There are two spots if one really wants to dive in Damaniyat Islands but more snorkeling sites are scattered throughout the archipelago. One can spot whale sharks if one visits between September and March while November to April is the best time to visit.


Anemonefish in Eagles Bay


The Oman anemonefish, common to the coast of the Sultanate, is easy to spot in Eagles Bay. Anemone fish is about 30 species of fishes constituting the genus Amphiprion of the family Pomacentridae  and noted for their association with sea anemones.


If you have time, at least two days, and a snorkeler too, do not skip Musandam, a peninsula. It is a virgin spot that is remote but untouched and an unparalleled destination. 


One can even make liveaboard dive trips.


Down south, Salalah, the third-largest city in the Sultanate and the largest city in the Governorate of Dhofar, is a hot spot for snorkelers. One can reach there by air, road and even by dhow!


Reaching Salalah, a modest city with moderate temperature in the backdrops of mountains and vegetation, palms, this snorkeling trip will lead you to the small fishing town Mirbat where there are two diving spots. If you are lucky, you can swim in the company of turtles and dolphins. That will make your day. Bet!

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