Monday, February 23, 2015

Khasab, Oman

About two weeks ago Amy and I were able to right a wrong that had taken place in 2014. We were excited to visit the northern-most point of Oman, an exclave known as Musandam. We purchased a voucher for a Musandam day cruise hoping this would be a chance to see the area on the cheap. Well, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I'll spare recounting the experience since we've already covered it in reviews left here on, but the point is, the trip was not good.

Fortunately we were able to join the Al Ain Weekenders for a trip to the real Musandam, and it's main city Khasab. The drive to Khasab takes about 3 hours from Al Ain, and like most drives in the U.A.E. it is comprised of mostly desert. This all changes though when you reach the U.A.E.'s northernmost emirate Ras Al-Khaimah. Ras Al-Khaimah translated into English means "Top of the Tent", which is quite appropriate. Here the desert gives way to tall jagged mountains and coastal fishing villages. The roads converge into a single beach road that will take you the rest of the way from the U.A.E. to Khasab.

The road to Khasab has amazing views of the coast and Arabian Gulf. Around one turn you may find a small beach tucked away in a small cove, and around the next turn a wide swath of beach that stretches the length of the coast. Among the fishing villages you'll find old forts that have been rehabilitated to almost new.

The Musandam peninsula shares the waterway known as the Straight of Hormuz with Iran. The influence of Iran can be seen in the language the people speak and the daily trading that occurs by boating the 50km across the straight to Iranian ports.

The main attraction in Musandam is taking a Dhow out into the fjords to see the beautiful scenery, and if you're lucky, see some dolphins. Early the next morning we and the rest of the Weekenders piled onto a dhow and headed north. As we entered the mouth of the fjords we were met by our escorts for the day, a pod of dolphins. Apparently the dolphins are attracted to the sound of the engine and like to surf in the boats wake.

We cruised further into the fjords and found Telegraph Island, a former outpost created by the British to serve as a telegraph repeater station. Wikipedia has a great write up on this little island which I wish I had read before having visited!

We snorkeled around the island in spite of the exceptionally cold water for this area (normally the water in the Arabian Gulf feels like the temperature of bath water).

The rest of the cruise was fantastic and we left Musandam feeling lucky to have been able to see such a beautiful and interesting part of the world.

And, of course, as we headed back to Al Ain, Amy made some new friends who would've been more than happy to keep us company on the drive home.

Send me a message


Email *

Message *