I was up early because I’m still used to getting up early for work. It gave me lots of time to get what I needed for diving, like my new GoPro camera. Then it was off for my complementary breakfast.
When I travel I look at hotels and hostels in my budget range and then compare amenities and services. Usually a place that offers free breakfast wins. This is because they usually have fruit and sandwich (PB&J) fixings so you can turn breakfast into lunch or snack also.
Breakfast was buffet style. The cook made an Indian and a Western item for breakfast, there was traditional Middle Eastern foods. I had a nice full breakfast every morning and got a chance to enjoy a cup of tea before starting my day exploring.
I went back to my room and picked up my stuff and went down to the lobby just before 9am. A nice white van pulled up and another person who had been waiting in the lobby got up also. Our driver (Toulga) was our Dive Master. He was originally from Germany. The other passenger, Tadashi, was a Japanese man living and working in Mumbai there for vacation.
When we got to the dive centre I got my set all suited up and got my gear on the boat. Then we were off on our adventure. The water was rough so we went to a protected bay with a coral wall to do our diving. On the boat we had about a dozen people there for a dive and a few spouses there to snorkel.
The water had low visibility due to the rough waves stirring up the sand but there were still many things to see. Lots of soft and hard corals, fish, and eels. The second dive site was not where we had originally planned to dive but was another sheltered area away from open water where the water was getting even rougher.
Between dives we were able to relax on deck and have a snack. The day was a bit overcast so no sun tanning but still warm enough to enjoy being out on the water. Something I enjoy about going on dive trips is the chance to meet new people. We already know we have something in common to start a conversation about. I was able to talk to the two couples from Germany and to the diver who was staying at my hotel. Then it was back in the water for our second dive.
After diving we went back to our shop and dealt with our gear. Then we filled in log books and Karen, who runs the dive shop, drove us back to the hotel. Along the way she told us some places we could check out in Oman, including a hotel by the harbour and Matrah Souk that had a licensed rooftop restaurant. Tadashi and I agreed to meet later to go to the Souk for dinner and drinks.
We met later in the lobby and caught a cab (expensive at 8 Rial or 35$) for a maybe 10 minute ride down the road to the old souk. We wandered around the souk for awhile to see what they had for sale. It was everything, if you looked in the right places. It was a maze of small alleys with different things for sale, from souvenirs to soup pots.
It took us a while to find the hotel because the street was long and filled with many shops. We asked a few shop keepers and even a taxi driver but he offered to take us to a different hotel with a restaurant. We found the hotel in the end and went up to the top floor. They had a small restaurant with balcony space overlooking the cruise ships in the harbour.
It was nice to be able to have a glass of wine and a few screwdrivers with dinner. We had a good time and then wandered back through the souk to get a taxi back to the hotel. We stopped a taxi and thing guy told us 5 Rial (23$) so we took it. Then some other guy leans through the window and talks to the driver in Arabic. Then he gets in and we take off to his destination first because he’s on the way, if we take the scenic route back to the hotel. I wasn’t too surprised, I had read taxi sharing was common in Oman. Tadashi was very surprised and a little upset but not much to be done. The guy was dropped off and we were taken to the hotel after.
The next morning call time for the dive was 8am instead of 9. Tadashi had finished his dive package and was returning to Mumbai. I saw him in the lobby after breakfast and said goodbye. Toulga arrived at exactly 8am. It was into the van and off.
I gathered my gear back and took it and myself down to the boat. There was a new group of people, including a few teachers from China who were there on vacation. They told me about the school they work at so I can look at that if I can’t get a job in Canada next year. There were some dive students there so we had an extra DM who was teaching them.
It was really rough out. We went to a different sheltered area to do some wall diving. I dove with some of the teachers from China. It was low visibility because of the rough seas but we saw eels and turtles, a ray and some lion fish.
On the way back to the marina the water was really rough. Lots of bumps and jumps. It stirred up my stomach until I really had to use the on board toilet. So I unlocked the door from the outside to find that the door had no lock o the inside but had a little handle to hold. Unfortunately the little handle was quiet the stretch from the actual toilet, all it took was one good bump and my hand lets go and the door swings open. I get it closed to try again and the door swings open again. Finally Toulga nicely held the door shut so I could go in piece. After that others new to go in pairs so they didn’t flash the entire boat like I did.
At the marina we debriefed and I was given a ride back to the hotel. After my shower I crashed. Napped for almost two hours before I woke up and went to explore around Ruwi and find dinner. In the end most of the small shops were full of men eating so I went to Pizza Hut. After dinner it was dark so I made my way back to the hotel.
I had a message from the dive shop that the weather was supposed to be nicer the next day and if so we were going to go to the Daymaniyat area to go diving. There we could see dolphins and other large marine animals. I hoped for good weather because that sounding like a great experience.
Day – 3
The next morning was up and over to the restaurant for breakfast. Then, it was back to the room to get my stuff and wait for Toulga. We got loaded up onto the boat and prepped to go to the Daymaniyat area. On the boat we had a big family of American Expats. The dad was giving his kids a chance to practice their diving. It seemed like a bit of a reteach. Even the grandparents were there to snorkel. There was also a German couple.
We took the boat and headed for Daymaniyat. The water was only a little calmer than it had been the previous two days. When we reached the edge of the peninsula and into open water the ride became uncomfortably rough. The call was quickly made to turn the boat around and choose a different area.
The German couple had come specifically for the dive at Daymaniyat and did not want to go to an alternate sight so as we went past the marina we pulled in and let them out. It was luck we did because there was a group from the UK that were going to go diving on a different boat but that boat had broken down. They were able to jump on with us.
We returned to a sheltered bay and did some wall diving. The visibility was a little better but not much. We had a good two dives. We even saw a turtle who was very chill about all the people taking his picture and video taping him.
After it was time to clean up and return my gear, pay my bill, give my thanks, and say my goodbyes. I’d finished my 3 days of diving. I never did get to dive at Daymaniyat but I figure it’s a reason to go back one day. Toulga gave me my final ride back to the hotel and I cleaned up and went to the super market for some water and dinner. I ate in the hotel room and relaxed and bought my ticket for the Big Bus Tour that goes around Muscat.
I chose Big Bus Tours because they had quiet an extensive route and a hop-on, hop-off ticket. They also had a 48 hour ticket for 3$ more than the 24 hour ticket. At 22 Rial this was the price of 3-4 taxi’s and I new I could get my money’s worth. I went down to the business centre to print my ticket to find nothing but on old keyboard. I asked at the front desk and they let me print my voucher on the office computer. Then I had a few drinks in my room and went to bed.