Diving in Oman

Day 1

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.

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