Musandam

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Musandam

The Musandam

 

 

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Oman is divided into three separate areas. The main part of Oman, situated along the north east coast of the Arabian Peninsular and south along the Indian Ocean coast to Yemen. There is a small enclave of Oman close to the UAE east coast and Fujeirah, then the Musandam area which takes in the whole of the northern tip of the UAE peninsular. 

The Musandam is known as the Norway of the Middle East as it is entirely mountainous with deep fjords and very few roads. 

A three hour drive north from Dubai, through the Emirates of Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah, then through the UAE/Omani border post north of Ras Al Khaimah leads to a winding coastal road with steep, barren mountains on one side and the Ocean on the other. 

The usual trip called for lunch at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Khasab, the main town in Musandam, followed by a four hour trip in a dhow through the fjords. Dolphins were always present in the cooler months and occasionally we were able to spot small reef sharks and eagle rays in the shallower waters.

We stopped to swim at Telegraph Island, previously a very remote outpost of the British Army protecting the cable link between Great Britain and the eastern Empire. During our first visits, the Omani military were manning this "rock." In later visits we found that the Omani troops had also left and dhows were now allowed to visit.

On one visit, as we returned on the dhow to Khasab port a large crowd had gathered on the jetty. Amidst them all was a small fishing boat with an enormous hammerhead shark, almost as large as the fishing boat. Quite a catch. To this day we do not know how they landed it on the boat.

There are some remote villages in the fjords only reachable by boat. During the summer these are deserted due to the heat and the fact that fish have migrated to cooler, deeper waters. In winter, fishing families return to the villages from Khasab. Children then commute to school in Khasab by boat.

Erecting the poles supporting the electricity cables over the mountains to the villages must have been an incredible challenge.

   
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