Driving eastwards from Muscat we passed through villages, wadis and towns, sometimes right along the coast, at other times flying along a smooth modern highway. We walked a little in Wadi Tiwi and also in the old port of Sur, and we arrived at the Raz Al Jinz Turtle reserved as the sun was setting. Here are some of the highlights of the day.
A typical village crouching between the highway and the barren mountains.
A little more vegetation in some areas assisted by irrigation.
Stopping at the Bimmah sinkhole, there were not many cars in the park, but there was a curious and rather handsome goat.
The turquoise waters of the Bimmah Sinkhole at the base of a limestone crater, with some visitors enjoying a swim.
A guide waits in the shade of the cliff while his customers swim in the sinkhole.
Our guide Mohammed enjoying the visit to the pool.
Another angle showing the depth and dimension of the sinkhole.
In some parts of the trip towards Sur, the road ran alongside the beach, the sea a vivid blue.
A wonderful detour into the Wadi Tiwi where we walked alongside the river and then up into a small village.
A house perched high above the valley.
The otherwise barren landscape transformed into a green oasis by the river wandering through.
Our walk took us through shady groves of trees and past stone walls ….
… into a small village where we sat and rested under the shade of a huge tree
An old man stopped by to take a look at us and chat with our guide.
A wonderfully coloured doorway with the top of the mountains showing above.
And a more elaborate door on one of the houses on the village street.
A village elder making his way down the road and paying us no mind.
Back on the road again we passed several villages and towns, and isolated houses ….
… and in some places lines of identical new houses constructed by the government
for people who had lost their houses in flash floods, or were being lured out of a nomadic life.
Arriving in Sur, we looked across to the typical square white houses of the town with the lighthouse standing tall.
Approaching the lighthouse with fishing boats pulled up on the beach.
The beautiful carved wooden door of the lighthouse, securely fastened.
Looking back from the lighthouse to some of the houses and the mosque around the harbour.
The minaret of the mosque, bright and elegant against the sky.
Another view of the harbour as we walked back towards the bridge.
A doorway of one of the village houses.
A door, a gate, a window – just caught my eye.
The trading port of Sur was renowned for centuries for its expect sailors, skilled boatbuilders, and elegant wooden dhows, the handcrafted vessels which sailed the trade routes along the coast of Oman and as far away as China, India and Zanzibar.
A couple of the smaller boats at the ship yards.
Massive teak planks forming the curved hull of a dhow in progress.
Many of the boat builders are from South Asia – here two of them moulding the sides of a giant beam.
Looking along under the beautiful curve of the hull.
More workers maneuvering a beam into place ready to be further worked on.
Looking up through a gap in the boards, you could get a feeling for the size of the nails used in the building of the dhow.
The dhow takes shape held up by a mass of scaffolding.
A dhow anchored in the channel off the beach of the shipyards.
The dhow from another angle looking massive against the lowering sun.
And in the shade below the structure, a dog buried himself down in the sand to sleep.
The last view of the town of Sur before we headed further south-east along the coast to the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve.
The road from the Scientific Centre where we stayed overnight to the beach at the Turtle Reserve, the only place in the world where endangered green sea turtles lay their eggs all year round, and more than 20,000 females return each year to nest.
We were asked not to take photos when we walked down to the beach under an almost full moon with one of the ecologists to see some of the turtles so these last photos as gleaned from the Ras Al Jinz webpage. We were lucky enough to see several turtles who had already laid their eggs, heave their huge bodies out of the holes they had dug and slide themselves, inch by inch, back into the waves. Our guide said he thought there was less activity than usual because of the full moon.
A turtle emerges from the hole where she has laid her eggs.
One of the large turtles hauling herself slowly, flipper stroke by flipper stroke, back to the sea.
And so ended another wonderful day in Oman. Hope you enjoyed this journal entry and I will be back tomorrow with the story of our exciting Wahiba Desert Crossing.
Regards to all,