Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Midnight turtles

Posted by Hippobean at 5:45 PM
Into the mountains we drove in our 2 four wheel drives. The landscape was barren but the rugged mountains had rock and boulders in a gorgeous orange color. Then we took the coastal road to the south towards Sur, the dhow building town. We picnic'd at a beach near the village of Qurayat. Serene place. Nice Omani sea breeze to chase away the desert heat.

The first wadi we stopped at was Qurayat. It had a lovely green pool and a small waterfall and it's in the middle of nowhere, just barren orange mountains, rock and sand. A true oasis. I walked in the pool only ankle deep.the water was clear and cool. We shot past the beautiful Sur bay in late afternoon twilight and the bay looked simply inviting. The hotel at Ras Al Radd was simple but it's beachfront. My room faced the beach and at night you could see nothing outside the window except darkness. The rooms facing the opposite side could see flickering lights from the village. After dinner, we headed to the sanctuary at Ras Al Jinz to see the turtles. It involved a long walk on the sand, in the dark. Unable to see where I was going, I often stumbled all over the place and walked into people in front of me. I had no idea we were so close to the edge of the sea, as I couldnt see it but could only hear the waves. We saw 3 green turtles, 1 pushing sand to cover the eggs it had just laid, another with a damaged fins pushing itself (poor thing) towards the wrong direction, away from the beach, and a final one slowly making its way towards the sea. 10 pushes and it rested. 11 pushes more and it needed rest again. Poor creature! It finally made it to the sea after about half an hour with all that work but we couldnt applaud because we're not supposed to make any noise so we wont disturb or frighten the poor animals. But it was the grand finale to end the day. I'm not much for turtles but these were enormous, about 3 feet long. And quite amazing to watch. We returned to the hotel very late but I've enjoyed midnight in the darkness and the silence of the place at this time. I coudlnt even hear any waves from the beach behind the hotel. there were no waves on the beach.

The next morning we drove back to Sur to enjoy the bay. White houses lined along it, 1 dhow docked in the middle, a lighthouse and 2 round watchtowers and a steel bridge. Something there tugged my heart. Perhaps it reminded me of the tiny Portuguese fishing villages. I've climbed up the tower and shot photos of the tranquil bay. I really liked this place.I quite left my heart there. Afterwards, we visited a dhow shipyard. The brown mahogany dates wood was simply a gorgeous thing to admire. Here you get to see the curved bottom of a dhow. It cost $2M USD to build one I was told.

Our next wadi was the famous wadi bani khalid. Its green pool was a good size with palm trees were all around it. The pool had lots of tiny fish and after lunch at the restaurant there, I sat on the edge of the pool and dipped my feet into the cool water. The water wasnt as clear and clean as the other wadi we visited earlier and I didnt like the fish nibbling at my feet. Some of us swam in it. I was disappointed that this place was so commercialized. I had imagined it to be more rustic like the oasis they showed on TV. I know, I'm too much of a romantic, but I did not like this place as it didnt give me the feeling of a real oasis.

See Sur and Wadis photos



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