Category Archives: Turtles

Mousetrap Divesite, Damaniyat Islands, Oman

ImageThe divesite called “Mousetrap” was our 2nd dive out of the Millennium Hotel’s Marina in Musanah. (My 26th dive in total)  The first was Sira Island.ImageThis is the Musanah Oman Sail Divemaster, Thani Mohammed Al Hamdani. Quote of the day by Thani during the diving orientation: “Maximum deep last in the corner – 20 meter. If you want more deep, take one shovel and go down.” :-)ImageOther divers waiting for the rest of us to get in the water.  Mousetrap was right next to Sira Island.  This was the first time diving in the Damaniyats where the 1 hour break between dives was not spent at “Police Island” near the gorgeous whitesand beach of Kharabah Island.ImageThe visibility was quite poor on this dive so most pics came out looking “greenish”.  It was still a great dive though!  I saw several schools of yellow fish, as well as clown fish, parrot fish, cuttlefish and a turtle.  Check out the video below.  I almost missed the turtle as it was swimming over my head!ImageI can’t quite remember what they call these fish.  Any divers out there want to help me out so I can properly label this fish?ImageImageThere was so much debris during parts of the dive that it was almost as if it was snowing under the water.  Check out the video below to see what I mean.  Some European divers on the boat said that it’s always like that when diving in Oman but that is simply not the case.  Visibility has rarely been an issue when diving for me.ImageI think we caught 2 cuttlefish making out on this dive.ImageJust look at that beach in the distance!  There are so many wonderful places to snorkel, sunbathe and dive at the Damaniyats!ImageIf you look close enough, you’ll notice that some cannisters are just slightly larger than the others.  The smaller ones are 13 litres and the larger ones hold 15 litres.  For this dive, I used the larger cannister and it made a huge difference for how long I was able to leave the water.  When I got out after a 55 minute dive, I still had 70 bar of oxygen left!  BTW, the tank with the green sticker is for Nitrox.  If you take one of PADI’s most popular specialty courses, “Enriched Air Diver Course“, it “gives you more no decompression dive time. This means more time underwater, especially on repetitive scuba dives.”ImageHeading back to the Marina at Millennium Hotel in Musanah with the Damaniyats off in the distance

Here is a 10 minute video taken from many short clips of our dive at Mousetrap.  Notice the poor visibility in some spots and be sure to check out the huge turtle swimming over my head (starting at 7:05)!ImageBe were fortunate to be diving during the Laser World Championships 2013 – which is taking place out of the Marina at the Millennium!  The boatride back was made much more interesting with dozens of sailboats out on the water!ImageImageImageImageSea Oman activities       I got this list of watersport activities from the Marina and thought readers might be interested in knowing current prices for such activities at the Musanah Marina.  30 minutes of Stand Up Paddle Boarding for only 3 rials?! Or Kayaking for the same price!?  To learn more about Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Oman,  check out this awesome blogpost by Heather Duncan from the “Duncan Adventures Blog”!diving at millennium

Any of you ever dive out of Musanah with Oman Sail? If so, how was your experience?  We really enjoyed it and love that the diving options of Oman are slowly growing! To book with Oman Sail in Musanah, just visit the Oman Sail office to the right of the Marina.  Tel: +968-2671771 Email: info@seaoman.com      Website: www.seaoman.com

My 2nd Trip to “3 Sisters” Divesite at the Damaniyat Islands

ready to descend  Some of us decided to us our 3-day weekend last week to do some diving.  We left Global Scuba (located at Civil Aviation Club between the Wave and the Chedi) at 8:30am last Saturday and we were geared up and in the water for our 1st dive at “3 Sisters” at 9:44am.  This was my 21st dive in total and my 2nd time at this divesite; the first time was last September - just a month after getting my PADI Open Waters certification.Canon D20         This was my first dive with my new Canon D20 UW camera.Technically, it’s only supposed to go down to 10 meters but I had it down to 16.6 meters on this dive.  I picked it up at the main Canon shop in Areimi Complex for 160 OR (or about $416 US).  My friend used the previous model (Canon D10) and had it down to almost 30 meters so I knew I’d be good to go.closeup of interesting fishso many fishscenic underworldclose shot white and yellow fish  The color comes out much better with the Canon D20 than the Intova IC 14 with UW housing.  In addition, the D20 was much easier to use as they have a clear “underwater” function and even an option for “underwater macro” while the Intova required setting the white balance which I didn’t have a clue how to do.angel fishfascinating fishmoral eel eyeballing me  Several moral eels on this dive!a haze of fishsliding along ocean floorcolorful blue and yellow fish  The Canon D20 has its own built in flash so you don’t need any attached flash set-ups.  The trick is to get close enough to the subject.  The skill of knowing the optimal distance and choosing the right timing to shoot is something that I’m going to have to improve on!silouette of fishcoral and fishhard to see this guy  Here’s a 7 minute video from the 1st half of our dive taken from 13 short clips and combined with youtube editor: backside of bigger fish  Not all the fish are cute tiny colorful tropical fish.  This monster sailed right past me and didn’t seem worried about my presence in the slightest.diving buddy  One of my diving buddies, Denise, looking for her next photo op.too many fish to countcolorful cliffFinding Nemo like fish  Looks like a scene right out of “Finding Nemo”!interesting plantlifecolorful worldwhat an interesting looking fishhiding fishflower like coral  Some of the coral is so colorful that they seem like small bouquets of flowers to me.plenty of fishanother look at all those fisha turtle  This turtle swam right past us!  You can find this cute fella in the 2nd video located at the end of this post.what a view  We’ll end this post with clips from the 2nd half of our dive.  14 different clips (between 3 to 71 seconds) were put together for this more colorful video: Diving in Oman – what a life!

The Passionate Tourguides of Ras Al Jinz Turtle Nature Reserve

abdullah our tourguide  Abdullah Aziz was one of our informative tourguides at the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve near Sur.  He graduated from Sultan Qaboos University (as had many of the guides there) about a year and a half ago and loves telling people all about the nature reserve and the turtles found there.  Here‘s a short clip of our tourguide explaining the reserve.directing tourguides  The people here are taking conservation more seriously.  Anyone who visited the reserve earlier than 7 months ago might have been sad to see the lack of effort (see here for an example of how it used to be: Pity the Poor Turtles of Oman).  They no longer allow photography of the turtles (except after sunrise) and people can no longer camp right on the beach (which I can’t believe they allowed before!!!).turtle nest making  If you do go, make sure to make a reservation.  They have night tours and morning (4am!!) tours.  If you are a photography maniac, such as myself, I would recommend taking the morning tour.  Photography is not allowed in the late-night tour.  Of course if you are willing and able, I highly recommend doing both as I did.ras al jinz tourguides  Here are some of the friendly Ras Al Jinz tourguides at the center.  Check out their website at www.rasaljinz.org  If you like maps, it’s located here. (and then click the “-” symbol about 8 times to see more of the area.)gift shop  My honey at the nice giftshop they have at the centre.

If you live in Oman and have never been to Ras Al Jinz to see the turtles, you really should get out there and see them.  You won’t be disappointed!

The Beauty of the Green Turtle

crawling to sea  An exhausted female green turtle dragging her approximately 100 kilo body back to the sea just after sunrise after laying about 100 eggsturtle tracks  About 20,000 green turtles come to Oman beaches each year to lay up to 60,000 egg clutches. (at around 100 eggs per “clutch”)turtles and touriststurtles at ras al jinzexhausted female turtle headed for sea  Here is an almost 6 minute video of one of the turtles I was blessed with the opportunity of observing while visiting the Oman Turtle Reserve at Ras Al Jinz:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Btbkq40QdlI

Green Turtle Hatchlings in Oman & Their Struggle to Survive

life has sprung  One of the hatchlings we saw headed for the sea.  They say that out of 1000 eggs hatched, 1 might survive to adulthood.fox prints  One of our tour-guides pointed out these fox prints.  Foxes lay in wait to eat eggs (if they can find them) or hatchlings as they try to make it to sea.  Crabs also wait along the water’s edge to feast on the baby turtles.turtle egg shell  Shells of one of the eggs.  Did this one make it or are these the remains of a fox’s breakfast?!dead male turtle  The only male turtle on the beach was this dead one that washed up on shore.beach cliff  This beach cliff separates the 2 beaches at Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve which are set apart for tourists to observe the laying/covering/hatching of turtle eggs.green turtle hatchling  One of the green turtle hatchlings which a couple of kids in our tour-group found and were permitted to carry to the sea.