Swimming with turtles18/11/2019
Michelle, our Reservations Consultant has always dreamt of swimming with turtles. Having recently visited Oman she shares her memorable up close encounter with these magnificent creatures...
Having never been to Oman and not knowing what to expect, my initial perception was desserts and rugged mountains but that was about it. How my image was wrong. Yes, it has deserts and spectacular mountain ranges but it also offers so much more. From bartering in the Mutrah Souk of Muscat to hiking up to the Jebel Shams summit, stargazing in Wahiba sands or just relaxing on one of the many beaches (yes I said beaches), Oman is unbelievably diverse.
The Omani people are beautiful, genuine people who are truly proud of their culture and lifestyle. They welcome tourists with open arms and an open mind, so much so that it wouldn't surprise me if you are invited to a local's home for dinner, they are just that warm and welcoming, unlike some Middle Eastern countries.
I could talk about the deserts, the mountain range, the wadi's or Oman in general, but for me the standout experience from my recent trip to Oman was snorkelling around the Dimaniyat Islands.
The Dimaniyat Islands are situated on a nature conservation reserve and consists of 9 small islands in total. They are home to many species of birds, turtles, dolphins and even humpback whales and whale sharks. The islands are around 45 minutes by boat from Al Mouj Marina (in Muscat) and the journey to the island was so much fun. With the wind blowing in your hair and the occasional sea spray in your face, you look out to sea in anticipation waiting to see the islands. Once you get closer you see how the water changes from deep blue to this mesmerising crystal clear turquoise.
Due to the time of year we visited (July), it was very quiet (and hot), in fact, I'm sure we were the only boat which suited us nicely as it meant we were more likely to see the sea turtles along with all the tropical fish. As we got our very fashionable snorkelling gear on, the captain gave us some pointers on where the turtles were likely to be, what fish we would see and most importantly - not to go on the beach! This is because, at this time of year, the turtles lay their eggs on the beach so it was very important not to disturb them. I must admit this was incredibly hard as the beach looked so inviting with its white sands.
With the mention of turtles, I was raring to get myself in the water to find one or more for myself. Because the sea was so clear it made the snorkelling incredible, I saw so many different coloured fish and vibrant coral. It was a bit of a shock as in most places around the world the coral is dying and losing its colour, but this was not one of them and to think it was in Oman!
Feeling a little disappointed I hadn't seen a turtle yet we boarded the boat to move to another island which was just as beautiful. I was back in the water searching everywhere. Finally, I spotted this majestic creature, I could barely contain my excitement as I swam towards it and spent at least 20 minutes following it before it swam away. We visited several more islands and saw about 6 turtles in total - amazing.
The whole experience was a bucket list moment for me and I genuinely would never have thought this would have been possible in Oman. As I mentioned, Oman is wonderfully diverse and offers something for everyone. For this reason, the highlight of my trip was how as a destination, it kept surprising me.
Keen to tick off more things on your bucket list and swim with turtles just like Michelle? Give our team a call for more information or search 'Oman holidays' on our blog.