I decided to go camping to Oman during the weekend of 15-16 November with my colleague and some 30 other people I never met before. My German colleague drove a 4W car and spoke fluently also French and English. I was tasked with navigation and taking photos – the first did not go very well, once we even ended up almost entering Omani prison and the latter see for yourself.
The weekend program included early wake up, twice a 6 hours drive (of which 3 hours through the Emirati desert, 2 hours through the conglomerate of cities of Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman a 1 hour on serpentine roads in Omani mountains), so called dhow cruise, dolphins and beach camping.
I had some stresses before Omani border – luckily, out of all, the info on Royal Omani police website turned out to be the correct and I did not have to change plans and turn back to UEA.
We got off in the town of Khasab, the northernmost place in Oman, only some 45 km distant from Iran which spreads on the other side of the Strait of Hormuz. There we boarded a traditional “dhow” cruise for the sightseeing of Arabian fjords, dolphin watching, snorkelling near Telegraph Island, where the British placed the first telegraph station in the region, late lunch on the boat, de-boarding of the dhow (large boat) onto a smaller boat and subsequent offloading on an empty beach.
There I experienced a swim in the sea with my backpack, completely unplanned, and also a frantic search for our tent, which I thought was green and for 2 people only, while it was “himmel blau” (sky blue) and for 4 people – at least we had more space. On the beach we had a bonfire in the evening and guitar music. The sky was bright in the light of the full moon and stars were not very visible. Yet, one did not need to use a flashlight. Surprise came from strong wind, which blew some of the tents away into the sea – ours stayed in place as the abundance of food and drinks made it heavy enough.
First wake up call came around 2am when a “slightly” drunk co-traveller was looking for his sleeping bag with very loud and hounded times repeated phrase: „Hey man where is my sleeping bag! This is not funny, I will freeze!“ Second wake up call made baaah-baaah (or for Americans maaah maaah according to wordreference) – three goats bleating near our tent.
The beach was amazingly beautiful in the morning sun and the pristine visibility allowed us to see Iranian city of Bandar Abbas and its refinery on the other side of the Strait. We then packed and cleaned the campsite and threw the rubbish into a shallow dustbin/well. (We even discussed what would happen afterwards, but I’d guess from the remainders of similar wells near the beach that they will burn it all and then smother the site – that much for the environment protection.) Dhow boarding went well (for me), yet the returning voyage back to the dock in Khasab was in a bit depressive mood as no one wanted to leave the beach in the first place. Time to plan next weekend trip.