Friday, 25 May 2012

An unexpected event

Katrina and I had settled down for a lazy weekend with a plan to go and see a museum, our first since arrival. But it was not to be.  As we finished the dishes I got a phone call from the boss saying "have you got anything planned for today?

The long and the short of it was that the Police Clubs cabin cruiser and crew had been booked for the day, did I want to go along for the ride?  Hmm lets see around 40 degrees onshore with a reasonable amount of humidity, no brainer really. We'd be at sea for about two hours he said.  (Turned out to be six).

It turns out that the Police Club maintains the boat and on weekends it is available for use by any of the Directorates. It comes stocked with crew, food and drinks.

So we jump in the car and drive the 50 or so K's to the Mina Sultan Qaboos (Sultan Qaboos Port) in old town Muscat. When we got there the guys said, well did Katrina want to come too, a one second consideration later - yes!  There were around 15 adults plus four young lads coming along for a bit of an adventure with dad.

Dress casual I was told, so I went along thinking they'd be in the dishdasha traditional hat.  Not a bit of it shorts and t shirts all the way. And a very merry crew they were at that.  So we set sail for our three hour cruise - Hmm that didn't end well for the Minnow!.

We skirted the coast passing the hill forts that guard the entrance to the original Muscat Harbour. They were built by the Portuguese when they invaded and tried to take Oman over.  Ultimately they failed, but as a result there are now coastal fortifications in differing states of repair. The three along old Muscat are all still in use, and although one is a museum it is not open to the public.  Used to entertain dignitaries and the like.

Further down the coast we passed the Al Bustan Palace hotel - a truly stunning hotel - and the Shangri La resort, which is well named.

We entered an inlet that was dotted with small islands and pulled into a small cove. Anchors aweigh and into the water. Almost everybody got wet. But unfortunately I hadn't brought my bathers! It duly got too much and so trouser clad David joined in the fun. Despite the heat in the desert and their history as a seafaring nation I was surprised by how many of these guys were not particularly confident in the water.
While we were all splashing about Katrina spotted a turtle passing by....  The crew told me this area has turtles everyday and that we were unlucky to only see one.
 Katrina was feted by the crew and the guys. The crew took to calling her Madam and made sure she had whatever she wanted. Katrina also got first go at the food, when lunch came out after we'd finished fooling about in the water.   And then all too soon it was time to up anchor and head back. The trip back was a bit rough as we went much further out to sea and there was a decent swell running.  Cheers and laughs all round as people lost their footing or in one case gave himself a hot tea shower!
 We made a slight detour on the way back, pulling into the old central harbour. I had said it would be nice to get some seaside photo's of the forts and Palace, so they turned the boat into the harbour and I shot up to the fly bridge with my camera.  Katrina told me today that the whole time we were in the Harbour the boat crew were in radio contact, presumably allaying the fears of the guys with the big guns in the forts. You can see one of the forts on the right here and that white building with the blue and gold highlights is the Sultan's ceremonial palace.  Lots of the guys wanted their photo's taken with the Palace and forts in the background, as I guess this was literally a once in a lifetime opportunity. And then it was back to sea and shortly thereafter into the Port - And yes the two boats in the bottom photo are operating coastal trading ships.   All in all a great day out, which we than finished off with dinner at a Mexican restaurant, but that's another story!


  1. Hooray for adventures at sea. Next time you know to throw a backpack with shorts, T-shirt and swimmers together!