Underwater kingdom

From the calm waters in some of Muscat’s natural lagoons to the more hairy conditions around Musandam’s fjords, Oman is the ideal destination to experience the thrills of the deep. It’s the sheer quality as well as the spectacular quantity of sea life that make it a great dive spot, for beginners and pros alike.

If you’re new to diving, Oman has some wonderful places to learn. Fahal Island in Muscat has around 10 dive sites offering great diving in most weather conditions. In this area you can find isolated reefs, a swim-through cave and artificial reef balls. Not far from Muscat is Bander Khayran, an area characterised by a small fjord system, where you can dive down to 30m deep to see a diverse range of corals and marine life. The nine Damaniyat Islands, which span around 20km from Seeb to Barka, also have an extensive coral reef and abundant sea life.

What lies beneath
The Musandam peninsula waters are rich in plankton, and though not always clear, are abundant in healthy marine life. Turtle sightings are virtually guaranteed at Dibba Island, a small rocky island surrounded by soft and boulder coral reefs. If you’re in a hurry, you can complete a circuit of the island in one dive, but only at high tide. Look out for the unusual jawfish, which build lovely drainpipe homes and line the walls with pretty shells to stop them from collapsing. Whale sharks also appear here seasonally.

Further along the coast, the Landing Craft is a sheltered dive site that is a wreck paradise. The Musandam has a well-preserved and undamaged wheelhouse, as well as a plane laid out on the deck; you can see propellers and the cockpit areas. After looking for shrimps, crabs and blennies in all the nooks and crannies, swim to the edge of the reef and you’ll find a citron goby city.

Shark spotting
Lying north of Dibba is Lima Rock, abundant with boulders, limestone caverns and reef life. Between 12m and 20m deep, the boulder field is covered with hard and soft corals, including orange and pink teddy bear coral. At 20m and deeper, numerous clumps of purple coral appear between the patches of sand. Look out for the yellow-mouthed rays that look as if they’ve just returned from the paint shop with their vivid markings. Moving deeper, whitetip sharks and leopard sharks are often seen resting on the bottom. Overall, Oman’s innumerable dive sites are well worth exploring. Get your flippers on, don your air tank and prepare yourself for a visual feast of turtles, stingrays and more.

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