Musandam fjords | Travel Blog


Published: February 6th 2024

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We took a leisurely trip on a dhow today, visiting the fjords on the Musandam coast. It felt a bit choppy as we set off but calmed down once in the shelter of the fjord, and even Sara did not feel sea sick. The mountains drop straight to the water’s edge, with very few areas that have any beach or flat space. The fjords were formed when the water level dropped, so on some of the cliffs you can still see the effects of water erosion from when there was sea at a much higher level.

As we left Khasab port, a number of yellow speedboats, each with two or three people on board all heavily swathed, shot past towards the port. This is the small scale trade carried out by Iranians who cross in the early morning from Bandar Abbas (about 65 km away) to Khasab, which is tolerated by the Omani authorities. They are limited to a heavily fenced and monitored area of the port, where they trade their cargoes of sheep, carpets and whatever else they can carry in their speedboats. Anyone trying to bring in drugs does not have a good time at the hands of

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the Omani police. It is not clear what they take back, but it must be stuff that people cannot get in Iran!

Early on, we saw a couple of dolphins playing in the water, until they were scared off by some stupid people in a speedboat circling them at high speed.

In the course of the day, we went past four small villages, each with between 20 and 200 homes, built on rare sections of flat ground. They were built by fishermen, presumably to save them having to return to Khasab each day. Government funding has supplied electricity, and allowed the inhabitants to build new, larger homes than before. They have no road access, so everything – including water – has to be brought in by boat. There was a large ship moored nearby which held huge water tanks from which water is transhipped to the villages.

We also went past Telegraph Island which has a fort like construction which was built by the British in the 1850s when they were laying the first undersea telegraph cables from Basra in Iraq to India and on westwards and eastwards. Once this section of the cable had been laid

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the post was abandoned as its site was wholly impracticable to keep it manned.

The views were stunning, with the mountains that fell steeply into the fjord changing colour and stratification constantly. We stopped a couple of times to allow people to swim, but the stern warning to be careful of the razor coral and poisonous sea urchins acted as a deterrent, and we opted to lie back and read our books instead.

Lunch was served on the boat- some very tasty, freshly barbecued white snapper, with barbecued chicken and salad.

The journey back was rougher than on the way out, as the wind had once more got up, and the crew had to go round picking up loose cushions to avoid them blowing away. Getting off the boat, as getting on, involved stepping across four other boats to reach the jetty. That was mostly simple, but one transition involved climbing over a railing (without putting your foot on it) then jumping onto the next boat!

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