Being in Dubai, I have visited the Dolphinarium a couple of times taking visiting folks to see the show. While the time spent is worth the money and quite an entertainer for adults and children alike, it made me wonder how much more wonderful it’d be to actually see dolphins at sea.
And just that happened. Quite unexpectedly.
We (me + he + Mr. Friend) did a weekend camping trip to Khasab at the northern-most tip of the Sultanate of Oman. Having reached the district of Musandam pretty late into the night, we had booked a room in a little guest-house that also offered a ‘dhow-ride’ as part of the package.
Late next morning, after a delicious meal at a local pakistani chai-shop [food alert: big round sized naans hot from the oven along with a simple but delicious veggie gravy for me and kheema for the boys] we loitered for a while around the deserted area (being namaz time on a Friday) and then proceeded to the bay where the dhows were anchored.
Being one of the first to get into the dhow, I rushed in typical indo-fashion to get the best seats and prided on it briefly, before being told that the engine had a problem and we’d have to shift to another one. Needless to say, the other dhow was almost full with the upper deck occupied by a large Omani group happily squatted and lunching on their maqboos. Lets just say I got the sunniest side for the entire ride (and I have no interest in either Vitamin D or a tan, thank you very much).
All I knew was that we were going to a remote island, do a bit of snorkelling and return but after a brief conversation with the dhow ‘captain’ I was told that we’d pass the dolphin bay as well. Now Mr. Captain had been-there-done-that several times and before I knew it, he was whistling away when all of a sudden, there was a dolphin swimming alongside our dhow! What an incredible sight and much as I regret not getting a proper picture of it, I’m glad I actually watched the ‘beauty’ for the next couple of minutes before she(?) disappeared.
Clearly those dolphins were tired of tourists and played hide-and-seek with us but on nearing the bay, we did see a few bouncing up and down and even a baby dolphin who according to Mr. Captain was just 4 months old (cant vouch for that but hey, who cares). On our return, we stopped briefly for a snorkelling dip to watch schools of colourful little fish.
Overall a wonderful experience and a little piece of Oman that makes me want to explore more of the beautiful state that it appears to be. The 5 hours dhow cruise was a bit too long and slow (and terribly sunny, if I may say so) but I’d definitely want to see those friendly animals again. In a speedboat, perhaps?
Related post: Camping in Oman