I was in Muscat, Oman for a few days in mid-June, 2008. I tried my usual walking-around-the-city-all-day brand of sightseeing, but after enjoying a pounding headache and drenched-with-sweat heat prostration (yes, it's hot and humid here), I came to my senses and went diving. Fortunately Muscat is central to some of the country's best diving areas. I went to the Oman Dive Center, about 15 minutes South of Muscat. They didn't answer their phone or e-mails, but I showed up anyway and hoped for a boat with an empty spot. This is quite a decent kind of resort for divers. They have palm-thatched cabins (air-conditioned) on the beach, a restaurant, a shisha tent, a pool (usually off-limits because of dive classes) and of course a dive center. Fortunately, they had room on the boat so I went out for a morning trip. The boat followed the coast farther South to Bandar Khayran, a maze of narrow inlets cut into the jagged mountains. The water temperature was in the mid-30's in the shallows and visibility was around 30-50 feet. There was a decent amount of hard coral in the shallows and a variety of soft corals deeper down. The topography was a slope of rock, coral and boulders with some walls going down to about 60-80 feet deep. I've been diving in the UAE part of the Gulf of Oman before and was surprised by the amount and variety of fish. I found the fish life was similar here. There were swarms of all kinds of colourful tropical fish. I didn't get many photos of the larger ones (groupers) since they were pretty skittish, but many of the smaller ones didn't  mind. Some tiny ones even followed me around nibbling on my legs. Anemone fish and lion fish were everywhere. Large honeycomb moray eels were common. The water temperature dropped at least 5 degrees below 30 feet and it was like jumping into a hot tub when we ascended back to the shallows. There was usually a turtle in the shallows at the end of the dives. Between dives, the boat took us to a secluded beach deep in an inlet for lunch. It seemed a pretty carefree way to spend an hour-or-so, having lunch neck-deep in the water and going snorkeling while eating an apple. I ended up staying a night at the resort and going out on the boat again the next day. Most of the dives were fairly similar. There are deeper spots in the area and an artificial reef wreck, but most of the people in the boat were students or newer divers so we stuck to easier dives. I think the highlight here was the variety of fish. As usual, I wish I had a few more days to stay here, diving and hanging around in the water.
arch near dive center
view from dive center
arch near dive center
dive boat in inlet
surface interval
surface interval
surface interval
Oman dive center beach
inside cabin
dive boat
mountain climbing in flipflops above dive center
castle in muscat
with cannon in tiny fort in Muscat
dhow and giant incense burner
Muscat port
mosque and castle in Muscat
Mosque in Muscat
Oman dive center panorama
Muscat waterfront and another castle