Daily Archives: October 18, 2012

From Grazing to Gunfire

We interrupt your regular scheduled blog reading program to bring you this bizarre story coming out of Salalah today:

Gunfire after Grazing news report from Times of Oman

3 Staycation Options for Eid Al Adha 2012 in Oman

For those of us not willing to pay hundreds and hundreds of rials to take off to exotic vacations during shorter holidays like Eid, there are usually plenty of local deals worth looking at.  Here are 3 that our family thinks are great offers (in order from “alright” to the best):

1) Duqm Floating Hotel Veronica: “Autumn Eid”

This offer, I must warn, is listed in price PER PERSON and not per room!  If you go to their website, you’ll find that the regular rates are 180 OR for luxury room, 120 for deluxe and 70 for standard (for 1 person only).  I find these prices astronomical but they can charge these rates as they are the only really fine hotel in that isolated region.  Because these rates are per person, the Eid rates are really best for those travelling as a couple. (They are charging us an additional 10 rials plus 17% tax for our 2.5 year old son, if you can believe it!)  The reason I’ve listed this one as a great option is that Duqm is an area that few bother to travel to when in Oman.  We look forward to exploring this new area!  We also love the idea of staying on Oman’s first floating hotel!  🙂

2)  Millenium Resort: Stay 3 Pay 2 Eid Offer

Staying 3 days at the Millennium Resort in Mussanah (a little over an hour north of Muscat) is a fantastic family option and definitely something we’d do if we hadn’t been there before.  The rates start at 69 OR and include breakfast, taxes and internet in the room. That’s only 138 rials for 3 nights!  I can’t recommend this deal enough.  Click here to see how much we enjoyed our stay there this summer.

3) Golden Tulip Seeb: “Eid Al Adha Family Holiday Getaway (Not “Gate Away”, haha!)

I think this is the best deal of them all.  For only 55 rials (that PER ROOM, NOT per person!!!) you get a night’s stay with breakfast, dinner, use of pool and healthclub and complimentary wifi.  Most importantly, they don’t try ripping you off simply because you happen to have a couple of kids!  If you want to add another adult to the room, they only charge another 20 rials for the extra bed and that additional person also gets the breakfast/dinner as part of the deal.

Know of any other great Eid Al Adha deals here in the Sultanate?! If you do, please share them with us all!

Update (Sun Oct 21st): A 4th offer to mention is at Sifah Boutique Hotel:

                          “From October 26 to 29, a special two-day package will be on offer at the Sifawy Boutique Hotel for RO80 per night inclusive of a sumptuous breakfast.”    (Taken from this Muscat Daily article. Click for more info.) We really enjoyed our stay at Sifawy Hotel last Nov!

Night Diving in Oman – One of the Coolest Dives So Far!











(Photo taken from Newredseadivers.com for illustrative purposes only.)

This past Monday evening after a full day of teaching, I met Jez, one of the instructors from Omanta Scuba and 2 other gentlemen at the Marina at 6pm for my 1st night-diving experience.  It’s the first of 5 dives to qualify me for my Advanced Open Water Diving Course (which costs 170 rials).  It also happened to be the last dive for the other student to complete his Advanced course. (Congratulations, Tom!)  I’m glad that I got the “Adventures in Diving Manual” (PADI) beforehand to read up on the 24 pages (plus a 2-page Knowledge Review) which let me know what to expect and to prepare myself for this incredible experience.

You won’t see any of my personal pics for some time as no diver wants to mess around with cameras and get distracted during training.  All in due time, dear reader.  I do eventually plan to get into underwater photography and video so hopefully I’ll be able to share some of these awesome experiences with you all.

I really loved this experience and didn’t feel any of the scary/tense/stressful moments that the manual states that some divers occasionally experience on their first night dive.  It was so cool how the underwater flashlight (or “torch” for you brits!) really brought out the color on the fish and coral.  We dove at Cat Island because of its close proximity to the Marina.  The last thing a diving centre wants to deal with when doing a night-dive is negotiating around fishnets that fishermen put out in the early evening which can cause boatrides to cautiously crawl along at a snail’s pace!

The coolest part of the night dive was the bioluminescence!  Which the PADI Adventures in Diving manual describes as |chemical light flashes microscropic plankton generate when a diver disturbs them.”

Here’s an example of bioluminescense being washed ashore on one of the islands in the Maldives in this photo by Doug Perrine printed in this article from the Daily Mail (UK).

One of the first activities Jez had us do once we were on the bottom was to place our lights into our wetsuits.  This essentially put us in complete darkness.  Jez then began to wave his arms back and forth and countless numbers of plankton became to glow magically filling our area with light!  It really was a beautiful moment that is hard to put to words and has to be experienced.  I enjoyed during this time and time again as we spent the next 55 minutes exploring the underwater world around Cat Island.  Here’s a nice video from National Geographic about this mysterious underwater phenomenon:If you are a diver here in Muscat and want to do some night-diving, contact Omanta Scuba. (Tel: +968-9770-0564) They don’t do night dives every week but they tend to go out either Monday or Tuesday (depending on the number of people who have signed up for it).

Have you ever experienced scuba-diving at night?  If so, how did you find it?  If not, I totally recommend it as it is one of the coolest experiences I’ve had here so far in Oman!