Category Archives: Scuba

Mousetrap Divesite, Damaniyat Islands, Oman

ImageThe divesite called “Mousetrap” was our 2nd dive out of the Millennium Hotel’s Marina in Musanah. (My 26th dive in total)  The first was Sira Island.ImageThis is the Musanah Oman Sail Divemaster, Thani Mohammed Al Hamdani. Quote of the day by Thani during the diving orientation: “Maximum deep last in the corner – 20 meter. If you want more deep, take one shovel and go down.” 🙂ImageOther divers waiting for the rest of us to get in the water.  Mousetrap was right next to Sira Island.  This was the first time diving in the Damaniyats where the 1 hour break between dives was not spent at “Police Island” near the gorgeous whitesand beach of Kharabah Island.ImageThe visibility was quite poor on this dive so most pics came out looking “greenish”.  It was still a great dive though!  I saw several schools of yellow fish, as well as clown fish, parrot fish, cuttlefish and a turtle.  Check out the video below.  I almost missed the turtle as it was swimming over my head!ImageI can’t quite remember what they call these fish.  Any divers out there want to help me out so I can properly label this fish?ImageImageThere was so much debris during parts of the dive that it was almost as if it was snowing under the water.  Check out the video below to see what I mean.  Some European divers on the boat said that it’s always like that when diving in Oman but that is simply not the case.  Visibility has rarely been an issue when diving for me.ImageI think we caught 2 cuttlefish making out on this dive.ImageJust look at that beach in the distance!  There are so many wonderful places to snorkel, sunbathe and dive at the Damaniyats!ImageIf you look close enough, you’ll notice that some cannisters are just slightly larger than the others.  The smaller ones are 13 litres and the larger ones hold 15 litres.  For this dive, I used the larger cannister and it made a huge difference for how long I was able to leave the water.  When I got out after a 55 minute dive, I still had 70 bar of oxygen left!  BTW, the tank with the green sticker is for Nitrox.  If you take one of PADI’s most popular specialty courses, “Enriched Air Diver Course“, it “gives you more no decompression dive time. This means more time underwater, especially on repetitive scuba dives.”ImageHeading back to the Marina at Millennium Hotel in Musanah with the Damaniyats off in the distance

Here is a 10 minute video taken from many short clips of our dive at Mousetrap.  Notice the poor visibility in some spots and be sure to check out the huge turtle swimming over my head (starting at 7:05)!ImageBe were fortunate to be diving during the Laser World Championships 2013 – which is taking place out of the Marina at the Millennium!  The boatride back was made much more interesting with dozens of sailboats out on the water!ImageImageImageImageSea Oman activities       I got this list of watersport activities from the Marina and thought readers might be interested in knowing current prices for such activities at the Musanah Marina.  30 minutes of Stand Up Paddle Boarding for only 3 rials?! Or Kayaking for the same price!?  To learn more about Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Oman,  check out this awesome blogpost by Heather Duncan from the “Duncan Adventures Blog”!diving at millennium

Any of you ever dive out of Musanah with Oman Sail? If so, how was your experience?  We really enjoyed it and love that the diving options of Oman are slowly growing! To book with Oman Sail in Musanah, just visit the Oman Sail office to the right of the Marina.  Tel: +968-2671771 Email: info@seaoman.com      Website: www.seaoman.com

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Sira Island Divesite, Damaniyat Islands

ImageThis past weekend, a diving buddy and I decided to go diving out of the Millenium Hotel in Mussanah.  It was an 80 km drive (45 minutes) from City Centre Seeb.  I arrived at 8:15am and the boat departed at a little after 9am.ImageImageThe dive center is in the building to the right of the Millennium Hotel as you’re facing the marina.ImageIt was quite a large group of us that went out on the boat.  No problem with a large boat like this one!  This was the largest boat I have been out diving on so far.  Because the boat was so large, it was also the smoothest ride I’ve had!ImageImageAl Sawadi (pictured here) was about a 30-minute boatride from the Millennium and it was another 30 minutes to our divesite.  You can see the Sawadi Tower in the left corner of the photo.ImageWe finally arrived at Sira Island divesite just after 10am.  This was dive #25 for me!ImageImageThe map of Sira Island that the Oman Sail’s dive centre in Mussanah used for the divemaster’s orientation for divers.  The divemaster of the dive centre is Thani Mohammed Al Hamdani.ImageThis is my dive partner moments after the descent.  Our maximum depth on this dive was 18.5 meters with a bottom time of 45 minutes.ImageImageThis was the 1st of 2 turtles we saw on this dive!ImageThere were several moments of very poor visibility which made everything seem greenish.  There were also moments of good visibility.  Overall, it was a great dive!ImageWhat made this dive even more exciting was seeing my first shark!  I was told that this is called a Leopard shark.  My partner says we saw this shark twice but I’m not convinced that we didn’t in fact see 2 Leopard sharks on this dive.  I also saw 2 moray eels, plenty of clown fish, parrot fish and schools of yellow fish.ImagePlenty of sailing and watersports activities available at the Millennium Resort.

It cost 51 OR for 2 dives including the environmental permit to head to the Damaniyats.  That included renting their equipment.  My diving partner who owns all her own equipment paid something like 33 OR.

If you’ve never been to Mussanah, I recommend a trip out for boating activities or diving if you ever get the chance.  The best way to do it would be to stay the night at the Millennium Resort!

Here’s a 5 minute video of some of the highlights from the dive, including the 2 turtles and 2 Leopard sharks:

Back to the Aquarium, Damaniyat Islands (Dive #22)

Aquarium pic 1  I was glad to return to “Aquarium” divesite especially now that I had my new Canon D20 to capture some of the awesomeness of this site.  This was my 2nd time to Aquarium; my first time was immediately after being PADI Open Water qualified.Open Waters and Advanced  Speaking of my licenses, can you believe that I have only just now received my cards in the mail this week: Open Waters more than 8 months after qualifying (Aug 23) and my Advanced Open Waters (Nov 1) more than 7 months later…Aquarium pic 2  Ahmed, an instructor from Global Scuba, helping out a young Indian diver on his first ocean dive after getting his Open WatersAquarium pic 3  There were plenty of these fish swimming all around us right from the moment we hit the water!Aquarium pic 4Aquarium pic 5  “Calamari”- You can see one of these creatures “hovering” in the video at the end of this blogpost.Aquarium pic 6Aquarium pic 7Aquarium pic 8Aquarium pic 9  It was sad to see this dead turtle during our dive.  There was no indication as to what caused its death.Aquarium pic 10  They have these nets over large parts of the coral reef at Aquarium.  I’m not sure if they are old, discarded fishing nets or it’s something to protect the reef.Aquarium pic 11Aquarium pic 12Aquarium pic 13  Plenty of schools of fish at the Aquarium!Aquarium pic 14  2 young brothers who both attend ABA.Aquarium pic 15  Always dozens of moral eels to see at the Damaniyats.Aquarium pic 16  The Italian gentleman we were diving with, Antonio, kept trying to touch things.  I kept waiting for something like this moral eel to bite him.  Here’s a closer look at what he’s putting his hand near:Aquarium pic 16 closeupAquarium pic 18Aquarium pic 18 closeup  Here is a video combining 29 short clips that I took on this dive: Maximum depth was 17 meters and bottom time of one hour.

My 2nd Trip to “3 Sisters” Divesite at the Damaniyat Islands

ready to descend  Some of us decided to us our 3-day weekend last week to do some diving.  We left Global Scuba (located at Civil Aviation Club between the Wave and the Chedi) at 8:30am last Saturday and we were geared up and in the water for our 1st dive at “3 Sisters” at 9:44am.  This was my 21st dive in total and my 2nd time at this divesite; the first time was last September – just a month after getting my PADI Open Waters certification.Canon D20         This was my first dive with my new Canon D20 UW camera.Technically, it’s only supposed to go down to 10 meters but I had it down to 16.6 meters on this dive.  I picked it up at the main Canon shop in Areimi Complex for 160 OR (or about $416 US).  My friend used the previous model (Canon D10) and had it down to almost 30 meters so I knew I’d be good to go.closeup of interesting fishso many fishscenic underworldclose shot white and yellow fish  The color comes out much better with the Canon D20 than the Intova IC 14 with UW housing.  In addition, the D20 was much easier to use as they have a clear “underwater” function and even an option for “underwater macro” while the Intova required setting the white balance which I didn’t have a clue how to do.angel fishfascinating fishmoral eel eyeballing me  Several moral eels on this dive!a haze of fishsliding along ocean floorcolorful blue and yellow fish  The Canon D20 has its own built in flash so you don’t need any attached flash set-ups.  The trick is to get close enough to the subject.  The skill of knowing the optimal distance and choosing the right timing to shoot is something that I’m going to have to improve on!silouette of fishcoral and fishhard to see this guy  Here’s a 7 minute video from the 1st half of our dive taken from 13 short clips and combined with youtube editor: backside of bigger fish  Not all the fish are cute tiny colorful tropical fish.  This monster sailed right past me and didn’t seem worried about my presence in the slightest.diving buddy  One of my diving buddies, Denise, looking for her next photo op.too many fish to countcolorful cliffFinding Nemo like fish  Looks like a scene right out of “Finding Nemo”!interesting plantlifecolorful worldwhat an interesting looking fishhiding fishflower like coral  Some of the coral is so colorful that they seem like small bouquets of flowers to me.plenty of fishanother look at all those fisha turtle  This turtle swam right past us!  You can find this cute fella in the 2nd video located at the end of this post.what a view  We’ll end this post with clips from the 2nd half of our dive.  14 different clips (between 3 to 71 seconds) were put together for this more colorful video: Diving in Oman – what a life!

Kharabah Island, the Damaniyat Islands Marine Park

Kharabah from a distance  In between dives this past Saturday, we dropped 3 Europeans off for snorkelling on this island before picking them up about an hour later.  The main instructor of Global Scuba, Abdullah, told me that the island/beach is called “Kharabah“.  It is one of the most gorgeous white-sand beaches I’ve seen in Oman!Kharabah Island photo 2  6 of us dove at 2 dive-sites (posts coming soon) and we saw all kinds of interesting fish and marine animals, but failed to spot any sharks.  The 3 snorkellers saw several black tip reef sharks just meters from shore!gorgeous area damaniyats  In addition to sharks, they saw a lot of colorful fish (which – like me – they seemed unable to identity!) and a lot of squid. (I got totally confused because the Italian snorkelers kept calling them “calamari”! 🙂 )what a beach  If you are interested in snorkeling or scuba-diving at the Damaniyat Islands, I recommend either Global Scuba or Omanta as those are the dive centres I go with and they’re both great.  Other dive shops that travel out there are Extra-Divers and Oman Dive Centre (and others).fabulous beaches at damaniyat islands  magical waters of the Damaniyatsinteresting features gorgeous waters   Have you ever seen such water before?! It’s unreal!  Here’s a video from 4 different clips of the beach and immediate area to give you a much better idea of just how gorgeous this spot is:  The Damaniyat Islands are a definite must-see in Oman, whether you scuba-dive or not!