Tag Archives: things to do in Oman

101 Things to See and Do in Oman!

Here’s a great link that a reader of this blog (Saulat Ali) shared with me.  It’s an exciting portal which actually holds the content of the tourism book launched by the Ministry of Tourism Oman!

http://explore101.com/101-things-to-see-do-in-oman.html

On the page, just hold your mouse over the pics to click on different regions of Oman: Muscat, Al Batinah, Al Burami, Al Dhahirah, Al Dakhliya, Al Sharqiya, Al Wusta, Dhofar, and Musandam. (or just click on those links here!)

This is right in line with what I’m trying to do on this blog with making a comprehensive list of great tourist sites on my new page, appropriately titled, “Tourist Sites“! 🙂  It’s incredible just how many fascinating places there are to see and how many cool things there are to do here in the Sultanate!

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Marine Science & Fisheries Centre, Sidab, Oman

  “Sultanate”…”science”…spelng iz vary imbortent!!  The Marine Science & Fisheries Centre is located at the Marina, in the area of Sidab, between old Muscat and the Al Bustan Palace Hotel.  The centre includes a public aquarium, a sea turtle exhibit, administrative offices and a marine science library.  The centre is open from Saturday to Wednesday from 8am to 2pm, Thursday 8am-1pm and on Friday from 3-6pm.  “Oman’s greatest natural resource after its oil is its fisheries.  Thus, the primary focus of the centre is to study Oman’s fisheries and determine the best ways to go about using them.  While the primary intent of the aquarium is to allow you, the public, to view Oman’s beautiful marine life, staff scientists also use the facility to study living specimens in captivity.  As you read the individual labels over each tank, you will see several examples of this.”  Fahel works at the entrance desk of the centre.  No, he will not ask you for any money (as admission is free!) but he will insist that you sign the guest book!  🙂  There are glass displays with many types of shells and coral, but few people seem to pay them any attention and walk quickly past them to get to the aquarium.  They even have 4 different green turtle skulls on display.  I love this wall decoration as it reminds me of the early morning scenes at Muttrah fish souq.  There are about 200 species of Moray eels in tropical waters worldwide and a few species in temperate regions.  At least 12 species are found in Omani waters.  Most moray eels are found in around coral and rocky reefs where they spend most of their time hiding in holes and crevices waiting to lunge at passing prey.  They have these informative posters on the walls around the aquarium.  All the animals you see on display are from Omani waters and the majority are from the capital area.  The aquarium staff has thus far collected over 200 species of the fishes and dozens of different invertebrates.  These bizarre looking fish are known as sharksuckers or “remoras” (“Lazak” in Arabic).  About 4 species are found in Omani waters.  Members of this family have their first dorsal fin modified to form a powerful laminated sucking disc.  These fish use the disc to attach themselves to large marine animals or ships and in this way move from one feeding ground to the next without expending too much energy.  Some appear to prefer a particular type of host but most will attach to a variety of animals.  Among the hosts include sharks, rays, turtles, dolphins and large bony fishes.  Just after reading about the sharksuckers, we were able to see a real-life example in the next tank!  The lazy fish sticks itself to others to save energy.  I know people who are like that, ha!ha!  Here‘s a short video.  Marine turtles are cold-blooded reptiles and their distribution is restricted to the warmer areas of the world.  Oman is one of the very rare places in the world where turtled can be watched freely and calmly.  Turtle nesting attracts hundreds of visitors to Ras al Hadd each year to watch the site at close quarters.  It is believed that turtles live longer than any other backboned animal.  Turtles that live in the water have a flatter, more steamlined shell than turtles that live on land.  Sea turtles cannot withdraw into their shell and so they depend on their size and speeding speed for defence.  They have large flattened limbs or flippers, which they beat while swimming.  They move clumsily on land but are excellent swimmers.  The fastest reptile in water is the Pacific Leatherback Turtle, which can swim at over 30 km/h.  The Green Turtle’s local names are “Sul Hafah Al Khuthera”, “Hamas” or “Shiree”.  This is a very common species in the Indian Ocean.  It is a very popular food in many parts of the world.  The use of its meat and eggs by humans has seriously endangered its survival.  Green Turtles feed on luxuriant seaweeds and other green plants.  They are found everywhere in Omani waters and travel further than other sea turtles.  They can be seen in the hundreds, even thousands over the larger feeding areas.  Lots of coral reef fishes at the aquarium  It can be very tricky trying to capture a good photo of the smaller fish at the aquarium as they move so fast!  Although they are on this poster, I did not see any sharks or stingrays in the aquarium at all.  I think the aquarium would be so much more popular and exciting if they put a few tanks of these monsters on display!  It was a pleasant experience visiting the marine centre.  If you love sealife and don’t have the time, money or inclination to get licensed as a scuba-diver while in Oman, why not visit the Marine Science & Fisheries Centre in Sidab?!  It certainly isn’t one of the best aquariums we’ve ever visited, but we feel it’s worth checking out.  (Tel: 24740061)