We saw the Omani coast early Saturday morning 26.2.2011. It is very inhospitable with dry barren rocks steep into the sea. There is no natural vegetation to relieve the eye but nevertheless there is stark beauty about the scene. We found our way to the Bandar Al Rowdh marina only to be told we had to go 4km up the coast to check in at Sultan Qaboos port. We had tried to telephone the Marina en route and call them on VHF before entering but never managed to get a reply which might have enabled us to go directly to the port. After a short rest we set off for the port which did not seem to be too arduous after 14 days at sea, but it did prove to be quite a problem because we had to tie up against a very badly fendered concrete wall, tying up to chains which suspended the fenders because there were no cleats. Unfortunately the authorities could not come out to us on a launch as it would have been much easier for us to anchor in the harbour.
During the day the breeze became much stronger blowing us ever harder onto the wall ,so getting off the wall after the formalities had been completed was extremely tricky. We decided the only way was to try and spring the stern off and make a fast reverse but of course this meant the bow being pressed hard against the wall and with the significant swell that had now joined forces with the wind to make our exit even more difficult the port side pulpit was damaged. Perhaps we got away lightly under the circumstances but it would have been nice to have avoided the whole journey and immigrate from the land.
We returned to the marina hoping they would have a space for us as it is pretty full with local motor boats but we succeeded and were very relieved to tie up for the night.
The cost is very high around 550$Hk per night and after paying 460$US to enter Oman we were feeling rather disappointed . However this did not deter us from a cold beer and a meal in the Marina restaurant with our sailing companions Lyra with whom we had been in line of sight for the westward crossing and who had been very good company. The skipper is a German cardiologist who had sailed single handed from Australia but now has one american crew .
We are now catching up on sleep and starting on the usual round of repairs maintenance and cleaning. There is a boat yard here and the pulpit was repaired today and is now fine. The spare part for the generator is on its way .
We have had an excursion into a small town on the outskirts of Muscat which is a very Arabic but luckily there are signs in English. The architecture is typically islamic but the city is well laid out with good roads and has a clinical cleaniless about it. The backdrop is the extremely bare stony hills. We visited a large shopping mall “Lulu’s” and luxuriated in a profusion of fresh fruit and vegetables which we had not had for the last 10 days of the voyage.
We are trying to join the other boats in the group but this is proving surprisingly difficult with different boat speeds, fuel consumption, water requirements and repair needs etc .We will stay here for at least a week, hopefully not very much longer and then head down the coast keeping about 10 miles off shore. In the meantime we are enjoying our stay here and are planning a trip up-country in the next few days.
airlie beach accommo… on Keppel Island to Airlie B… Ian Wormald on Nongsa Point to Keppel Marina… Gilly on Nongsa Point to Keppel Marina… Jeremy Vevers on Nongsa Point to Keppel Marina… Jeremy Vevers on Lombok to Nongsa Point 28.10.2…
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