Oman: Wadi Swimming & Turtles

*after some serious photo issues lately I’m just going to post the content and catch up on photos when I have the chance  sorry everyone as I know that is the best part 😦

 

On our second day in Oman, we headed out towards Wadi Bani. It had rained and our guide gave a loose warning that it might be hard to get to as some of the roads. We ended up on a random tour of a side desert as we tried to make our way to the main highway to be on our merry way. We knew it had rained but we figured we would be told we couldn’t do it if it was too bad. Instead our guide told us we might have to do some swimming so just bring things that could get wet and the phone in a plastic bag was a good idea. We were kind of like…define swimming…but as he seems to have a lot of older clients we figured he was being over cautious and we were up to the path ahead. Mostly we thought he meant wading through the water and getting decently wet. Wade through the water we did in some fairly decent current. Most of the typical path was covered in water so at one point we had to swim to make our path work. We were feeling fairly trusting at this point and weren’t too too worried given our guide managed to swim across with the plastic bag up in the air as he promised he would help with the task of keeping a camera dry. After Becca and I slid into the water rather surprisingly off of a slippery rock we realized all too quickly the water was quite strong and our guide was both taller and stronger than us. It was mostly the element of surprise I think that caught us off guard but after some gulps of water and a few scary thoughts we both made it to a place we could stand again and agreed we were not doing that again. We kept on with a combination of less stressful and less dangerous swimming along with scaling the rocks to press forward into the canyon. We finally reached a point where we all agreed going further meant coming back would be too dangerous and finally called it. We were already feeling ambitious getting back. We didn’t get to see the final water fall but luckily Becca and I were on the same page in that we didn’t care as long as we were safe. Getting back our guide obliged our preference for scaling the rocks over getting back into the water unnecessarily. This involved a fair amount of bouldering which turned out quite well aside from one fall on top of the guide a short distance into manageable water. At last we were in the clear again and made it to a clear and calm pool with a gorgeous view to relax and catch our breath. There was much commentary about how no one would believe what just happened as we walked through the date palms and back through the local village.

 

Back in the car we went and headed south towards Sur. Here we stopped briefly to see a bit of the city. We stopped at a dhow factory where we could see the men crafting these beautiful boats by hand and saw a few more finished products at the nearby museum. We stopped and grabbed some tea, which at the stands in Oman is like the masala chai I’m used to in India, so much yum. We hoped out of the car at a beautiful watchtower lookout on the coast. Becca and I were fascinated by what we could find in the water pools and enjoyed the beautiful view while we finished our tea. We got back to the car just before another rainstorm hit. This time, we set out to Raz al jinz Where we were staying the night. The epic part about our next destinations is that we were hoping to see green sea turtles that night!!! I was so so excited and was really hoping we wouldn’t be disappointed as it was low season. Our guide assured me that if we didn’t see a turtle he would jump into the sea and bring us one. can’t lie, he sounded pretty serious. We waited out the rain storm unwinding in our room and luckily it ended before turtle time. I was so anxious when we got to the reserve. Then we heard that there was one turtle spotting so far by the rangers and I was so nervous she was going to be gone by the time we got there. We patiently waited for the boarding to begin and luckily our guide ran over saying I know the guide, you will be in group one, and we got to board with the first group of people. As we got off on the beach and started listening to our guide I saw a black dome on the horizon….then it moved. I nudged Becca trying to stay quite and realized if nothing else happened, that was a turtle!! As this turtle had turned around and decided not to make a nest right then, we were able to get closer and see it before it made it’s way back into the water. Wow! I was so excited and it was huge and beautiful. I also felt bad that we probably scared the turtle and that it was a lot of hard work to move on sand if you are a large sea turtle. My sadness was quickly redirected when our attention was turned to about 20 baby sea turtles that had just hatched and made their way to the water!!!! They are so tiny! And then at last we went to see the original turtle the rangers had spotted and were giving time to nest. She had spoiled one nest and had already moved on to making her second nest. We were able to see her lay eggs near the end of the process and then watch as she began the covering process, also quite laborious. Wow we were so lucky, not only did we see a turtle, we saw everything!!!! We were on a high but luckily were exhausted enough from the full day of adrenalin that we crashed pretty hard when we got back late from the turtles.

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