Experience an adventurous drive through a rugged terrain, relishing the beautiful view of the ‘Dhows’ on your side while the story telling wind guides you through this tranquillity.
MASIRAH is a small island along the east coast of Oman, with around 12000 inhabitants. An island with productive fisheries invites tourists with sport interests to enjoy a different kind of a holiday in Oman, especially in Summer.
We set our journey in the month of July, with a bunch of friends and an excellent 4 wheel drive to support this little adventure. Our first predecided stop was Sur to pick up some barbeque stuff and grab some lunch. We slacked a bit and realized there were high chances of missing of our ferry from Shinnah to Masirah. So we skipped our lunch but packed all the necessary food items and sufficient water and drove to reach Shannah on time.
Marking the location on the map, looking out for boards and directions we reached Asharqiah. It was a sigh at once. I could not get my eyes off the beautiful sight of the beach. It had high tides rushing to crash onto the shore. The ‘coastal strand’ with shrubs seen to anchor firm within the sand was a different view in comparison to the dry shore at Muscat. It was a very crowded shoreline, and why would it not be? The temperature hovering between 25-27 °C , seemed breezy and perfect spot for the kids. As if this wasn’t enough the gleaming scenes of the sand dunes covered the sight on my right. I could spot the camels plod along. The rude wind whizzing through the dunes, swept the sand to the roads. It just seemed like hundreds of hasty golden snakes crawling all over. An eyesome journey! The gang was just so speechless that none of us even moved to capture the image in a camera. Though I pity my husband who was the lone driver amongst us, I envied him as he steered through the humid winds. We could sense the car wobbling now and then due to the gusts of wind.
As we drove further, a ravishing view of the traditional ‘Dhows’ smudge with the haze, unfurled. It was nostalgic. The images from the childhood shows like ‘Arabian Nights’ revisited me. As we approached the Shannah port we were greeted by the salt foam flying across the streets. The ‘salt flat’ here is the natural surface which has salt left after the total evaporation of water. We drove directly to the ‘National Ferries Company’ office. Our tickets were pre-booked and we made it on time to the ferry. With hardly any people on the ferry we were off to Masirah. Once into the island,hungry and tired, first stop was for some falafel and rice, this was a by the side of a beach.
The next mission was the cottage hunting. We had reservations at this humble stay about 40kms from the port. It was 7.30PM and so dark that we could hardly spot the area. When with such a great group there is no fear, but a funny mind can perceive things to make the journey more memorable.Driving on a desolate street. Strange evening, not even a lamp around. Maps lead us to the end of a road with just a board having the name of the resort. ”Thank Heavens” a kind local raised his arm in the direction of the resort. Close observation and we could see a yellow light at a distance, dim and dip. A short break and it goes again, dim and dip. Oh dont worry, it was just the creative staff from the resort trying to guide us:-)
The surprise did not end there. We got down from the car and hardly i could stand still against the wind trying to blow me away. Then I saw our stay. It was a cabin. It was my first trip without google and I never bothered to see where I would be staying. With the first look i was sceptical, with this wind wobbling sturdy cars I really dint expect the cabin to fight the sand from getting into our rooms. Too late to say!! I joined the group preparing the barbeque spot. Place is awesome for a group hangout. We carried few indoor games like cards and carom. The staff was really sweet to make a lovely machboos on our request. there was music and dance. Perfect friday night!!
When we entered the room, I was happy to be wrong. Rooms were clean and tidy with no sand, no dirt inside. Now past midnight as my husband snored, louder than that was the howling wind. A small opening in the cabin brought stories from the wind into the room boosting my imaginations to another level. They were whispers and whistles. So much tired to move to the door I decided to slide the holder closing the small opening next to me in the cabin. There was nothing but the swirl of sand bustling along the wind. Neither a shrub nor a worm, if there were, hissing sand would gobble while careening away. Soaking up in these thoughts I dint notice falling asleep until I was woken up by bright sun in the morning.
The morning was different, as if the night never existed, serene, calm more than beautiful!
Firstly I was not aware these were multicolored attractive rooms. Secondly we were staying by the beach!! The scene near the beach was as if the wind swept through the surface of the water, to push the waves back to their origin. This was another beautiful spot for photographers. A Dhow sailing at quite a distance, small landmass in front, a wrecked boat on the side and just us on the beach. I could hardly hear my friends speak. With the sea all around me I wondered if it was infinite.
Back from this beach we left for breakfast. Now the city was with lot of life. There were tourists on the streets, great Indian and Turkish breakfast served in few small restaurants, though this was still nothing close to Muscat it was good to see people around. Although we dint have much time left for the ferry we managed to cover few places on the list. We visited two other beaches.The place itself being unique with an uncommon sea bed, rude wind showering us with coarse tiny stone/sand particles. Oops! it was not a good idea getting off the car. There were these wrecked dhows. Was it a mighty storm or did the age fail it? Not sure of anything related to them I wondered the scenes behind the expedition.
With this being the last spot covered we promised to return back again the next summer to enjoy some kitesurfing, turtle watching and to unveil some real mysteries of the island. So this summer why don’t you visit Masirah and share your story?
Muscat to Masirah : Muscat –Qurriyat- Sur- Shannah – Masirah
Masirah to Muscat: Masirah – Shannah – Mahut- Sinaw- Muscat
You will have good number of fuel stations and rest rooms attached to such stations. For people visiting Wadi Shab, Tiwi will be a good place to eat. For the rest like us you can stop at Sur to shop or for your lunch. We did not visit any restaurants but there are a number of shopping markets and malls with restaurants in them. On your journey back to Muscat you can stop at Mahut for a quick snack/shawarma.
We rented a car on per day basis from ‘Europe car’. The cottage was booked through booking.com. We stayed at ‘Masirah Beach resort’. You can easily book the ferry tickets through ‘National Ferries Company’ online.(Check the weather and carry jackets or appropriate clothing for the weather.) For kite boarding you have two beach camps organizing it, else https://www.kiteboarding-oman.com/en/kiteboarding-masirah-island/ will help you.