Oman, the home of Sinbad the Sailor, one of the characters from Arabian Nights, certainly has epical beauty. This country that attracts travelers with its nature, architecture, traditional lifestyle, and adventurous desert activities promises an unparalleled adventure with its underwater diversity.
Oman, situated along the southeastern Arab Peninsula, offers an array of surprises due to its geographical location and the climate that dominates the region. After touring around Muscat, the capital that is covered with white buildings, touring the desert on camelback and spending the night in a tent are such thrilling experiences. The pleasure of descending from the rocky, arid hills, then cooling in the shade of the palm trees on the shore tasting the spicy foods is something unique!
Envisioning that the Indian Ocean is beyond the horizon while looking out over the boundless sea prompts the imagination; although there is no life visible amidst the loneliness of the eternal blue between the coast and horizon, you can dream at length about what is hidden underwater.
Those who limit their Oman trip to the city, desert, and beaches will certainly enjoy themselves. On the other hand, if you are a tourist that expects more than this, I strongly suggest that you see the underwater sights.
For a long time, the Red Sea has been one of the sites most visited by Turkish and European professional and amateur divers. According to the season, Oman welcomes visitors at two different diving spots. If you plan to travel to Oman between April and October, then the best alternative is the Daymaniyat Islands, whereas the Hallaniyat Islands are the best choice between October and April.
The Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve, 18 km from Muscat, is a national park that was placed under conservation. The group consisting of nine small uninhabited islands, with coral reefs surrounding each of them, plays host to rich underwater life. As this is one of the sites where sea turtles lay their eggs, you can see one or even more every time you dive. The Daymaniyat Islands, with 100 different groups of soft and hard corals, are also a home to 280 species of fish. With schools of fish that do not swim away or fear humans because they see very few divers, this is an ideal diving area for diving enthusiasts of all levels.
If you are in this region between September and October, a surprise awaits you. During September and October, whale sharks, the largest species of fish in the world, can be seen around the Daymaniyat Islands. Although underwater visibility is limited, the main factor that attracts these fish to the islands in this season is that there is an abundance of food source, namely plankton. If you were unable to see whale sharks, don’t worry, you are sure to come across a school of dolphins here.
The Hallaniyat Islands on the northeastern edge of Oman are one of the best diving sites in the region between October and April. Reaching Salalah after a half-hour flight from Muscat, your diving boat will take you to these protected islands.
Here you will see the larger versions of fish species found in the Red Sea. As the fish here are protected, they grow more and swim in large groups.
In this region you can see honeycomb morays and even the rarely seen yellowmouth moray; it is possible to see large numbers of these every time you dive. Morays generally stick their heads out from between the holes and crevices where they hide, waiting for their prey; you can even see two or three in the same hole! But the ones here are exceptionally brave, swimming around wiggling their two-meter bodies.
The Hasikiyah Cave on the island is so impressive that you will want to dive a second time. As you enter one end of the cave, and swim through a school of thousands of glassfish, you come out at the other end where a school of striped bull fish is waiting. This is an absolute paradise for underwater photographers.
Hallaniyat Islands host an array of shipwrecks. The Marriott Wreck is more like a carnival site; all species of fish gather around the wreck. While striped snappers swim around in groups, brown morays pass through the metal wreck. This wreck and its surroundings, which are also home to macro creatures, are suitable to dive with both macro and wide angle lenses. Night diving at this wreck is both easy and impressive; and what’s more, you might even see calamari and electric rays.
Oman is a superb site for divers of all levels that is easy to reach and great for diving. The opportunity of seeing so many sea creatures together makes Oman very attractive to tourists.