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Oman - Masirah Island December 2001 (maps below)

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Masirah Island ferry terminal and duty-free.
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Off the ferry.
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SODs leaking from the container.
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Don't forget to stop at the local fish shop.
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Turn left at this roundabout.
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No, the other way - there is a roundabout there!
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Alternative transport I
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Alternative transport II - slow but at least he's got his house.
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Alternative transport III.
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Setting up base camp.
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Looking north.
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Looking south.
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Looking west.
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Looking further west.
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Looking east.
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Reef car park - usual crowds.
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The reef.
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The left and Andy the Red...
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Another hairy takeoff on a 40 ft wall of water...
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Nice right Smailes! Or Doylee?
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That bloody bicycle...
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Er, yeah.
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Gotcha! Are we going to be arrested now?
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What the police back in Dubai didn't like...
 

About twenty people altogether were camped out there and the break was crowded for probably the first time ever. Nine surfboards and two bodyboards were all being used at one point. Not enough wind for the kitesurfers but that was great for the surfing. Swell was small at about 1-2 ft giving us faces of 2-3 ft. Couple of optimists reckoned they saw a 4 ft face once or twice.

A couple of great reef breaks down the beach a way. Dodgy as the tide went down. Most of us came away from the reef with one or two nicks and cuts but nothing to worry about. A good excuse to have a beer really. A fast right and a slow easy left were breaking off one peak. Around the next headland is possibly more potential - there's a shipwreck on the beach further down - but we only looked once and saw nothing to surf on. Too small that day.

The main surf beach had great waves for learning on - just as well, there were about ten beginners having a go at it. Next stop for them will be Al Boom Marine perhaps... And the better (or so they thought!) surfers tried to show off on the longboards. Clever stunts included...

  • getting five toes, then ten toes, then the complete body over the nose, then delicately sending the board between the legs while snorting sand.
  • jumping off board towards another but successfully landing in the water between them - note that this was a revised version of the clever but old swapping boards while surfing on the same wave stunt.
  • a reverse frontside forward fin flip after double over center drop wall super vertical takeoff with a triple cough and power splutter choke to finish - and on only a 2 ft wave! By a complete beginner!!

And of course, as soon as we got back, the swell chart shows 4-6 ft rolling in there. Ah well, keep fingers crossed for big swell for another time. Send me an email if you're interested in joining in for a trip. Water temperature was perfect, air temperature also perfect (but the sun was a little strong eh Andy?). You're on a beautiful uncrowded beach - only the Swiss Family Robinson tucked away in one corner.

Travel time varied from about 10 hrs to 24 hrs driving. We at SOD headquarters would recommend the route further to the east to save time however the more inland route is apparently quite scenic and exciting at times - worth considering for those with a desire for a more adventurous journey and an alternative to surfing when the swell is down. Team Echo made a sterling effort through some of the trickier sections of desert and no doubt they'll make an appearance in the next Paris-Dakar rally. Upon return to the UAE, it's a good idea to clean your car - especially any graffiti written on the rear window - before the Dubai police get annoyed about it...

Couple of maps are below. They're just to give you an idea since the image quality is crap. I'll have another crack at scanning them with a better resolution and link them to larger versions. You can buy several different road maps. I like the APEX one best - get it at a gas station once you're in Oman. But don't assume that all the roads/paths on the map are obvious once you're driving. They may well be not much more than a route through the dunes that somebody took once.
 

Route through Oman to Masirah - note that the final turnoff to the ferry wasn't signposted (the post was lying on the ground) but it may be there now. If you run out of road, you're heading into the Wahiba Sands back up the coast. Map showing northern part of Masirah Island and route to Surf Beach.

Thanks especially to Joe, Neil, John and Bob for making our stay even more enjoyable with beer, BBQ, diving, skiing, and wakeboarding entertainment.

Send me more photos - especially all those barrels and tow-ins that people don't believe we got down there!


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