Oman might be the tourist hotspot of the Arabian peninsula, but Masirah, the isolated island, isn’t somewhere you visit unless you really want to go there.
Lying off the East coast of Oman, with an area of about 649 km², and a population estimated at 12,000 in 12 villages mainly in the north of the island, Masirah is a world away from busy Dubai.
Most of the island’s interior is deserted, with access to the island only possible by a small ferry for cars or by Royal Air Force of Oman Airbus A320 or Lockheed C-130 Hercules flights.
The first leg of our journey, took us past the desert of Oman, crossing Ibri until we reached the Indian ocean.
The Masirah ferry cast off after sunrise.
With nothing but the sunshine and a light ocean breeze, there we were, on a desert island amid turquoise water. Goats and camels foraged in parched scrub and low acacia bushes, often wandering across the road.
The rough landscape of the island has led to the appearance of many wrecked but beautiful dhows on its beaches, most of them well preserved by the salt water and intense heat.
There’s an interior of barren hills and eerie alien landscapes. Footprints and tyre marks on golden beaches leave black tracks as they penetrate to volcanic sediment below.
Upon our arrival, we wandered in the island’s tiny town, Hilf, which has a few shops and a handful of cafes and restaurants.
Finally we reached our destination, Masirah’s kite surfing camp, where you can rent out equipment and sleep in a Bedouin-style camp on the island’s west coast. In fact, water-sports are a key attraction in Masirah, and it is known as a kite surfing paradise.
Wildlife is the other attraction. Crabs, Flying fish skipped along the surface and, occasionally, a leathery turtle’s head protruded before descending again in clouds of bubbles.
Days became nights, kites of endless colors decorated the sky of Masirah. White sandy beaches, crystal clear water, chirping of birds and fish nibbling at my feet, spectacular limestone cliffs and rock formations, good food and amazing company – it was a vision of a dream.
I am certainly coming back.
To be able to feel what I have felt. To be able to hear what I have heard, do not forget to watch the video filmed and edited by Naim Chidiac and Boodi Hamze! Probably one of the most beautiful and memorable journeys one could experience.