shanlung (shanlung) wrote,

Riamfada - Overnight with her to Turtle Watching at Raz Al Jinz

My wife finally uploaded a whole load of her photos of our trip to Amsterdam. In truth, she took almost all the photos that are in my Flickr folders of that trip as well as every other trip. Only exceptions are the shots in Saudi Arabia where she did not care to join me.

I exercise my perogative as Master and Husband to claim her better shots as my shots. Even better still, I could do my thing and play chess etc etc while she spend her time more gainfully in uploading the photos into my Flickr folder.

So see us and elsewhere in my wife
Flickr photosets

Eventually she would get to upload her set of photos for this trip to turtle watching as well. In meantime, the folder for this turtle watching trip is
my folder (taken and uploaded by her)

This was the first overnight trip we have had with Riamfada.

About a year ago, in early November 2008, my wife and I made this trip to see those turtles leaving Riamfada at home. She was with us only a few weeks at that time. You all would agree she was not quite ready to go out with us then. That report "Turtle watching at Raz Al Jinz and Riamfada independence" is here

So it was on Thursday morning 13 Aug 2009 9:00am that my wife and I set off from our place in North Al Hail, Muscat with Riamfada on her swing perch over the back seat. I thought about taking some of her mash with us, but the logistic of keeping that cold even though we brought the Coleman box with us was too much. We took with us the cat carrier in case we needed to pop Riam inside.

Katleen was coming with us and we picked her 15 minutes later from agreed meeting point of Lulu Supermarket at Al Ghoubra. I learned from our last trip picking up our friends Paul and his wife using garbled directions as you might have read.

She sat with me in the front while my wife sat in the back with Riam and off we went.

We headed on into Ruwi and turned off to Al Amerat. Katleen was wowing at the views that we were passing through as this was her first time here. I knew that feeling as I passed here before. But unlike that first time, I also knew the beautiful sceneries will be surpassed. I bite my tongue not to tell her and to let the actual scenery unfold to tell her. Katleen had been here in Muscat almost as long as myself but she had not left Muscat the way my wife and I had done so with Riamfada.

turtle beach 1 Muscat to Ras Al Hadd

turtle beach 2 Ras Al Hadd and Raz al Jinz

turtle beach 3 Turtle Beach Resort Raz Al Hadd

turtle beach 4 Turtle Beach Resort and coral reef

Above are snapshots of Google Earth. You can see loads of photos taken by others. So if you have Google Earth, fire it up to those coordinates shown to see how beautiful the area we passed through as well as at the photos taken by others.

We started climbing up the Eastern Hajar Mountains. Just as we were about to descend to the town of Quriyat I pulled up at a stop point. I always stopped here before to take in the view and being a creature of habit, felt compelled to do so again. Even more so as Riamfada was with me here for the first time and it was good to allow her to fly in beautiful area.

Katleen was with us and she loved seeing Riam fly. With her taking the perch, my wife could better focus on taking photos.


We then were again on our way. I drove down the mountain to Quriyat and on to the new highway to Sur. Unlike the last time, this superhighway was completed but not officially opened as yet. It meant no people manning the toll boths and no radar traps in place and just an incredibly beautiful road to drive on for free.

I made a stop at Bima Sink hole. It was along the way and it would be a real shame not to stop even if just to have a look at it again. My first couple of times, I even went down to take a swim and to luxuriate in the waters below.


More photos of our earlier trips to Bima sinkhole from my wife Flickr folder

In the earlier trip made a year ago, we stopped several times more along the way. However, I knew now how nice the Turtle Beach Resort was unlike the first time and how inviting and laid back a place that I decided to get there as soon as possible.

We made a stop at Sur for lunch and to take a break from driving.

With the benefit of having been there before, I knew the way now and had not have to stop and ask for directions the way I did the first time.

We got to our Turtle Beach Resort

It was a pleasure to be back again here. And with Riamfada this time.

Riamfada took all there by surprise but the friendly staff there warmly welcomed her as well.

We booked a double room while Katleen had a single. It was a nice surprise to find the huts made of woven palm fronds were all air conditioned this time unlike the last. We had our own bathrooms attached to our unit as well unlike the shared bathrooms the last time. If I had known they had aircond, I would have been here much earlier.

the folder for this turtle watching trip is
my folder (taken and uploaded by her)

Turtle Beach Resort Restaurant with book 3 " Storm of swords" By George Martin

I took a dip into the sea. The water was surprisingly cold at about 22-24C
Visibility on other hand was not too good at maybe 1 to 1.5 meters This was just a refreshing dip for me before a quick shower on the beach and back to the restaurant to chill with Riam and my book while my wife had her swimm.

Then Riam had her exercise and chance to show off to others there, and to gain new fans. Should they want to have a parrot later on, they will remember us.





flying is thirsty - Gimme a Heineken


Then it was time for the buffet dinner. My wife had to get dinner for me while I sat with Riamfada at the table.


Sadly, Riam did not care for human food the way Tinkerbell did. She took some pieces of cucumber and her sunflower seeds that you see in that little jar. Then she went to my shoulder.

Dinner ended at 8pm . We were to drive off to Raz Al Jinz at 9pm . That was going to be a tightly organised affair by the Conservation Center and even though they limit the people, I knew from the past that a crowd would be there. After dinner, I walked to the beach with Riam on my shoulder in the darkness to see how she would be like. The wind was getting stronger too. Unlike the stop to see the space station a few months ago with just my wife and myself and the car nearby, we could be out for a couple of hours this time. Riam might not like that.

I decided that it would be better for Riam not to go with us.

In our room was this little cupboard. In the condition of the hut, the back of cupboard separated from the side when the wood warped. So an inch gap of free space. This imperfection became perfect for me. I had no worry that Riam would suffocate in that cupboard.

I took one of my ring perches from the car. Made of thick sisal rope stiffened by disposable chopsticks at top and bottom. Hung that in the cupboard and placed Riam onto it.



You can see that gap at back of cupboard and the disposable chopsticks in Riam's ring perch.

I went through my good night routine with Riam and closed that cupboard door for her to sleep in peace.

Then we drove on to Raz Al Jinz. To find a new routine in place. From the center, the 3 of us were taken by a mini bus to join the others already waiting on the edge of the beach. That saved a mile long walk that we all had to do last year.

The rangers there gave a talk on the conservation work on the turtles and that 40 km of coast line there were fully protected by them. We then waited for other rangers to locate turtles laying eggs to take us all to. No wanderings about on your own to minimise disturbances on turtles. No cameras allowed at all.

The sky was clear above. With the Milky Way clear and beautiful above just like a celestial river running across the sky. Here on the turtle nesting beach away from the normal light pollution that the stars were so beautiful. I had a green laser astronomy pointer that I carried with me.

Only two nights ago, I was out with my wife at Wadi Al Khoud hoping to spot the Perseids. I knew the best time from astronomical sites would be about 4am in the morning. Knowing I would not be able to wake up at 4am in morning, we went at 9 pm after dinner instead. I could not spot Cassiopeia and Perseus constellation and hence the Perseids. Their quandrant would only rotate into visibility at 4 am or so. I was there hoping to spot a chance shooting star.

I was hoping for better luck on that night on the turtle beach. My quiet whispered conversation with wife and Kat, or rather the occasional usage of that powerful and visible green laser beam attracted a gentleman in that 40++ group. I then talked of my failed attempt to see the Perseids and the frustration of not seeing Cassiopeia and Perseus constellation. He exclaimed he knew Cassiopeia was right above us and borrowed my laser to show us where he said it was right in center of the Milky Way. I was rather amazed and asked for Perseus. He then pointed to an area right at the end of the Milky Way and a quarter of the night sky away. We were all there to enjoy the ritual of seeing turtle laying eggs and having a good time. I did not wish and need not say anything contrary to him to spoil his good time. At that moment, a ranger signalled it was ok to approach the nesting turtle. Nesting turtle could be spooked off if approached too early. But once the turtle were into laying eggs after they dug their deep nesting holes in the sand, they can be approached if done appropriately. Not all of us were allowed to gathered around the rear of the turtle the last time a year ago. Small groups by small groups were allowed to see the turtle dropping the eggs by a torchlight hold by another ranger. All the rangers were locals of that area.

Then it came to the turn for the 3 of us. I knelt by the edge of the hole. To hear her sighs, and see periodically 3-4 glistering pingpong ball size eggs dropping from her to join the pile of eggs below.

Eventually she was done. She swung her flippers to create a flurry of sand backwards into the hole. Now and then, she gyrated on her rear flippers as if she was tamping the sand down. A few others sat near her either oblivious of the sand cascading on them, or deliberately there to enjoy the shower of sand.

That show ended.

It was still very good.

Even if not as magical as that of last year. At that visit, I first saw turtles again after a lapse of 40 odd years. That triggered a flood of memories in report "Turtle watching at Raz Al Jinz and Riamfada independence" here

We returned to our resort to sleep.

I woke up in the morning to the sound of Riamfada whistling from the cupboard. I opened that door and got her onto the hand perch. You will see in the folder Riamfada getting into her harness photo by photo. If you click on them to see the time of the shots, she was fastened into the harness rather quickly as she was eager to be out.

While waiting for breakfast to be ready, we sat out on this gazebo build over the edge of the sea near the jetty soaking it all in and watching sea birds fly about us.



Then it was breakfast time.


Riam enjoying the orange juice above. I tried again to turn my vegan Riamfada into a carnivore. In the flickr folder, you see her turning her nose against the egg omelette, she turned away from a choice piece of sausage, and a nice crunchy chicken bone.

I gave up and placed that chicken bone with chunks of meat next to her sunflower seeds and went on to enjoy my breakfast.

To be nudged by my wife to look at Riam. To my delight, Riam was holding the bone and biting off the meat on it. It was exquisite to see her crunching into the bone and taking the marrow and bone. After all these months of trying, I managed to turn Riam from a Birkenstock wearing and card carrying Vegan into a carnivore. On top of that, a kind of cannibal of cousin as well.



I sincerely believe that animal protein is vital for their well being. The calcium in that bone will also be very good for her.

Perhaps it was because I did not take her mash with me on this trip that she finally got to take that chicken bone.

On a footnote, this morning I mixed a teaspoon of raw pork mince into her mash and she ate it all.

We then took turns to snorkel. It was obvious my wife and I could not go together. It was then my turn.

turtle beach 4 Turtle Beach Resort and coral reef

In the Google Earth photo, the dark patch in the sea just off the beach was that coral reef.

The coldness of the water (22-23C) hit me with a shock again as I waded in. I quickly dived in to immersed myself to get that shock over with. There must have been an upwelling of cold water from the adjacent deep water canyon to make it so cold. Visibility was still about 1 meter or so. Details of the shallow bottom not very clear even if bottom was shallow at 1.2 meters. I swam even in shallower waters to avoid treading on corals and killing them.

Corals were very sadly significantly less than last year. And for all I know, nothing at all next year.

I snorkelled around and swam over to the area next to the jetty to see if my moray eels I saw in my trip a year ago were still there. Sadly they were not there and I hoped they grew and went on to deeper waters.

From time to time, I exhaled to dive closer to the corals below to see them better. The corals here were very different from those I saw when snorkelling in Dimaniyat the week before. I was delighted to see one of my favourite coral, the Goniopura family. This coral has spectacular polyps that extend its body to wave about like hair of Medusa. I saw a bit of beautiful blue from the surface and I dived down for closer look. To find a small colony of free living beautiful purple Goniopura, with end tentacles of sky blue waving away. Do yourself a favour and do a google image search for Goniopura as their beauty defied descriptions and I had no underwater camera.

And if you read this report and go there, please please please, no walking onto that coral patch,or any shallow coral reefs else where. They have a right to life too.

There were also clumps of anemones living in symbiotic harmony with their attending clown fishes. I only noticed them now because of their conspicuous absence in snorkelling waters of Dimaniyat.

If Riam was not with us, I could have stayed on for a long time in the waters there. So I was with Riam again.

the folder for this turtle watching trip is
my folder (taken and uploaded by her)



After a few good flights, a public shower is a nice way to cool down.

All too soon, it was lunch.

I drove back shortly after that. A few stops were made to break journey and to fly Riamfada.

Then we were back home once again.

I sadly had to cull that from this already lengthy report. Or I will still be writing into this weekend.

And we have other plans for the weekend.

the folder for this turtle watching trip is
my folder (taken and uploaded by her)


If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust

I am a life member of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Do join us to do
whatever we can for the wildlife that shared our planet.

or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice

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