I was so impressed when I first set eyes under Oman waters in Nov 2008 when we went to Raz Al Jinz to watch turtles. It was so impressive walking off the beach where we stayed and seeing corals and moray eels amd beautiful fishes just there and then. http://shanlung.livejournal.com/83108.html
And I wondered how it would be like in other places in Oman where unlike other parts of the world trampled by hundreds of thousands of holiday seekers, only a handful of them got here in Oman.
I so much wanted to stick my head underwater again.
The Zanzibarian lady who served as guide to Zanzibarian food was the catalyst. She wanted to go snorkelling, and so my wife wrote out in her news letter and organised a small group to go snorkelling a few weeks back.
That cost 15 OR each for the trip. You tell the operator what you wanted and they said you can see dolphins , cruise outside Muscat old city, and snorkel.
So we said we have all 3
And we set off from the Marina next to Oman Public Aquarim just before Al Bushn Hotel.
The distance that was so great when we drove in the mountains and foothills to Yiti Beach and Seifa Beach vanished when we boated down the coast.
In twinkling of eye, we were off shore of Shangrila hotel, and in the next cove was Yiti Beach. In 15 minutes of boating, we saw Seifa beach.
And then the dolphins appeared in shoals of 20s to 30s
Jumping out of the water and spinning around
Who needs a periscope?
Originally uploaded by shimmertje.
The dolphin flew
Originally uploaded by shimmertje.
Originally uploaded by shimmertje.
The boat cut power to just idling speed. It was wonderful and time went by watching the dolphins playing about.
And then we headed to Muscat old city. From the perspective of the sea, we could see the old forts and castles would have protected the harbour in the past. This was also very enjoyable part of the boat trip.
Sultan of Oman Palace at Muscat old town
Then we headed towards a cove near Shangrila Hotel for the dive. I noticed the water to be murky and brown from the red tide afflicting the seas of Oman recently. In the cove, the water cleared to reasonable clarity. It was not what I hoped for though. No live corals with their dazzling array of colorful fishes. Lots of sargent-majors and a few surgeons.
All in all, I felt this trip was worth the money from the dolphins and Muscat old city cruise.
I was determined to continue on this snorkeling now we had started. My wife booked the next snorkeling trip to a spot known for corals with another operator for the next Thursday which was last weekend here. Then we got a phone call from the operator the trip was cancelled as the summer became brutally hot and people opted off the trip.
Me and my wife then planned for this coming weekend for a snorkelling trip to Sawadi island off Sawadi beach of course.
So weekends are not just going out with Riamfada and the kitties. We try to spend time on ourselves too.
Dommie threw tantrum or mad dogs & Englishmen
The other night on our bed, I was stroking Dommie when I discovered he got this big tick gorged with his blood under him where his right front leg joined his body. My wife was called over. We recalled this article we read that taught one and all how to remove the tick. That if you roll the tick about like giving the tick a body massage, that tick will get groggy after a while and released itself. We were warmed if we try to kill the tick or pull out the tick, the tick would inject toxins into the cat which will be bad.
So we tried that recommendation. I hold Dommie while my wife rolled and rolled that tick. It did not work.
Then my wife hold Dommie while I gave that tick a rolling body massage which did not work either.
It got Dommie more and more annoyed. Dommie is such a laid back character who never seemed angry at the indignities or insults I hurled at him. We were so shocked when Dommie growled and then spit at us. Like lightning, he slashed his claws at me. And I faster than lightning, pulled my hand back.
That did it. We decided to use the Frontline we bought earlier for the cats but never got to using. Frontline application was to be made onto the skin on base of his head and that would be enough to protect the kitty a month from ticks and fleas.
My wife hold Dommie down again and I applied the Frontline as directed. Then I smeared a bit of Frontline directly on the tick. We did not like the idea of Katie licking Dommie and getting the Frontline off or the tick dropping off in the house. So with the agreement of my wife, I carried Dommie and put him out and closed the front door.
I returned to playing my chess on Internet in the living room. After a while, Dommie came to the sliding door and meowed to be let in. I turned around , looked at him and gave him a laugh. I wickedly told him that was what he deserved for being a traitor and giving my wife saccharine eyes and sleeping on her instead of on me like what he did in the past before my wife came. He stayed there and meowed to be let in. I told him rudely to go away and I went into bedroom and slept.
Waking up the next morning, I missed Dommie next to me on the bed. I asked my wife if Dommie came back. She told me no. When she went out to feed the cats, only Katie was around.
I thought that to be strange, but as I had to take care of Riamfada breakfast and play with her before I left for office, that matter was forgotten.
I came back for lunch. I asked if Dommie got back. My wife said no. I was feeling very uneasy as I got used to Dommie even if he was so insolent to me.
I thought back at last night and my laughter at him and the words I used to taunt him and I felt bad. I had my lunch hoping to hear Dommie again.
He still did not appear despite my calling 'Dommie Dommie COME COME COME'.
Summer is on us. Temperature in the shade that day was 44C. House was cool only because of the split unit AC blasting cold air at 22C.
I was getting more and more worried. I thought of how Dommie would snuggle to me first on the bed and rubbed his head against me before he walked over to my wife and slept on her. Dommie was not that bad to me. And I laughed at him when he was pathetically meowing to me to open that door.
The sky was so clear on that mid day. The sun beating down with ferocious heat. But I felt I had to go out to call for Dommie in the neighbourhood. As I walked out of the house and on the road, I could feel the sun reflecting off the walls along side the road and focusing on me. No one else was out there. I recalled reading ' Only mad dogs and Englishmen would walk out in the mid day sun'.
I walked on calling 'Dommie Dommie come come come' . No black and white creature came to greet me. I kept calling and walking and calling and walking. My calls turned to curses. To avoid problems with neighbours, my curses on Dommie were made in Chinese. Dommie had not appeared when I came home.
I had to return to my office. I was worried enough to plan another massive search later in the evening. But when I got back after work, Dommie was at the French sliding door and he meowed at me like nothing was wrong. I opened the door and he came in just like before. The tick was gone.
But it was not normal.
He refused to get into bed with us when it was time to sleep.
The next night, he slept away from us.
I had enough the following night. I grapped him , tossed him kicking and screaming on our bed. He then rubbed his head on me, and walked over and dropped himself on my wife as we went to sleep.
Every evening when I got back from work we would do our neighbourhood walks. My kitties got so used to this ritual that when I went in to Riamfada's room to harness her, they would be waiting at the garden gate to go out with the three of us. Even if the kitties went out, they would still be back in time for that walk.
Then when we were out of the gate and on the road, I would cue Riam to step up on the perch hold by my wife and I walked 30 ++ meters away and cue her to fly to me.
We even cued Riamfada to 'turn around' so she would face me when I called for her.
The last few days, Riam would ignore that turn around cue. I thought that was bad she did not listen to me.
She would take off from the perch hold by my wife and flew to me.
It became so routine that we did not bother anymore with taking of her photos.
But yesterday 23 May 09, my wife insisted on getting her camera to shoot Riam flying to me. I was intrigued as I was normally the one who insisted on getting those photos.
She then told me what happened that made her want to shoot Riamfada. I was too far away to see what Riamfada did.
My wife told me of Riamfada unusual take offs she saw the last few outings. Riamfada would be facing away from me when I called. Riamfada would do a backward leap from perch hold by my wife. Riam would then flap and fly backwards a few wing beats and then turned in the air towards me and fly to me. That way, when she leapt backwards, the leash would get off the perch entirely too.
I was so intrigued by that description that I walked only a short distance away and cued Riam to fly to me while my wife tried to take those shots.
And then , Riamfada showed us yet another variation and her growing confidence in flight and control.
She was facing away from me. She leapt ahead , flew a few wing beats away from me and then turned in air to my direction and flew to me.
We tried again. She again leapt ahead, flew ahead and then turned in air to me. She did not leapt back and started backwards.
Sadly, my wife could not capture those shots.
We also had a farewell dinner to go to last night. Erica, the Fullbright scholar finished her time in Oman and we all and friends would be having a last dinner in Muscat before her plane left.
Those shots will not be taken this evening either.
There is an injured Indian RIng Neck under the care of this lady. We promised to see her later on, and so would not have the time to do the neighbourhood walk today.
But sooner or later, those starting flights of Riam will be taken and posted for you all.
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
or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice