Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oman Cruises


The Sultanate’s ties to the seas go as back as the stories and legends of ancient pirates and sailors. The country was once a great trading port for the ancient world. Hence, it comes as no surprise that even today most avid travelers believe their exploration of the country is not truly complete without a traditional Dhow cruises. These typical Oman cruises can be embarked for a day, just to watch the sun set, or to see the wonderful marine life in the morning from various places including Muscat, Sur and Khasab. In fact the region of Sur is still known for its shipbuilding. While there are no old triangular lateen sails or heavy wooden rudder, the boat building industry survives thanks to the efforts of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, the ruler of Oman to save the maritime heritage of the country.

Even if you have your heart set on having a ride in every type of Dhow that sails in Oman, it is unlikely that you may achieve this goal. There are in all 12 different types of Dhows made in the Sultanate. Their designs differ in accordance to their purpose. For example, some Dhows are designed for carrying heavy loads and people, and some are fishing boats, while some are used for transportation. Each design is unique, and a local citizen may be able to identify the purpose of the Dhow by merely seeing its design from far. These vessels are made using wood and rope or nails and are known to last for about 60 to a hundred years. Dhow building is a dying art, and while they are being built even today, these vessels may slowly disappear completely in the coming years despite the attempts of the government.

If you are opting for an evening or morning Dhow cruise in Muscat, chances are that you get to sail on a traditional type of Dhow called Al Boum. This type of Dhow was typically used to transport people and heavy goods from one place to another in the olden times. The vessel is made out of Omani wood known as Simr. There is a chance that the size of the boat may vary, but usually it seats about 50 people and weighs close to 46 tonnes. The seating arrangement onboard is traditional, which means there are traditional Omani carpets laid out with majilis seating and cushions for back comfort. The deck is decorated with such seating arrangement and ethnic lanterns.

Such Oman cruises aboard the Dhow take you around the stunning coastline. Some cruises make stops at secluded bays for snorkeling and swimming in the open sea. Taking a dhow ride in Oman can be a unforgettable experience even for the most avid traveler, and should be noted on your to-do-list for your visit.

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