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Diving the Daymaniat Islands, Oman

Listed under Diving in Muscat, Oman.

  • Photo of Diving the Daymaniat Islands, Oman
  • Photo of Diving the Daymaniat Islands, Oman
  • Photo of Diving the Daymaniat Islands, Oman
  • Photo of Diving the Daymaniat Islands, Oman
  • Photo of Diving the Daymaniat Islands, Oman
  • Photo of Diving the Daymaniat Islands, Oman
  • Photo of Diving the Daymaniat Islands, Oman
  • Photo of Diving the Daymaniat Islands, Oman
Photo of Diving the Daymaniat Islands, Oman
Photo by Jenny Fowler
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The Daymaniats are a group of nine small islands in the Gulf of Oman. I wanted to dive there because they are a marine nature reserve so I expected to see plenty of wildlife and indeed on my first dive I met up with a turtle which was browsing among the corals. Looking carefully at my photo later I decided it was a Hawksbill turtle, an endangered species which survives in Oman. Our group also saw a good number of Green turtles.

Oman's beaches are some of the most important turtle nesting sites in the world and the government has conservation policies to protect them. In fact you need a permit to dive in the Daymaniats and boats don't land on the islands at all during the nesting season.

The easiest access to the islands is from the dive centre at the Al Sawadi Beach resort. It's about 45 minutes boat ride to the nearest one, Junn Island. It's a tiny, rocky island with a sweep of sandy beach. The diving here is full of colour with bright yellow and purple soft corals and hard corals in many shapes, and good numbers of reef fish . If you've dived in the Red Sea or the Indian Ocean you will recognise some of the species here.

Shoals of fusiliers and blue tang, goatfish digging in the sandy patches, large surgeonfish streaming by in groups - there is plenty to see and photograph. Beautifully patterned moray eels watch from their holes in the reef. Pufferfish and pairs of brightly coloured bannerfish swim close to the corals. Lionfish stalk their prey and cuttlefish hang in the water or jet away when disturbed. Painted rock lobsters hide in rocky crevices and sea urchins sit everywhere on the sea bed protected by their long spines. I enjoyed watching anemone fish in their snake-lock homes. Our dive guide pointed out a deadly stonefish blending invisibly into a coral background.

Snorkelling was very good at Junn Island as the reef near the beach is quite shallow with lots of fish life. Snorkelling here, I had an excellent view of the Green turtles. In very shallow water over the sand, just off the beach, was a group of cornet fish, the longest thinnest fish I have ever seen, They circled warily, watching me as I watched them. It is worth making the trip here even if you don't dive because there is so much to see in the shallow sheltered water.

One thing I enjoyed about the diving is that ours was the only boat on the reef so there was none of the crowding that you get in the more well-known destinations. The islands were completely deserted. We landed on the beach for a picnic at mid-day as it was out of turtle nesting season. For a sunlit hour, we shared the blue sea and sky, the craggy island and the white sand beach with the seabirds and the tiny lizards which lived in the crevices of the bare rocks.

Oman is a very interesting country and there is plenty to do on non-diving days, or for non-diving members of a group. There are ancient cities and forts, souks, beaches, deserts and mountains to explore. Late September to April is the best time to go, avoiding the summer heat and enjoying the warm, dry climate.

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Written by  Jenny Fowler.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

What dive center did you dive with in Oman?

I am currently working as a dive instructor in Dahab Egypt thinking of moving to Oman to work, can you suggest a dive center that you found reputable.

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