Whenever we think diving, we usually think of the Andamans, or Bali, or the Great Barrier Reef. But one diving destination that’s stayed out of the tourism limelight (so far) is Oman. Located on the Tropic of Cancer and defined by three seas — the Arabian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Sea — Oman boasts an abundance of live coral, and a rich variety of marine life. Here are some of the diving sites in the country:
This group of nine islands, protected by UNESCO, offers 12 dive sites that feature majestic coral gardens and reefs where you can see large pelagic fish, turtles, rays, leopard sharks and if you’re lucky, whale sharks too.
Reefs here boast of abundant and diverse corals. The island is also famous for the sharks that visit the waters around it- mainly black tip reef sharks and lemon sharks. Needless to say, it provides rare opportunities for those looking to go up close to marine life.
Made up of tidal creeks and sheltered bays, this coastal town offers miles of desolate sandy beaches and small islands accessible by boat. Bandar Khayran is ideal to find some calm on a holiday. The world under water here is equally spectacular - beautiful rock falls, walls and reefs dotted with colorful corals and tropical fish. The region has five dive sites: Al Munassir shipwreck, Mermaid Cove, Quriyat wreck, Ras Abu Daoud and Shaik Saif.
Al Munassir Wreck
Picture this: a 3,000-ton ship sitting upright on the sandy bottom under 30 meters of turquoise waters of Bandar Khayran, close to the capital, Muscat. Sunk in 2003, the wreck is now developing into a great diving site that features schools of snapper and goat fish. You need an Advanced Open Water certification to explore this diving site.
Bandar Jissah features five dive sites with wonderful corals and boulders to swim around. With a shallow depth of 15 meters, an open water certification is enough to dive here.