A group of 8 kayakers met at the RAHRC early to collect their kayaks and transport them to the beach at Yiti. Half of the group stayed with the kayaks and the rest dropped the cars to Bandar Kharan before coming back to all set off together.
The conditions were very calm (albeit hot) and the only real risk was a one-armed boat driver who came uncomfortably close a number of times during the day – we think his friendly waving was not helping him steer. The coastline along from Yiti is mainly cliffs, which makes this route rather exposed if the conditions are rough.
We explored the inlet with beached dhow at Yankit, which was very tranquil, and stopped on a sandbar for a rest and snack. After that we carried on to Bandar Kharan and were ready for a rest in the shade and some lunch once we reached the first beach. After a relaxing lunch, we paddled across to a secluded beach and got out for some snorkelling above a nice coral bed in the calm, clear water.
Then it was a final push around to the fishing village where the cars were parked, loading up the kayaks and taking them back to the RAHRC. The total paddling distance was about 16km.
A group of 5 paddlers met at Manumah Beach for the 10mile/16km crossing to the Central Daymaniyat Islands. With certain safety precautions in place, including the presence of 2 support boats for most of the trip, the group set off at 08:30, heading for the horizon, guided by a northerly compass heading.
A modest NW breeze in the early morning kept the paddlers relatively cool although the associated waves required some effort and skill to negotiate. About half-way the support vessels caught up and then charged ahead to the islands which were slowing coming into view. After nearly 3 hours the group arrived at a picture-perfect beach, greeted by the 9 crew on both vessels.
The islands themselves have a certain Robinson Crusoe feeling to them, apart from a near-total lack of vegetation, some mangroves aside. The near-shore reefs and extreme clarity of the waters make this one of the world’s premier dive spots (or perhaps due to the warm waters too?).
We exchanged the kayaks for a place on-board and the whole group enjoyed a tour around the islands, dropping anchor at a few places (carefully on sandy spots to avoid damaging the beautiful corals) for superb snorkelling and swimming.
With NE wind on the return leg, the return journey was completed in a little over 2 hours, again part- shepherded by the support vessels. A nice team dinner at the club completed an excellent day, worthy of a repeat later in the year!.
NOTE: an open water crossing by kayak requires extensive preparation and sea kayaking experience and should not be attempted by unprepared and inexperienced individuals.
The Daymaniyat Island nature reserve is closed from May till October.
A sixteen kilometre paddle from Muttrah (Kalbuh Park) to Muscat Hills Beach Resort was successfully completed by six paddlers in March. Departing Kalbuh Park in breezy but calm sea state conditions that gradually increased throughout the morning to slight sea state that provided a more exciting end to the trip, as the weather closed in from the north.
The route was around Al Jazirah Island, past Cemetery Bay, Marina Bandar Al Rawdah, Qantab and finally to Bandar Al Jissih. The trip was completed by four sea kayaks and two surf skis in a little under four hours.
An early morning kayak and surf ski race was held from the club beach, around Fahal Island and back to the club.
A staggered start saw slower boats starting first. Steve took line honours who set off first and finished first in a Mission 420 touring kayak.
The fastest single was Jan on 68 mins 13 secs in a sea kayak. The fastest (and only) double was Richard and Paul on 56 mins 22 secs on a surf ski.
BIG “thank you” to Stephen and Jamie for helming the Sailing Committee Boat as safety cover and patrolling the course and Denise for most precise time keeping.
After a long period of planning, checking weather conditions, and two visits to MECA to obtain visit permits, finally three RAHRC paddlers started from fisherman's beach in Ar Rumays for the crossing to the Western Daymaniyat Islands.
A final discussion (in Arabic) with a local fisherman convinced us that the weather would be fine the whole day, and that our intended compass heading of 350 degrees would get us to our destination. For an hour this was all that we could see in the slight haze of the morning, but then the contours of the islands started to appear in front of us, while we had not yet lost sight of the beach. Reassuring that we were never out of sight of land!.
After two hours and ten minutes we had completed the 14 km crossing and started exploring the islands. The Northern cliffs bear the full brunt of the Northernly gales and that had resulted in magnificently carved rock formations. The south sides of the 4 islands here are more gently curved, with a beautiful sandy coral beach on the largest island, inviting for a lunch break. Snorkeling in the bay, we even got a glimpse of the beautiful underwater world which make the Daymaniyats a world-class diving destination.
The final highlight was the climbing of the jebel, granting us clear views of the Central Daymaniyat islands in the distance - our target for another day!.
A team of four paddlers met up at the club early for a paddle around the Suwadi islands, just past Barka. The weather forecast was good. Suwadi offers interesting padlding with a handful of rocky islands strewn along the Batinah coast line. This is quite remarkable, as the coastal plain is as flat as a pancake.
The islands are relatively close to shore, and are ideal objects for paddling exploration given their interesting shapes and forms. The biggest island has a recently built but abandoned tower on its top, from which we were able to see the Dimaniyat islands on the horizon faintly in the haze, about 20 km away. A fantastic day !
The wind and wave conditions during the public holiday in early December did not allow for a long day trip but were ideal for a short surf and play session at Shatti beach. With warm water temperatures and only a little wind, we could fully concentrate on the art of mastering the waves, although a few times we found ourselves outmanoeuvred by the joyful seas, and were driven back onto the beach lock stock and barrel.
A group of four surf skis and three sea kayaks made the trip from PDO beach around Fahal Island. Sea state at 1, calm (rippled) with 3 knots of wind made for near perfect conditions for the crossing.
Leaving PDO beach at 7.30am, reaching the island 8.15am and back to PDO by 9.15am. Total distance was 10.6km. A pair of Sooty Falcons were seen “on-the-wing” on the northern coast of Fahal Island.
Spectacular scenery and fun, although it was rather warm.
A group of seven sea kayakers made the trip from Yiti to Bandar Kharan. We started by leaving the boats and gear at Yiti before dropping the ‘finish’ cars at BK. On the water by 8.30, paddling out of Yiti Inlet we headed east along the coast. Five kilometres later, Yanket Inlet provided a welcome break from a northerly wind blowing force 2 to 3. Three kilometres later and two hours after departing Yiti, we entered Bandar Kharan.
The total distance was 14km and dolphins and turtles were seen along the way. The group experienced some challenging conditions along the coast that was finally rewarded with a super swimming stop on a sandy beach in BK. Afterwards, we explored through the islands and finally headed back to the vehicles at noon when the temperature started ramping up. Spectacular scenery and good fun, although it was rather warm.
This trip was planned for experienced and capable kayakers and should not be attempted by inexperienced paddlers.
At twilight on Monday 1st June, 14 intrepid paddles gathered at the Ras Al Hamra Club beach ready to set off on the 3rd Moonlight Paddle event. Enthusiasm and excitement were high as everyone prepared their kayaks. The paddle, organised by David, Kamal and Paul, took place under full moon conditions and required paddlers to have glow sticks to the front and back of the kayaks for visibility on the water. This event was for experienced paddlers due to the conditions and length of the paddle. The plan was to set off from the Ras Al Hamra Club beach at 19:00, paddle to the Crowne Plaza at Shatti Beach and return by 20:45.
As the kayakers entered the water, it was evident that there was a swell coming into the bay from the north so this was not going to be a smooth ride like the previous Moonlight Paddles held a couple of years ago. The weather was hot and humid and even the water was warm, providing little relief.
Once everyone was on the water, we proceeded to exit the bay and head towards Shatti Beach, around 3 km in the distance. The light was fading fast and we only had the moonlight to see with by the time we exited the bay. The kayakers split into two main groups, one faster (led by Paul) than the other (led by David) with Richard acting as sweeper to make sure no one was left behind. The camaraderie of the participants was evident as they proceeded with friends discussing aspects of their lives and planning other events over summer. The swell did not diminish once out of the bay and as the kayaks turned south to head into Shatti Beach, some of the craft were able to surf part of the way in. We rested at the turn around point near the Crowne Plaza with much chatter about the conditions and Irene went overboard for a swim to cool off.
On the return leg, we proceeded along the coast battling with the swell. Loic decided to go for a swim when his kayak got caught side on by the swell but managed to get back in his kayak with a little help. The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful and all of the kayakers made it back to the Club beach by around 20:30. At this point the kayaks and gear were washed and everyone gathered at the top of the boat club for food and refreshments and to discuss the latest adventures of the Moonlight Paddle.
A group of eight kayakers made the trip from Muttrah to Yiti. We started by loading the kayaks the night before and then dropping the ‘finish’ cars at Yiti beach early in the morning, before heading to the start point at Kalbuh park and leaving the beach by 8.30am.
The total distance was about 19km, and included stops at Cemetery bay, a paddle through the marina at Bandar al Rowdha and lunch/swim stop at a beach in Qantab. After that, we headed through the famous Shangri-La archway for another stop just outside Yiti beach, finishing early afternoon.
Spectacular scenery and good fun, although it was rather warm.
In perfect weather conditions, three experienced kayakers set out from the beach near Kalbuh park (Muttrah) to test out the practicality of following this beautiful stretch of coastline south to the Shangri-La hotel. After passing the first headland we went around the outside of Jazirat Island (so as not to kayak too close to the Palace) but did get a fantastic view of Al Jalaili fort. Shortly after that, we pulled into Cemetery Bay and visited both of the cemeteries.
After paying our respects, we continued along the coast to pass the Capital Yacht Club and then made a quick tour of the Marina Bandar al Rowdha to admire some of the spectacular yachts moored there.
The next sighting was the Al Bustan Palace hotel, which looks very impressive from the sea. After that the route was more exposed as we kayaked round some prominent rocky headlands until we could stop at a beautiful sandy beach through a rocky arch just past Qantab, where we rested and enjoyed our packed lunch.
The final run from Qantab to the Shangri La is the most beautiful stretch, with turquoise water and golden cliffs and beaches. We followed the meandering coastline through the Bandar Jissah area, before taking another rest-stop on a small beach opposite the Oman Dive Centre and finishing off the rest of our lunch.
From there it was a short stretch through the famous Shangri-La archway to the beach. We had discussed in advance with the Shangri- La management and they were most helpful in allowing us to land the kayaks there. Our families joined us at the hotel for a celebratory dinner (and brought our dry clothes).
The total distance paddled was a little over 20km and, including all the stops and sight-seeing, the journey time was approximately 4 1⁄2 hours.
It is a trip for experienced kayakers only as some of the route is quite exposed and the sea can be rough. With special thanks to the management of the Shangri-La hotel for their hospitality and kind permission to arrive by kayak.
The kayak club organised a ‘round the Island’ Paddle Race with classes for different kayaks, surf skis and paddle boards. The weather conditions were great for this approx. 9.5km route and the first paddlers set off at 6.30am, with the safety boat in attendance.
Given the enthusiastic responses from those who took part, we aim to make this a regular event – and now there are some times to try to beat next time!
Three of the kayakers braved the heat and humidity to make a trip to Bandar Kharan on 1st August. Bandar Kharan is only a short drive away and is easily accessible. This natural inlet has great scenery, coral reefs, and mangroves – and you can go out into the sea to explore further along the coastline. There are secluded beaches where it is possible to get out and stretch your legs, or – as we did - get into the water to cool down.
Thanks to Loic for the pictures, which is why he’s not in any of them.
With its extreme popularity, the club could not wait to to run another twilight moonlight event. On Monday 1st June, 18 intrepid paddles gathered at the Ras Al Hamra Club beach ready to set off on the 2nd Moonlight Paddle.
Enthusiasm and excitement were high as everyone prepared their kayaks. The paddle, organised by David, Kamal and Paul, took place under full moon conditions and required paddlers to have glow sticks to the front and back of the kayaks for visibility on the water. This event was for experienced paddlers due to the conditions and length of the paddle. The plan was to set off from the Ras Al Hamra Club beach at 19:00, paddle to the Crowne Plaza at Shatti Beach and return by 20:45.
Special thanks to our sponsors – OmanBicycles – Your one-stop shop for quality bikes.
The water lapped gently against the beach in the fading light as twenty intrepid canoeists prepared their kayaks. Greetings were made between friends and strangers, buoyancy vests were donned and cyalume sticks were attached to boats for visibility. As the kayaks were launched into the water you could feel the excitement of the journey ahead. This was to be the first Ras Al Hamra Boat Club (RAHBC) moonlight paddle. The stage was set as the full moon came up over the horizon and the suns light slowly faded as they left the bay on their journey to Shatti Beach.
The concept of the moonlight paddle came earlier in the year with three friends looking out over the bay. From those initial thoughts, much work went into the planning of the event by Kamal, especially on the safety aspects. David had paddled in a number of overnight marathons and so had experience in the safety aspects and what to expect. Cyalume sticks were attached to the boats to provide visibility in case of boat traffic as well as to keep track of the paddlers. All twenty paddlers wore buoyancy vests, had some experience in kayaking, and a safety boat manned by Stephen Martin was on standby in case of emergency.
As the group left the bay, David led the pack with Paul Sanders as sweeper to make sure no one was left behind. The weather conditions were ideal with a smooth sea surface and gently rolling waves. The air was clear and warm with the moonlight filtering down to light the way. The kayaks gently glided along the surface of the water with the sounds of the waves gently lapping against the limestone cliffs nearby. The first excitement came as the sea came alive with small pike like fish jumping out of the water around the boats.
The paddlers soon formed into groups of kayaks going at similar speeds with many interesting discussions ensuring. One person I was paddling next to informed me that the full moon on that night was the closest it has been to the Earth for many years. Obviously we picked the right night fort the paddle! As we paddled pass the cliffs and beaches on the way to Shatti, the magnificent houses lining the cliff tops were lit up forming a beautiful and peaceful scene.
The group took around half an hour to reach the end point at Shatti Beach where we stopped for a drink and a chat about the fish and turtles we had seen before heading back. Several funny scenes occurred on the journey back to the RAHBC with fish jumping into boats. One person managed to collect six fish in their boat but managed to get them out without capsizing. As the group headed around the last cliff line into the bay, the multitude of cyalume lights reflected of the water. It really was a special scene to behold.
The paddlers were met at the end by the sponsors of the event (Linda Stevenson of Risail Sports & Leisure) who donated a kayak to the RAHBC. A flurry of activity then ensured with boats and gear being hauled up the beach, washed and cleaned. The evening was capped off by some food, drinks and brief speeches. The consensus had by all was that the event was an outstanding success and we should do it all again sometime so keep watch out for Moonlight paddle 2!
Special thanks to Linda Stevenson (sponsor), the RAHBC committee Aly Brandenburg (Commodore) and Feather Mills (Treasurer).