A guest blog, written by Frank and Ellen.
Ten days in the tire tracks of Roel and Suus.
Packed with heavy backpack bags including tent, mats, all kinds of tent pegs and natural syrup waffles and coffee, we landed Thursday July 21, 2016 in the sweltering Muscat. At 22:00 the temperature was still 39 degrees! Oh man!
Until the end we had to wait and see if we could make the road trip through Oman together with ‘de Overlanders’. We had already drawn up a whole wish list; diving in al shifah, to the shinkhole at Bimham, hopefully in live flesh sea turtles see at Ras al Jinz, through the sand dunes in the Wahiba Sands, tracks in the mountains at Nizwa, etc.
Saturday morning at 10 o’clock we had arranged in the parking lot at the car rental where we could pick up our 4wd Toyota landcruiser. We still had the Writer quarter so we could still refuel. During the refueling we saw Roel and Suus driving past. We again to the parking where we finally saw Roel and Suus again.
The course was set to the dive resort where Suus, Ellen and Frank went diving that afternoon. In retrospect, we also understood why they had indicated that you could dive better in the morning. The sea was rough, high waves and a decent current. Ellen’s stomach was not completely resistant to that. Two beautiful dives, the first went to a wreck of an old naval ship at 18 meters depth, at the end another beautiful ray that flew past us. The second dive to the coral. Unfortunately, the Lionsfish was already in this area! But not too bad a nice dive between all the beautiful colors.
Camping life in Oman
Wildcamping in Oman is allowed and we have gratefully used all evenings. Our hidden beers (in Oman it is illegal to drink, but we were still lucky with a secret stock Grolsch, thanks Ro!) Gave that extra holiday feeling on the deserted beaches and in the rugged mountains. The first night directly on the beach (after we had finished our camp in the dark) but such a cold rascal pulled loose..mmmm.
The next morning we had to dig a bit because the car of Roel and Suus was stuck, even though Suus said the night before for the dunes it is beautiful too … but the men wanted to be on the beach. It is nice to see how Roel and Suus have already acted on each other. Suus puts the water in the morning and when the whistle boiler whistles it means that Roel has to go out to make coffee.
Cooling in wadies and eye to eye with nesting turtles at Ras al Jinz
Wadi Shab was also beautiful, after walking through the bags on our heads and a hike of about 45 minutes between the high mountains we had to cover the last part swimming. Through a narrow crack in the rocks, with clear blue water we came swimming near a waterfall. It seemed like a subtropical swimming paradise, but then just in nature really! Oh man! The evening at Ras al Jinz gave us goose bumps, because we saw the big sea turtles coming ashore in the light of the moon. For hours we sat on the beach to watch how these animals dug their holes and then lay their eggs. You realize how unique our nature is!
We are surprised by the country Oman
You read in advance the travel guides about the culture, the faith, the position of the woman, so you still have a bias. You form an opinion about something that you can not formulate an opinion about. And now in retrospect we also think that our opinion should be adjusted.
Oman is a safe and hospitable country, where respect is great and you do not become “harassed” as a tourist. A country where you do not (yet) have to pay for tourist attractions and where women certainly have a ‘lesser’ position in certain respects. However, you see and notice that women make use of the possibilities to feel free. And Suus and Ellen also received a lot of attention from the local men. For example, the water bag was filled for them by a water tank truck.
Stuck in the sand, lost and no reach in the desert
The great thing about traveling together is that you also make plans together! It is nice to see Roel and Suus that they trust and respect each other as they are dependent on each other during this adventure. Those who know Roel and Suus a little bit know that they both have a strong opinion. And precisely because of that, making the right choices on their journey.
During this trip we thought we were well prepared, like our idea to drive 185 kilometers through the desert. Enough fuel, check! Enough water, check! Enough food, check! And then it appears that the track on the card is not as hard as expected. Within 18 kilometers we were completely stuck; the rental car had no shovel, no ramps, no more mobile coverage and no place where the other car could stop to help each other. We were lost and then it comes to ‘survival skills’. That’s what we call adventure! Oh Man!
After a discussion at the campfire in the evening decided to drive back the same day the next day and to go into the desert by another way! And what was it there? red colored high sand dunes where we of course had to play a bit with the car!
Curious looks on the go
That Roel and Suus are doing something unique is nice to see; locals stop when they see the car coming by. When we drove back, you saw the necks running along the road, ‘huh, we do not know that license plate’. Like the moment we get out of the desert and our water bag and tank are filling. A man with his wives come and ask where they come from. This way the story is told and the man asks if we do not want to come to their coffee with them. Unfortunately that was the desert that we just came out. But it does indicate that people see them as adventurers and like to hear their story.
After driving some beautiful routes through the mountains, where Suus wanted to take a picture of the breathtaking landscape around the bend, we drove back towards the coast. There on the beach the camp made and our last delicious cold beers enjoyed. It was a very nice experience and especially to get a look at the world from an overlander (although Oman was about the easiest country to date). As our taxi driver said on the last day at the departure of Roel and Suus, “ohhh shit you’re crazy, whoow shit what you are doing that it’s my biggest dream, you’re amazing !!” And that’s the way, not everyone would make such a nice trip, but you do and it’s amazing !!
We have only been allowed to take part for a week, but oh man, what have we become jealous! Good luck with the rest of your trip and lots of fun !!
Love Frank & amp; Ellen