Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Out and about: Dolphin watching

Dolphins Oman
I once read a very disturbing article about dolphins and other animals that are generally considered cute. It was so disturbing I insist on sharing it with everyone, link. That said, it didn't make me want to see dolphins in Oman any less (I just won't ever swim with them).

There are a few companies in Muscat that offer the trip, some are combined with full-day tours or snorkelling. I expect they are all much of a muchness and I selected one based on the cheapest deal (I booked my trip with Azzha Tours).

We departed from Marina Bandar al Rowdha, near Muttrah, at 10am (there is also a departure at 8am). We were fortunate that the sea was calm that day and we whizzed off into the horizon and after half-an-hour had nothing but ocean surrounding us.

Marina Bandar al Rowdha,
Boat ride Oman
Then the search was on. At this point, we were one of a few of boats looking out for dolphins. The sign that someone had spotted some were that one boat would speed off and so would the rest behind him. We saw a small pod of dolphins who would duck under the water as we got closer and would reappear again further away a little later.

Dolphin watching Oman
How many dolphins you see really just comes down to your luck on the day. We were lucky to see any and I managed to get one "classic" dolphin picture. We were told that only days before there were hundreds.

I couldn't help but wonder how responsible the dolphin watching organisation is here. There were about five/six boats chasing the dolphins on our visit, and this must cause a disturbance and put the dolphins under stress. The boats did all seem to stop a distance away and switch off their engines, which I understand is the rule, but considering the dolphins would always duck away and appear so much further I wondered if we would have been better watching from one spot or making a much slower approach. So if I arrange another trip again I will make sure I do some research first.