Sultanate of Oman
Sultanate of Oman
Matthew and John made their first expedition to the Arabian Sea in September of 2007, traveling through Atlanta and Dubai to Muscat, the capital city of Oman. The flight from Atlanta to Dubai is one of the longest in the business — over 14 hours on a 777! Arriving in Muscat late in the evening, we were pleasantly surprised when we were escorted from the airport bus to a limousine to be greeted at the Sultan’s private reception facility thanks to the VIP with whom we were traveling in connection with John’s military armor work.
The Sultan took power in 1970 at a time when there were few passable roads except for the one connecting the primitive airport to the city. There were virtually no telecommunications or other modern services. During his rule the Sultan has shown a virtuous concern for his country, free of corruption and emphasizing equality for woman, an unusual practice in this part of the world. At the time of our visit, the Sultan’s Ambassador to the United States was a woman; we met several female ministers and observed women in all walks of life wearing clothes as they wished, driving vehicles, and enjoying suffrage similar to that in the United States. In fact two of the senior officials at the Ministry of Fisheries were women!
In our opinion and experience the Sultanate of Oman is one of the most enlightened and delightful societies in the world due in large part to the enlightened and loving care demonstrated by the Sultan.
We stayed at the Hyatt in Muscat and the first morning rose early and did a 90 minute snorkeling survey of the beaches outside of the hotel and Muscat. In June 2007 a severe Cyclone hit Oman at Muscat and moved rapidly up the canyons (wadi) dumping an estimated 20 inches of rain in a few hours and causing a massive and deadly wash to run down the canyons and into the sea, taking many homes and structures with it. We were able to see the damage this did to the reef that morning with our own eyes.
We were escorted diving on reefs and with meetings with the Ministry of Fisheries by our friend Mohamed Al Barwani, the former Minster of Fisheries and the former Sultan’s representative to most worldwide fisheries commissions.
Matthew was invited to give a presentation on aquaculture at the University and the Ministry’s Field facility north of Muscat. He presented on our work with clown fish at SA and the talk generated interest, questions, and discussions.
Oman sits on the far Eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula to the east of Saudi Arabia, southeast of the UAE, and north of Yemen. The waters are full of life, enjoying a very rich upwelling from deep waters. In the very south there are temperate conditions with year-round rainfall. Clownfish and a wide variety of marine animals are in abundance. The Sultan has been very consistent in protecting the marine environment of Oman. One of the rarer species of clownfish, Amphiprion omanensis, is thought to be found only in the reefs surrounding southern Oman.