Saturday morning, 6am, in Muscat, Oman.
I have just parked my car on top of this small peak.
I have my snorkel and my swimmers on.
The sun is already up in the sky but I’m hoping to see transition between night and day time hunters.
I’m going to the beach.
I need to walk between the valleys for that and then cross a salty plateau.
I start my walk, it is so peaceful at this time of the day.
Some rare birds are signalling there presence but nothing else.
I turn around this big boulder on my way and cross an Omani shepherd.
I can’t understand any word he is saying except for « Salam aleikoum, kefalek ? » the translation for « Hello, how are you ? »
He is happy for these few arabic words, he is old but his eyes still are enlighted.
He shows me his goats few meters behind him and the valley around. I understand that they are moving to find better trees somewhere and then he is pointing to the sky so my interpretation is that they are moving to find shade for the goats. After this quick exchanges we leave each other.
I’m now crossing the salty plateau and the temperature is probably already more than 30 degrees celsius. We are in March and this is the end of the winter the cool season. Soon the temperature will raise.
I arrive at the beach and I’m delighted to see that I’m the only one here. I put on my mask and snorkel and start swimming.
This beach is magical to me. Because of the proximity of the corals. After few meters I see the first corals formations. They are really impressive and of every shapes. The diversity of this habitat is impressive. Trumpet fishes swim on the surface around me when coral grouper hide from my shade. In the distance an eagle stingray is still hunter smaller fishes on the surface. And green turtles are grazing on the sea floor. It is a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by all this life. Not concerned at all by my presence they leave their life in this shelter the corals represents.
After an hour it is time for me to go back. Feeling extremely peaceful after these encounters of the morning I walk back to the car. When suddenly, while I’m passing the same big boulder where I met the shepherd before, I surprise a baby Oryx, this one is still far but start to run straight to the steep hill on the opposite side of the valley. And with no effort climb it. On top he’s or she’s ? look back in my direction and when see’s that the there is no danger relax and walk again.
What a nice surprise for me. This is the first time that I can observe an Oryx in it’s natural habitat. This morning is really special and make me think that i need to work towards the conservation of wildlife. Because I want to do these encounters over and over. That’s why I will also keep the name and location of this beach for myself.