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Oman: Who should I dive with?

Discussion in 'The Gulf' started by cainslie, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. cainslie

    cainslie Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ballito, South Africa
    Hi All,

    As you can see, I'm brand new to SB. In fact, I'm brand new to scuba too - got my OW last weekend! :)

    Anyway, I was in Muscat in May for a few weeks on business and a colleague and I took a dive charter with Euro Divers out of the marina. Obviously since I wasn't qualified at the time, I snorkeled while he dived. We had planned a trip to Dimaniyat but an issue with the boat motors meant we would take forever to get there, so we went to Fahal island instead. I snorkeled at East Bay, Ray Bay and North Point and it was really fantastic. I've snorkeled a few places in South Africa and quite a lot in Mauritius so I've seen a bit in my time.

    Anyway, long story short, I'm back in Oman early next month, but will only have time to dive on one weekend and I really need a recommendation for an operator who'll go to Dimaniyat.

    Don't get me wrong, Euro Divers were GREAT and I'm happy to go with them again if I have to, but I really would prefer to drive up to Barka and take an operator from there to save time on the boat. A 30m boat trip is going to be a heck of a lot better than 60m+ out of Muscat.

    From what I've read on the 'net, operators seem to be up and down, changing hands and I get mixed reports across the board. I would really appreciate a personal recommendation for an operator that goes out to Dimaniyat.

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
  2. Benzonar

    Benzonar Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: United Arab Emirates
    Well there is Extra Divers at Al Sawadi beach resort, that is the closest for going to the Daymaniyats. However I heard recently that Al Sawadi was closing soon, so not totally sure what the situation is there.

    Another alternative is Oman Sail that are based at the Millenium Hotel in Mussanah. They take a bit longer to get to the islands but they may be your next best bet if Extra Divers are no longer at Al Sawadi
  3. shortdivemedic

    shortdivemedic ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Riyadh KSA
    I have dove with the Oman Dive Center and I liked it

  4. Abdullah

    Abdullah Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Abu Dhabi
    Searcaigh had good things to say about Oman Sail out of the Millenium Resort near Mussana (a few miles up the beach from Sawadi).

    Most of the other dive ops are operating out of the same marina as EuroDivers. ODC has it's own marina, but is further away from Daminyat than EuroDivers.
    Searcaigh likes this.
  5. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    +1 on Oman Sail and Dive, big boat and fairly fast, they organised good rates at the Millennium too, cheaper and better accommodation than Al Sawadi by a mile.
  6. Komi

    Komi Angel Fish


    Also, there’s a motel about 5 km inland from the Millennium, where you can stay very cheaply, if all you need is a bed and a shower. I think I paid 15 OMR last October.
    Gulf Sand Hotel, Tel 26869999
    23°45'47"N 57°34'41"E

    The Extra Divers at Al Sawadi were very good too, but I had the impression they were overbooked and I only got to dive on the day I booked because I was happy to take the early morning trip leaving pre-dawn.

    Next time I’ll remember to take my snorkel (some very good snorkeling during the surface interval), as well as my binoculars (a pod of dolphins on the way and some interesting birds, including Phaethon aethereus).
  7. cainslie

    cainslie Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ballito, South Africa
    Hi Everyone. Thank you all for your replies, very handy to get all these diverse opinions. I had 4 dives over this last weekend and have just emailed a colleague of mine about the dives - I'll past my email below as well as it may be of interest.

    We went to Bandar Khayran on Friday with Euro Divers out of CAYC – first dive was at Cave Rock and it was pretty amazing. DM said vis had been bad the last 2 days, but it had cleared a lot to 10m+. It’s a wall dive and as you round the corner into the “bay” the soft coral is incredible. There’s a HUGE wall of yellow soft coral that extends as far as you can see in every direction. DM was a great French guy called Pep who was really helpful and friendly – he had a torch and showed us all sorts inside little caves and under corals. Here we saw 2 lobster that were insanely big, tentacles over a meter long! I would guess they were easily 5kg+, the tail alone would be about as fat around as my calf!

    The next dive was at Seahorse bay – this one is shallow with rocks and coral and a sandy bed as well. Very easy dive, lots of fun. I spotted a scorpionfish on a rock and a sole on the sand. Here we lost one of our team for a little bit – one of her weights fell out of a pocket. While searching for her I found the weight on the floor and we managed to get her back into the game. Was a really chilled but fun dive.

    Both of these dives, I dived with 6kg and a used 3mm shorty – my buoyancy was awesome, very chuffed with that, now to figure out my trim to prevent the sinky legs.

    On the way back the DM was talking about diving the next day and I figured, why not? Got back to the marina and tried to book, but they were full. Karin mentioned that Euro Divers had taken over the dive operation at Al Sawadi as of 1[SUP]st[/SUP] July so I booked in there.

    About a 1:15 drive from Muscat up to Al Sawadi, I was there by 8am and ready to go. Since Euro are brand new there, they’re just getting started with the operation and are doing some construction to get it all ready, but it was all well organised. They have brand new Aqualung gear there – everything except the tanks are brand new – I had to pull the labels off my BC and wetsuit and they assembled regulators and octos from their boxes on demand as we all arrived. The South African chap (William) from CAYC seems to be running the show at Al Sawadi. Euro seem really great so I think they’ll do a good job there.

    Boat was the same one we took to Fahal from CAYC previously – nice and spacious. Sea was nice and calm and it was only about 15 minutes to Dimaniyat.

    First dive was at Sira Island – dropped in on the NE, followed the island eastwards and were picked up on the SW. Pretty strong current as we rounded the NW corner, but truly beautiful! Lovely coral gardens, great fish, big cuttlefish, soft corals. Very cool. Vis was OK around 10m. I dived with 6kg again, but with the brand new wetsuit it seems this wasn’t enough. Struggled with the descent to about 8m, after which it was OK. Safety stop was tough, I was too positively buoyant and had to swim down quite a bit. All this swimming meant I only lasted 40 minutes to 50bar.

    After an hour SIT we went to the next spot (Junn West Wall) and dived a similar profile. Dropped down the wall, travelled west and around the corner, picked up on the SW point. Vis here was worse, but still not that bad. Dived with 7kg and was much better. A bit of confusion with the DM coming to join our group and leaving again, I followed him and by the time I realised it was him I had lost the group in the vis. He was heading to the surface because he was still on the same tank from the last dive so I turned around and couldn’t see my group. Damn! I did see another couple in front of me so went to them, told them I’d lost the group and buddied up with them. (Felt a bit bad about my group – hoped they weren’t searching for me!) All good – they had seen me follow the DM.

    Anyway, this site was amazing, especially after rounding the eastern corner and coming to a huge flat oasis of coral. Very cool. I was at 50bar so told the couple I was with that I would surface and see them later. Safety stop – surfaced at 48minutes and about 45bar. It’s crazy, one day your buoyancy is great and the next it’s terrible! That’s the problem with renting gear, it’s always different and you don’t get to standardise anything. Next time, I’m bringing my BC, wetsuit, regs etc and I’ll just hire tanks and weight.

    So, all in, an awesome 2 days getting wet. Below listed the species I can remember seeing until I got tired of typing! :)

    Eagle Ray
    Honeycomb Moray
    Paleface Moray
    MONSTER lobster!!!
    Sand Lizardfish
    Broadbarred firefish x3 in one cave together
    Bearded Scorpionfish
    Redmouth Grouper
    Smooth Grouper
    Lovely, BIG cuttlefish
    Whitespotted Grouper
    Epaulet Grouper
    Arabian Bluestriped Dottyback
    Bandtail dottyback
    Persian Dottyback
    Yellowtail Scad
    Bluestripe Snapper
    Various sweetlips & rubberlips
    Various butterflyfish
    Longfin bannerfish
    Yellowear angelfish
    Emperor angelfish
    Yellowbar angelfish
    Various anemonefish
    Various damselfish
    Many huge parrotfish
    Green Turtle
    Plenty different Gobies
    Various surgeonfish
    Moorish Idol
    Moses Sole
    Quite a few triggerfish (especially the picasso)
    HUGE shoal of redtoothed triggerfish (very dark blue variety with striking blue tail)
    Some MONSTER boxfish - plenty of them

    I give up, too many!!
    Searcaigh likes this.
  8. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    Thanks for the trip report, I will check out Euro Divers the next time I am down there.

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