If asked to point out the country of Oman on a map, many folks would likely have a hard time doing it. Oman is a nation on the Arabian Peninsula, located right on the Persian Gulf between the countries of Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Vast deserts make up the majority of the country’s landscapes so it’s not really surprising that folks don’t put it on their “Top 10” lists when it comes to locations to scuba dive.
They really should.
Forty-four miles off the coast of Oman lies a chain of small islands known as the Dimaniyat Islands. The islands are actually a nature preserve, housing many different species of marine life and some pretty gorgeous coral reefs. For years, access to the islands was restricted but in recent years the country has started to allow tour boats into the area and now divers can experience the amazing underwater landscape and wildlife that the islands have to offer.
The Omani government has also stepped up in protecting the area. Tropical Cyclone Gonu hit the coast of the Arabian Sea back in 2007, and the government has done a pretty job since of trying to protect marine life on its coasts, including the Marine Life Preservation efforts, a part of Reef Check Oman.
The islands offer up 22 different diving sites, and thanks to the location of the islands and the high volume of plankton, you’ll have no difficulty in finding some pretty epic wildlife to dive with. There’s a pretty solid chance you’ll see manta rays, whale sharks and humpback whales.
In the shallower waters, you’ll find the gorgeous coral reefs, where such species as moray eels, green turtles, stonesfish, clownfish and giant kingfish will likely want to check you out. The shallow water makes for some fantastic visibility and very comfortable temperatures.
What about sharks?
Like most dive locations, sharks are pretty much ever-present. If you really want to see them in large numbers, though, including some fairly dangerous species, the rocks around Um As Sakun Island are the place to go. Here you’ll have no problem spotting tiger, reef and bull sharks.
Not many folks have dived the Dimaniyat Islands so you’ve got a good shot at putting a pretty amazing notch in your dive belt. It’s worth the trip.