Sunday, 22 September 2013

Lots of bridges and plenty of water....

Six months!  I haven't written a blog post for six months? How can that be? Where on earth did six whole months disappear into the abyss?  There has been, as the title of this post hints, a lot of water under those there bridges - not to mention the odd wadi or so.  Where to start?  For those of you who read Davids Dribblings, you may feel that you are a little up to datish.  But only just.

Life has pottered on here in Oman.  For the first time in I think my entire life I have no reason to organise my day (my week, my month) and the effect is disorienting to say the least.  You'd think that I'd revel in being able to do things I haven't been able to do for years -read a novel during the day guilt free, watch television during the day while sewing, embroidering or knitting (or patting the cat), go wandering, write blog posts lots of things.  But no. The days seem to manage to evaporate with there being absolutely nothing to show for them apart from a made bed, the occasional attack of dish washing and perhaps some clean clothes.  Well that's what it seems like anyway.  I suppose the reality is a little different.

In my last post I was playing with some natural dyes and about to learn to spin with an Omani drop spindle. What I was actually doing was feeling pathetic about not taking part in an exciting arts pentathlon with the rest of my household. So of course I had to help.  So apart from the legumes I played with saffron, indigo and madder.  I cannot believe how easy it is to get these things here!  Just pop down to the souq and pick them up!  This is what I made with my little balls of coloured wool. 
The back of the bag

The front of the bag.
It's a bag for keeping gaming pieces in.  Yes, I went a little crazy, but isn't it cute???????

Getting the hang of being able to dash away on the weekend has been difficult to come to terms with too, but we have been doing it. There would be lots of lovely pictures but we also go burgled and off went my brand new camera and my laptop (which was full of carefully downloaded pictures from the camera sigh) so there aren't any.  You will just have to make do with some from our Eid Al Fitr trip to Masirah Island, home of five different species of critically endangered turtles.  It was our first time camping by ourselves (I of course stressed about the food.  We had too much - who'd a thought?)

Masirah Island is someway down the coast of Oman and takes three or four hours to drive to the ferry.  We had been told many horror stories about how hard it was to get a place on the ferry, hundreds of cars and only a few places, they only ran at high tide, you could never tell when or where you had to be to get on.  "It'll be fine" says David (another thing to stress about) and, of course, it was.  It usually is.  We drove down the road towards the dock and they waved us into the last spot without us stopping.  We found out later that they had waited for us.

On the ferry.  It takes 11/2 to 2 hours to get to the island

After arriving we tootled off down the ocean side of the island to find somewhere to camp.  We were hopeful of seeing turtles and that was the side they nested on.  We hunted around, driving in and out of coves, on and off the beach, over some rocks (lots of rocks, we have a four wheel drive and David's not afraid to use it!) until we were almost out of light.  Then we found a beach with some sheltering little dunes and decided that was it for the night.  Cooking on the hibachi took a little longer than intended (let's not go into why foil wrapped potatoes shouldn't be baked on an hibachi) but we finally buried the potatoes and cooked the steaks anyway.

David attending the hibachi
After dinner (and maybe one or two beers) we drifted off for a walk on the beach.  It was hermit crab heaven!  There were shells of all shapes and sizes scuttling along the beach away from our torches, not to mention the very indignant looking crabs (the ones with the googlie eyes on stalks) who watched us from the edge of the waves.  We saw the tracks of turtles (they're a little obvious) before we came across a determined female who ignored us intently as she dug her hole.  It was pretty amazing I have to say and we might have been a bit excited.  Then I saw a little baby turtle.  I did a very silly happy dance and called over David.  By the time he got there (slowwwww, 2 seconds at least) there were hundreds, all appearing out of nowhere.  Now that is an experience that it not likely to be topped in a hurry.  I confess I picked up little turtles and turned them towards the sea.  They run around like crazy and really have not much idea where they're going.  Until the sea hits them and they become little swimming machines.  If I managed to get just one extra turtle into the circle of life I will be pleased.  

A teensie bit of our first campsite.
We had an excellent sleep, some beach walking and then David couldn't stay still any more.  We'd brought the kayak with us and we were determined to get it into the water.  Just not the ocean side with its rough surf and suspicious under tow so we packed up and headed round the Island.  

First of all we went in search of water.  There are wells dotted around the place and there is something very satisfying about getting your water from an ancient well.  At least from watching David get water from the ancient well......




We went an looked at the wrecked dow.  Still a tourist attraction, but it's slowly disappearing.  Some people who don't pay attention when taking photographs might also disappear.......

The Wrecked Dow.  If you want to see it, get there soonish.
We went hunting for a congenial camping spot on the Oman side of the island.  Bad idea.  They have wind surfing and paragliding schools there for a reason.  It's flat, featureless and, you guessed it, windy.  We eventually found a place where we could snuggle between spiky trees amongst the camel dung.  It was loud and encouraged us to rethink our method of fixing our shelter.

David relaxing after a hard day of something.  Notice the carefully placed kayak- otherwise known as Mr Windbreak.
A quick visit to town failed to find either a repair kit for the air mattress (spikey teeth marks were found and the mattress stayed on Masirah in a comfy rubbish bin) or a fisherman to sell us fish for dinner.  Fine.  I then discovered that not only were Johnny cakes great on an hibachi, the Camembert, smoked salmon and avocado went extremely well inside the johnny cake dough.

Nom Nom Nom

What happens when you don't use sunscreen. Ow!!!
I found all sorts of things on the beach, including this little bird made of seaweed, sand and shells.

We left Masirah swearing and declaring that we would be back.  We travelled across on the ferry to the sounds of young Omani blokes have a sing song on the deck and the sight of a pod of dolphins cutting across the bow.  Driving back along the coast road we discovered that the signs that told you to be careful of moving sand dunes were right

Sand blowing across the road, BACK to the desert.