As I had to work the previous "National Day" for Oman, and this weekend was the UAE National Day ("good for Juliet") I was able to slip away from the office for 1 day TOIL, and we decided to head to the island of Maseriah.
Dora looking happy as we had arrived at the ferry.
Why Maseriah ?
- Juliet had not been there ever
- It was 11 years since I was last there (Alas when Eilse McKiver passed away)
- Oppertunity for an IOTA activation
The national ferry company nice new ferries which run to a schedule !! Next time we will 100% use these guys.
From Muscat Maseriah is about 8 hours by road, and I break this down as
- Muscat to Sinaw 2 Hours
- Sinaw to Film 2.5 Hours
- Film to Shanna 0.5 hours
- Ferry 1.5 Hours
Grand Total... 6.5 hours. But you said it was 8 hours ? Well spotted - you see there is only 1 ferry company with a published set of sailings - and that is the goverment National Ferry Company (looks very nice by the way). Everyone else needs to use a private ferry - and they only sail when they are FULL.
When I say FULL I mean you can not fit a Fiat-500 on the deck unless you start stacking cars.
On the way out we waited a mere 3 hours for the ferry to fill up, on the way back - a mere 20 minutes.
When you get off the ferry the nicest camping areas are at least 1 hours drive....
8 Hours is the time from Muscat to Maseriah camping !!
As it was the UAE national day the ferries were very busy indeed. 80% of the cars going over were UAE - we witnessed a group of Indian expats hire their own private ferry (at some cost) - but we along with lot of Emiratees sat and waited for our ferry to slowly fill up.
When we eventually left - the 90 minutes trip only felt like 2 hours.. as there is nothing to do. We were at least able to get out of our cars - some people we packed in so tightly - you could not even walk past their vehicle.
South to campsite
On leaving Hilf (which I confess looked just the same as the previous times I had been there)
We headed out to the Indian Ocean side of the island - past where the BBC site used to be - opposite there is now a very large police station and what used to be the Crown Plaza Hotel, has been rebranded. Down the Indian Ocean side we drove, until Dora - who was the "unwell explorer" needed a rapid exit from vehicle. In fact she tested all her bodies emergancy evaucuation routes in about 5 minutes. This was worrying - as it is usually me who suffers from aliments when travelling - but if Dora has it first....
I found what I though would be a nice campsite - and leaving Dora in the car, set up the tent, shade etc. After some fluids and Advil colour slowly returned to Dora's cheeks.
Simply excellent - we had a nice spot, had only 1 set of visitors - who were happy to chat to us in Arabic, and seemed happy how we were parked (off the beach, clean - no lights etc) - not stealing from their fish traps we had spotted also probably contributed to the generaly good behaviour from both sides.
A little frustrating to be honest. My KX3 seemed unable to output more than 5W of power, despite recent improvements via the firmware regarding the output power. I tried to check if this or that setting was to blame - but in the end, I feared that the recent ATU and 2M modules had somehow caused something unpleasant to occur.
I managed to work 10 countries - the furthest being Luxembourg - and the closest being the UAE - which ironically was much easier in AS-014 rather than from Muscat.
On returning home, I discovered that the power leads are simply to skinny - and by replacing them with thicker core leads I am able to pull higher power. Sometimes the simple things are the most difficult to find.
I am continuing my love-hate relationship with buddypole, whilst it is a well thought out - easy to use system, it is one that has a 0% chance of surviving if anything goes wrong. With a few string gusts of wind this weekend, one of the tent pegs was pulled out of the ground and seconds later the whole things crashed to the ground. The result 2 totally broken poles. An exact replica of Dec 2015 !!
I can fix the current breakages I think with a set of jubilee clips - but I lost 18 hours of opererating due to this failure.
Nothing, we saw nothing cool except
- Egyptian Vultures
And as for fishing...
There are lots more images in the gallery.