When your family crosses the seven seas to visit you abroad, you have to make their time memorably spectacular. It presents the perfect opportunity to do something unique and special, and this is exactly what our friend did earlier this year. Her 80-year old mother came to Oman, accompanied by a spunky and active 80-year old couple. In honor of the special guests, we were invited to a chartered cruise around Muscat. It was a holiday celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s birth (peace be up0n him) for most, but Urbndervish had to work. Lil’ Z didn’t like the idea of leaving behind Baba, but she was quickly consoled by the presence of one of her little buddies.
At around 10am, we arrived at Marina Bander Rowdha to meet our traditional dhow boat and its most capable captain, Shaykh Said. Furnished like an authentic Omani majlis or sitting room, we sat scattered around the deck to balance our weight. The Star of the Sea can hold up to 40 passengers, but only 10 took to the sea on this day. Bottles of water, dried dates, fresh fruit, and marble cake made a welcoming spread. Once we set out, most of us sat frozen, glued to the view of the bright blue ocean and sandy tan mountains. The little ones anxiously bounced on the cushioned seats and rolled around the carpeted deck. The adults snapped pictures feverishly.
Leaving the land behind us, we continued around the coast until we slowed down at a shallow point in the ocean suitable for snorkeling, diving, and kayaking. Once the anchor dropped, one of our 80-year old guests quickly suited up and dove back-first into the water. A few others followed but the weather was too cool and windy for us to oblige. We were content to enjoy the view, bundled in our sweatshirt hoodies. Lil’ Z’s buddy was brave enough to join his dad in the ocean, but his chattering teeth and frigid frame quelled her desire to swim.
Once everyone returned on board, we turned around and lunch was served. Much like a typical Omani meal, we were served roasted chicken, seasoned rice, salad, pita bread, and hummus, which was unfortunately covered with ground meat. Thankfully, I packed a thermos of black-eyed peas for ourselves–a tasty addition to the rice and salad. The meal quickly became fast food as the boat sped back to the marina. The majority of the food successfully made it to our mouths, while the rest flew to the ground. With the meal concluded, we were able to clean off the misplaced food in the boat’s single lavatory.
The familiar sights of forts, castles, and the Royal Palace were pointed out on our return. It was hard to believe that four hours had passed so quickly and before we knew it, we were back on land at about 2:30pm. We thanked Captain Said and his sons for a safe journey and steadied our sea legs for the long drive home.