Monday 18 February 2008

Oman: Turtle Beach

We chatted with the owner after breakfast while the chaps bought souvenir bits of string and Omani foot and hand decorations from the bedouin ladies.

Jamie drove us out of the desert and we continued to Ras Al Hadd using a shortcut to avoid Sur. The short section of road is under reconstruction after being washed away by Gonu and it terminated at a couple of workers eating their lunch. They vaguely gestured an alternative route and we eventually reached the main road again. We stopped to view Sur shipyard across the tidal bay before continuing eastward to the end of the Arabian peninsula.

After settling on the beach at the Turtle Beach Resort we spotted a shoal of tuna whizzing around and we donned snorkling equipment for the chase. They were a bit too nippy, so we ambled around with smaller fish before visiting our favourite moray eel that has obviously been eating a few too many pies judging by the size of his head.

As evening fell we sat in the bar overlooking the sea as the tide crashed soothingly. I don't think they want to go home. At 8.30 we drove to Ras Al Jinz to see the turtles.

Mrs M and I have been to this reserve many times and this was not one of our best experiences. There was no introductory talk by the head ranger and our large group was escorted to the beach to huddle around two turtles. There was no commentary from the guides who just shone torches at the turtles' rear flippers with apparent disinterest while cameras and telephones were thrust in that general area. There was the usual fuss as one person's flash blinded one of the creatures. 'Excuse me, but that's myyy phone!' she said indignantly as the device was ripped from her guide that took the shot. 'The flash comes on automatically,' she agued, unaware of the weakness in her argument.

I waited patiently for the torches to be extinguished to take a few experimental shots with long exposures. Using ASA 1600 and a 20 second exposure created a reasonable result, but focusing was almost impossible. I remember when distance settings used to be marked on camera lenses. Do not be confused by the photograph. A long exposure and some Photoshop sorcery belie the fact that there was almost total darkness.

We drove back to the resort for late night tea. Very civilised.

1 comment:

Mike Barwell said...

A great photo of a turtle head, Steve. You'll get a reputation like mine!