King of winter is on his way to Norway. I love winter, just as much as I love warm waters, wind and sun. Today, I am having a #ThrowbackTuesday to the desert island with steady winds and waves, Masirah island in Oman.
It is not easy to find good waves, consistent wind and warm waters during the summer. We studied the The World – Kite and Windsurfing guide over and over, and googled and googled. Finally, we decided to go on a real adventure. Our goal was a small, remote place on the Arabian peninsula, the Masirah island!
Overall and climate
Read about how I review the spots -> here!
The best season for windsurfing is from May to September. The wind direction is south-south/west, starboard tack. We went there for two weeks in July 2012. The probability for wind speed over four Beaufort is > 80 %. We were not disappointed, and sailed every day! Most days, we went to the most popular wave spot Khasit on the east side of the island. The waves here are perfect developing your wave sailing skills.
There are not many hazards here, just be aware of some rocks to left of the spot. Alex sailed in the waves and I sailed on the inside. The spot can get «crowded» in the middle of the day. Masirah is getting more and more popular, but the number of windsurfers is nothing compared to most other spots of this quality. We were the only Norwegians (aka we were called the Norwegian couple). There were two Swiss and a handful Italians.
The beach is beautiful! A few times, I walk down the beach for some yoga with the most beautiful view.
Some days, I took the car and drove across the island to the beautiful kite lagoon with completely flat and green waters. You drive to Sur Masirah, and continue for 300 meters. You see a sign and take right. You continue on the desert track and you will soon see the lagoon and the beach camp. I usually had the whole lagoon to myself with a few kiters on the inside! It is ideal for beginners and freestyle. The hazard is that is a too shallow, some places. It is easy to injure yourself if you crash. And there are some really spikey shells, so I always wore shoes.
We also went freeriding at Marsis. This spot is located on the other side of the island from Khasit. There is a road in the middle of the island, where you can drive across. And again, normally we had the place to ourselves!
The climate is warm, warm, warm. No wetsuit is needed, only a rash guard for the sun! Remember that you are visiting a Muslim country. However, I did not windsurf in a burkini ;).
Desert driving tips – It is very easy to get stuck in the sand. We did! If you do, deflate you tires to get a better grip. Hopefully, you can get out of the sand.
How to get to Masirah island, Oman?
Masirah island is located on the coast of Oman. We traveled from Europe. Several major airports have direct flights. The cheapest for us, was a direct flight from London. You fly to the capital, Muscat. Here you will need to rent a car.
You drive to the ferry terminal Shannah, a drive of 284 miles / 457 km. You can drive through the desert or along the coast. The shortest route is through the desert. We drove both, through the desert going to the island and along the coast on our way home.
When we visited Masirah, it was only old ferries. Going over to the island in the middle of a week day was no problem. We did not pre-book. We just came to Shannah and waited. I read that new ferries are running and you can pre-book here on National Ferries Company.
Coming back was a complete chaos. Going from Hilf on Masirah was not a problem, but when arriving at Shannah there were maybe 50-70 cars waiting. The old ferries do not have a specific docking spot, so there was not cue system. There was not exit lane, so we could not get off the ferry. They ferry even impaled a couple of cars as the waves moved the old boat. After an hour of honking the horns, lots of yelling and screaming we got off!
None! You must bring your own gear. We traveled with 90 kg, two large board bags and large roller bag. We brought 4,2, 4,7 and 5,3 sails. Remember also to bring spare parts. We brought an extra mast, mast foot, mast extension and sail and board repair equipment.
Where to stay?
You can choose between different accommodations based on your wallet. In Hilff, you find some budget hostels, Danat Al-Khaleej and Masirah hotel. Just outside the small town, we have the 4* hotel Masirah island resort, where we stayed. A very nice hotel, but more expensive.
If you want go very low budget and beduin style, you should stay at Masirah beach camp close to the village Sur Masirah. The location is unique, right by the huge and lovely kite lagoon. The beach camp has the closest location to all the spots. If we go back, we would maybe combine Masirah island resort and some nights at the beach camp!
I believe it is allowed to bring tents and camp on your own around the island.
Where to eat?
We had dinner at the hotel or we went to the small town Hilf. Here you find restaurants with great local, Turkish or Indian food. Do not expect a fancy menu. Some places we could choose between a big fish or a small fish with several good sauces, bread, rice etc. In Hilf, you also find local shops and a pharmacy.
It is very cheap. No alcohol is served at the restaurants. At the hotel we could buy beer and wine. There was a hotel bar behind some dark windows, but we did not visit it. When going in to the town in the evenings, I always made sure that I dressed to respect muslim traditions, wearing shirts and skirts below elbows and knees.
Other things to do?
As usual on windsurf trips, we only…windsurfed :). If you should experience a down day, you can watch turtles or go fishing with locals. I do not dive, but I believe it good for diving. But you need to bring your own gear :).
The scenery is beautiful and we visited several other beaches, just to enjoy the atmosphere or the sunset!
The trip to Masirah island was a real adventure. If you want to practice your wave sailing during summer, this is the ideal place. You can watch turtles, snorkle and ride camels, but if your family is not so keen on windsurfing, I would go on my own. During our stay, I read a lot about Arab history and culture, and it gave me some new perspectives on the world.
I guess we will go back, but maybe when the twin boys also can do some water sports and I have learned wave sailing.
I found this nice video on Continent seven of Camille Juban, Antoine Martin, Nicolas Bentz and Regis Guillarda traveling to Masirah!
Have a nice adventure!
Read more about sideways travels and be inspired. Link to Travel sideways!