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Adventure Time

Adventure Time, Expat Life, Family Life

Life Lately 2018 | Adventure Time

June 6, 2018

“Do you ever sleep?” A question someone asked me recently which I take as a great compliment.

Yes, I do sleep. No where near enough but sometimes the fun and adventures come first.

Where have I been? Where does the time go? Why am I a lazy blogger? So many questions and time is marching on. Let me fill you in, mostly through pictures, on what has been going on in my crazy world.

Let’s go from January 2018 to June 2018 and recap on the whirlwind life…

If you caught my post before you will notice that I broke my ankle at the end of November 2018, but don’t panic – it’s ok and please don’t feel too bad for me – with all the stupid shit that I do it was inevitable that something was going to happen sooner or later. So retraining my ankle became my priority if I wanted to continue my adventures.

The end of 2017 looked a lot like this. Regular training, determination & nutrition healed the injury quickly.

The best way to heal is to get back outside. On a long hike from Jebel Hatt to Misfat Abreein.

There were some mountain trips with some hairy friends, some goats too..

Zip lined into the sunset at Millennium Hotel in Mussanah

Hunted for dinosaurs in Wadi Al Khoudh with Spencer. Weirdly, we didn’t find any.

A last minute invitation to a Holi party ended up like this.

Afternoons like these, flying over the golden beaches of Sawadi

This was VERY cool, being driven in a water taxi by double Olympian Roman Hagara

Then on board with the Redbull sailing team at the Extreme Sailing Series 2018

When training for Everest, I made the Duncan crew join in too

And of course everywhere I go, my mini adventurer wants to come too. At 4.5 years old he has a real taste for adventures, the outdoors and danger! Here we are loving life at the Jebel Shams Challenge.

 

With summer in Oman in full swing, what do we do when it heats up again? We continue the adventures, of course! You just have to think outside the box and accept the inevitable – you will get very sweaty!

Kayaking is a great way to stay active and keep cool

Strapping my wake board on again after a broken ankle felt amazing!

Nothing like head butting the ocean a few times to wake you up! 

We have been loving Trampo Oman, the indoor play area for children and bigger children like me. The shade and AC  whilst staying active is very welcomed sometimes!

Or you could head out and find yourself a plunge pool to cool off. Look out for the nibbling wildlife!

So that takes me too the present day, the start of June 2018. We are now well and truly under the smothering blanket of summer time in Oman where most people either leave for the summer tend to go into hibernation for a couple of months.

How do you cope with the summer if you don’t like outdoor sports? Here are some suggestions..

  • Try a new gym class like UFC Gym
  • Start a new season or 4 on Netflix
  • Feed your brain with an online learning course
  • Try out an indoor play area for kids and adults like Trampo Oman
  • Volunteer your services with someone who needs you
  • And if the heat gets too much then head to Salalah for the Khareef season or the cooler mountain altitudes.

Have you got an activity to recommend to me? Get in touch and I’ll try it out.

Until the next time, it’s Cheerio from me and my squad of crazies!

Heather x

Adventure Time, Fitness

The Road To Everest

March 30, 2018

“Aren’t you scared?!” The question I’ve been asked several times this week. In just a few days time I set off to Nepal in the hope of a ‘trip of a lifetime’. Oh, and tackle that tiny thing called altitude as I embark on a 14 day trek to Everest Base Camp.

The answer is no. I am not scared. I am excited, eager, grateful and ready to get started!

The Mountain Vibes:
So why do I crave the mountains?
I believe that everyone in life has a happy place, the place where they feel calm and content. For me, it seems to be out in the wild with a backpack on and usually covered in dirt, although the dirt isn’t necessary – it just happens. My stresses melt away and things that bothered me before seem insignificant after a good dose of the outdoors life. 

For years I have dreamt of visiting the iconic Mount Everest but I have to be realistic that my body would be unlikely to handle the altitude of something so momentous as summiting the highest mountain in the world. After reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2016 I became very sick from the effects of altitude. Thus, my sights turned to the famous Everest Base Camp.

Whilst some people scoff at “just” Base Camp as opposed to making it to the mountain summit, the life journey I dream of doesn’t necessarily mean standing on that mountains summit. I don’t have to achieve that to find happiness. For me, it is the journey – Being in the Himalayas, on an incredible adventure with amazing people and experiencing things with my own eyes. 

At an altitude of 5,364m, Everest Base Camp is 500m lower in height than the height of Kilimanjaro, where I have previously visited, but that doesn’t mean that is going to be an easy journey. Hiking for 14 days is physically tough on the body so this requires some training to prepare.

Training:

Although you don’t need to be super fit to visit Base Camp I want to give myself the best possible chance of achieving my goal so staying strong & healthy has been important over the past few weeks. After breaking my ankle 4 months ago, and spending 6 weeks of that in a cast, the main focus to prepare for the journey ahead is to strengthen my ankle and surrounding muscles again.

Training outdoors so frequently has given me so many amazing opportunities to see new places in Oman and try out new trails. From the top of Jebel Shams to the boulder field of Wadi Arbeein and dozens of places in between I’ve hiked it and climbed it in persuit of physical fitness.

Inside My Kit Bag:

My bag is almost packed and ready to go with my trusty mountain gear once again. I say almost because I’m a girl, I’ll probably cram a few more last minute items in and worry about the weight of the bag.

Thankfully most of my outdoor & cold weather kit survived, and still fits huraaaaay, from the last Kilimanjaro trip so that has saved a lot of money. Decent kit doesn’t come cheap!

If you ever embark on a challenge like this my one piece of advice, well I’ve got oodles but this is important – Don’t scrimp on the cost and quality of your boots & socks! You need these babies to take care of your feet & ankles. A rolled ankle or even a blister could cause you immense pain and ruin your trip.


Trusty and well worn boots from The North Face

One thing I have learnt to pack better this time around is a medical kit. Last time I just brought the basics like pain killers and plasters but this time I have the things that really come in useful like tweezers,  probiotics and coconut oil – It can be used for just about anything! Like, really almost anything. Google it.


Kit bag packed with many helpful items

With every trip and adventure I throw myself into, I find another piece of my puzzle in life. Eventually I will know who I am supposed to be as an adult, so my hope with this trip to Nepal is that I find a couple more pieces of my puzzle.

Stay tuned on my Facebook & Instagram pages where I will be updating at the slightest whiff of cell network to share my adventures and random shenanigans along the way.

Heather x

Adventure Time

A few hours in Salalah

March 16, 2018

Arriving in Salalah after completing the crazy World Record Attempt we had just a few hours free to explore. Located in the south of Oman it is famous for it’s annual monsoon season,called Khareef, banana plantations, lush landscape and amazing scenery. I’m embarrassed to tell you that after 5+ years in Oman I had never been to Salalah before so I was determined to enjoy it!

Bearing in mind we had been on the road for 48 hours + with just 4 hours sleep, the exhaustion level was real! But, that never stops me having some fun and finding new & random things.

Do you follow my page on Facebook? You may notice the recurring animal selfie theme…. I found these beauties chilling on the beach so tried to feed them some watermelon.

We headed from the city up into the Dhofar mountain range overlooking Salalah. Taking a walk through the rugged landscape we spotted a BaoBab tree, known as an ‘upside-down tree’. I had never seen a tree like this in real life before!

Scrambling down the side of the cliff I had my sights locked on to fruits that had fallen from the tree to the ground below. Marvelling at my find these were shaped like maracas with a velvet outer skin, it was almost so strange that it seemed fake. Cracking the shell open on the a rock I peered inside to find white seeds that reminded me of garlic gloves. Assured that this was perfectly safe to eat and not poisonous I took a bite – The initial taste wasn’t pleasant but it soon turned sweet like a candy and I found myself eating a second piece. Apparently these fruits are very popular in Swahili cooking.

The fruits looked like cloves of garlic inside the shell but with the consistency of chalk.

The four faces of trying a new food, it was surprisingly pleasant.

 
After a quick hike in the mountains the sun set quickly and we returned to the city lights for dinner and some much needed sleep, it was going to be a long drive back to Muscat in the morning!
It was a great experience to finally visit the beautiful Salalah, hopefully the next occasion will allow more time and less exhaustion, Insh’Allah.

Have a great day!

Heather x

Adventure Time, Fitness

The World Record Achievement

March 7, 2018

If someone asked you to join in a World Record attempt, would you?!

That is exactly what happened recently as I joined the incredible endurance cyclist Jonathan Shubert as he cycled across Oman from Muscat to Salalah, a total distance of 1,200km, in UNDER 48 hours!

To describe it as a “crazy trip” doesn’t even do it justice! Let me rewind a little….

After meeting the very humble Jonathan just a few months ago at a chance meeting through a friend I did not expect to be swept up in the whirlwind of what he was planning but something about this crazy man made me believe in him since our first meeting. Plus the idea of a nice little jolly to Salalah sounded interesting. Before I knew what I had agreed to I was signed up as the new member of his support crew.

Want to know more about Jon? Read his exclusive interview here.

So where did I fit into the record attempt puzzle? I trained with the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (UMCA) to be approved as one of Jon’s ‘Race Officials’ insuring that he stuck to the rules along the way. Sounds easy but believe me, the 42 pages of rules to learn wasn’t straightforward! I also found myself a lot more involved in the media side of the challenge handling enquiries from national tabloids and sports sites who wished to follow the incredible journey. Soon it consumed our lives as we gave everything to help Jon achieve his dream.

Preparations along the way including the amazing team from Prismic Media who flew in from Kuwait to film the event, Jon’s great friend Chris who flew in from Dubai, Jon’s Omani friends who gave 24/7 assistance and the incredible Sukhee from the Husaak team who never complained even once. Seriously, not even once. Everyone played a vital role & selflessly gave up their time to make this happen.

The night before disaster stuck as Jon picked up food poisoning! In constant pain and already losing valuble fluids this was a bad situation but we couldn’t change the plans – The show must go on! Determined to succeed we stuck to the well planned schedule – Unfortunately for Jon, I don’t think any of us quite appreciated how much he struggled as he set off from Muscat at 6am on that first morning.

The first few hours on the road were exciting and dramatic as we travelled away from the capital city of Muscat and through the smaller towns and further south away from main civilisation. The scenery soon changed from craggy hills and mountains to the seemingly never ending desert highways.

By 1.30pm on the first day we found ourselves in danger as Jon stopped his bike and asked to lie down as he felt dizzy, his condition quickly deteriorated as his body went into severe cramp and at the point where he lost the ability to speak we knew it was bad. We had planned strategies to keep him cool along the way but the temperature in the desert had creeped over 30 degrees which had a major impact on his body.

Miles from the nearest clinic or hospital we were all alone by the side of the road with a man who is seriously unwell.
Jon admits now that he knows he was close to death lying there on that desert highway.

Frantically trying to help your friend when they are so close to death is an experience that changes you as a person. In that moment you become fundamental to their survival. It’s a horribly scary thing.

Thankfully Jon was able to recover and he shocked us all by getting back on his bike again and kept going as the rest of us stood by the side of the road overwhelmed at what has just happened.

He has incredible determination to succeed and he certainly proved it right there.

As we continued on the journey we travelled huge distances through the Oil Fields and desert roads without stopping and without seeing a town or a gas station for hours. It certainly was a different way to see Oman!

Every so often Jon would have to stop due to the heat that was affecting him, combined with his food poisoning it was a tough trip for him. We knew that we would have to make up a lot of distance after the sun went down! Jon would lie down in whatever shade possible to take small power naps of 15-30 minutes to recharge as us, the support crew, would anxiously wait until he gets back on his feet again to check his health.

Being a part of the support crew was physically and mentally more challenging than I would ever have imagined it to be! Constantly on hand to feed, care for and asses the athlete becomes your main focus! things were not straight forward but Jon was our focus so we ate our food on the road as we travelled and poured the last of our drinking water into a bucket to cool his feet. At one point all we had was 1 Pepsi between 3 of us. Life on the road is not glamorous!

But….. After completion of my 6 hour shift staring at Jon on a bike I have never been so happy to lie down in the dirt with an ice lolly when we FINALLY found a shop (also the same shop where someone tried to negotiate a deal to buy me, weird). I’m sure Jon  was delighted with 5 minutes peace without me smothering him!

The heat and exhaustion was affecting us all but you try to keep your spirits high!

 

The full cycling story from Jon’s side can be found here. Or you can come and hear us in person on Sunday 11th March 2018, more details here.

Rolling into Salalah at 4.30am felt amazing, like we had all survived something that even now I would struggle to explain to people. The crowds of people out on the street cheering and throwing confetti was so humbling.

But then we had to get back in the car and keep going, we hadn’t reached the GPS coordinates yet….

HE DID IT! We stopped the timer at an amazing 47 hours and 31 minutes, just under the 48 hour mark!

Finally arriving at the Sultans Palace in Salalah felt like a HUGE relief, we were all exstatic to have achieved what we set out to do but the exhaustion had taken the best out of all of us by this point.

We grabbed some quick pictures draped in the Union Jack flag of Britiain (Jon is English and I am Scottish) and the Omani flag and packed the bike into the back of the truck and headed off in search of much needed sleep. Only a few hours was permitted before the media side had to be completed and soon the story was national news.

Helping someone else to achieve something in life is an amazing feeling! I’m so proud on Jon and the team.

Those 48+ hours on the road were certainly a life experience I will never forget and something that I am extremely grateful for. I can’t wait to see what challenge comes up next!

Heather x

Adventure Time

Desert Camel Crossing

March 2, 2018

Would you attempt to cross the desert on a camel? I love to do the random things in life so you don’t have to….

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Well I’m not in Rome, I’m in the Middle East but the saying still applies. Recently, I did as the Omani’s do and tried out a traditional Bedouin-style experience crossing the desert on camels.

Bedouins date back to ancient times when cars and other transport weren’t available. They travelled on camels and navigated using the stars. Pretty neat, right?

When I explained my latest adventure plan to people they scoffed at the idea of anything longer than a 10-minute tourist camel ride. Determined for a cultural experience, I ignored their judgement and persuaded the ever trusting Sarah & Hayley to come along for the ride, literally, and we headed out of town in search of something new. Three girls heading into the desert, what could possibly go wrong?!

The PowerPuff girls take a Siesta

Requesting a camel that wasn’t likely to throw me off, I let our guide, Abdullah, choose a camel to suit me. He sent me in the direction of handsome young camel called Shaheen, which means Falcon in Arabic. He was around 5 years old and had terrible breath, but that was ok. We were soon to be firm friends.

 

Setting off along the track the first 2km was hilarious as we laughed and took pictures of each other. Soon after this, it started to hurt. Travelling by camel really isn’t comfortable! Abdullah has grown up on camels all his life and certainly looked comfortable as he tucked his legs under his body and got into the swing of things. Those of us who haven’t grown up on camels were shifting in our seats and adjusting to fit the comfiest position as we headed into the deeper sands and navigated the golden dunes.

I think you get the point of the discomfort, I maybe don’t need to elaborate on that without giving you visuals.

Attempting to make friends with Shaheen

The up was fun, the down was terrifying!

Squeals of both fear and excitement wailed from the riders in their back of the convoy as their camels attempt to gain footing in the sand with a long drop below them.
As the last dune approached our guide, Abdullah, looked back at us with a cheeky grin on his face; he knows this area like the back of his hand so he knows exactly what is next. Then, over the crest of the dune the incredibly steep descent is apparent. This kind of dune is perfect for running down, perhaps not holding onto a camel for dear life… At this point you can imagine my friends are pretty pissed at me for getting them into this adventure.

After just having the cast removed from my broken ankle one week prior to this, my leg is still to weak to jump from a camel if they start to roll down the hill. Petrified to injure myself again, It was time to attempt some broken Arabic to express my fear. I’m not entirely sure if it was correct but by his amusement and laughter he got the point as he gestured for the camels to lie down so we could all dismount. Phew!

Out of 5 people riding on camels, only 1 remained on board for that final descent. Naturally the most confident of the gang, but even for Abdullah he soon dismounted also.


At camp that night everyone was feeling a little tender as we enjoyed a meal round the camp fire swapping tales of wild camels and near death experiences – none of which was exactly true. We all had an amazing time but it made us sound slightly more badass and took our mind off the sore ass.

This was a very cool and great experience but perhaps my last urge to be on a camel for the next few years.

Adventure Time

Bucket List Experience | Searching For Whale Sharks

October 9, 2017

With a ‘Bucket List’ as long as my arm I’m always on the prowl to seek out new adventures and continue to challenge myself to achieve my goals.
It has been a dream on my bucket list for some time now to swim with the oceans gentle giants, the Whale Sharks. Other random experiences on my Bucket List currently include flying in a Hot Air Balloon, learn to scuba dive and visit the infamous Mount Everest.

Living in Oman offers many incredible opportunities – from mountain to ocean, there is an abundance of natural and unspoiled adventure opportunities to jump head first into. Swimming with whale sharks is one of those life changing experiences that is possible here if you put in some effort to make things happen.

Just a few weeks ago, I had embarked on a boat trip specifically in search of these famous creatures as their migration brought them off the coast of Oman. Sadly wild animals aren’t always easy to track and the trip ended without seeing any whale sharks.
Just when I thought my dream might be over for this season, my luck changed!

The call came in that a pod of 30+ whale sharks was spotted close to Muscat and was I free to join – it was a no brainer – lets go! With all systems go, I dropped everything I was doing, threw the GoPro, sun cream and some water in a bag and made the dash to the marina praying that today would be my lucky day.

After 20 minutes of motoring the boat out to sea, from the Al Mouj marina in Muscat, we quickly reached the area where these animals had been spotted. It didn’t take long for the first dorsal fin to breach the surface of the water. To my untrained eye, I wasn’t sure if these were perhaps dolphins… it wouldn’t be the first time the cheeky dolphins have tricked me with their fins!
To my luck, it was indeed the much-lusted-after sight of a whale shark! We cruised along and watched as the number of whale sharks around us grew to at least 10 at one point with many, many more on the horizon. Never getting too close to the boat, these creatures swam near enough offering us just a glimpse.
The dream of swimming with these majestic animals was getting ever closer and it was now time to get in the water quickly – but gently – before we lost our opportunity

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world. Although their size and feeding habits resemble whales, they are indeed part of the shark family. Perhaps just the slower, more chilled out of the relatives. Even though they are documented to be incredibly gentle, it is still a very peculiar feeling deliberately swimming towards a wild animal of this size… especially a shark.
Watching them glide by so gracefully, somehow I lost my inhibitions of the size and the danger of being in the open ocean with a wild animal. As I swam alongside them, I found myself desperate for the experience to last a little longer

After being in the water for around 20 minutes with these amazing creatures, it was time to give them their space and move on letting them feed in peace – not to mention it is hard to keep up at their pace!

This was an experience that will definitely stay with me for a lifetime!

Now to book that Hot Air Balloon, learn to Scuba Dive and tick off a few more bucket list items. What is on your Bucket List?

Adventure Time

The Beauty Of The Damaniyat Islands

September 24, 2017

September marks the start of the outdoors season here in Oman, well for me anyway. It’s been a long sweaty summer running from air conditioned cars to air conditioned buildings and I am ready to get back outdoors!

This week I took a trip with SeaOman to the amazing Damaniyat Islands. The marine life in these waters is incredible from swimming up close with a loggerhead turtle to our boat being completely surrounded by playful dolphins. One thing is for sure, Oman is never boring!

Instead of describing the crystal clear water and curious marine life I will let you see it for yourself;

Have a great day!

Adventure Time

Climbing Ben Nevis

September 13, 2017

Climbing Ben Nevis, the highest point in the British isles, has been on my bucket list for the past couple of years; this summer I ticked that trip off my list and after a battle against the Scottish weather, I made it to the mountain summit.
Standing at 1,345m (4,411ft), Ben Nevis isn’t considered one of the ‘Big Boys’ on the world scale but it is ranked the highest mountain in the British Isles and an iconic place in Scotland, my home country.
Combining my mountain-climbing ambition with my summer vacation, I managed to line up  the hike to include the company of a fellow adventurer, my brother. The plan was set.

Although our scheduled climb date was in mid July, the middle of a British Summer, you can never guarantee the weather in the UK as it can change in the blink of an eye; therefore, we had to pack several layers of clothing and weather proof items along with our days essentials. With a good nights sleep and a hearty Scottish breakfast in our stomachs, we laced up our walking boots and headed out for the start of the Ben Nevis trail. The ascent and descent can be attempted in one day making it a great, yet ambitious, day trip. The recommended time is 7-9 hours on the mountain to tackle the 17km/10.75mile round trip.
As we set off from the car park and headed across the first footbridge crossing the River Nevis I could already feel the chill of the wind on my skin. After 5 years living in the Middle East my body isn’t acclimatised to the UK anymore. The initial trail took us along some farm tracks and up the hillside overlooking the stunning Glen Nevis. With miles of rolling green hills, there is no denying that Scotland is an incredibly beautiful place.

Rising up higher above the Glen the crowds and wooded areas begin to thin out as the day-trip-picnic crowd separates away from the climbers with their focus set on reaching the mountain summit. With the tree line far below us we gain elevation quickly climbing the rough steps built into the mountain side – my quads are burning like fire but with my super fit brother leading the pack there is no time for rest. Our trail takes us past a large mountain lake in the hillside, made entirely of rain water running from the high slopes. The rain clouds are heavy  and threatening as we switch to our waterproof gear. As we reached the half way mark the moorland and areas of grazing sheep begins to disperse to make way for the loose rock and gravel slopes leading us up high into the clouds.

Pressing ahead climbing higher we begin passing fellow climbers wrapped in cold weather clothes and already on their descent – some warn us of the weather ahead and some simply encourage us ahead to keep our morale up – which was hugely appreciated at the time as my base layers which were wet with sweat had started to chill my core.
Entering the clouds is a disorientating experience as we walk all we see around us is a white sheet, it’s hard to tell how long we have been walking for and how long there is left to go. I pull my frozen digits back up inside my sleeves and laugh a little to myself that this is the summer season in Scotland. As the fog engulfs us the visibility is down to less than 10 meters, determined to make it to the summit we press on and sing songs to keep our minds focused on something other than the eerie mountain fog and the effort of walking directly into the forceful mountain wind.

Just at the point where my mind was starting to think that this was a crazy idea we literally stumble upon the summit of Ben Nevis like a mirage. We hadn’t seen anything ahead of us other than each other and a white fogged horizon for the past 45 minutes so we were completely unaware that we had successfully reached the pinnacle.
As we attempt to take our ‘summit selfie’, a must of course, I try my best to anchor my legs to stabilize myself against the incredibly powerful wind – especially because the visibility is so poor that I can’t see where the edges are! With the windchill at minus 6 degrees our time on the mountain summit was brief but still an incredible feeling especially that we made it in an impressive time of just 3 hours.

As we begin our descent we pass the encouragement on to other climbers on their way up to attempt the mountain summit in the unfavourable weather. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal and I didn’t manage to catch a glimpse of the scenic views from the top my adventure was still worth every minute. As for the weather, it is inevitable, it is Scotland after all.
With Ben Nevis ticked off the bucket list it’s time to start on some bigger, crazier plans!

Adventure Time, Expat Life, Family Life

Duncan Family Adventure – Anantara at Jabal Akhdar

March 31, 2017

‘Like ships that pass in the night’, this is exactly what me and my husband are like. We both have extremely busy schedules that rarely line up so recently we booked a family get away in the hope of spending some quality time together.

But where to go? Well, I have literally been bugging him for 4 years to come with me to Jabal Akhdar mountain, there is something about the mountains that just soothes my soul. However for him all he sees is just a pile of rocks but my persistence paid off, it may have helped when I mentioned that we didn’t have to camp and informed him that there was infact a swanky hotel on the mountain with a kids club. And that was it, he was sold.

We headed to the Anantara resort on Jabal Akhdar mountain, the highest 5 star resort in the Middle East. Come on, don’t judge me. If I’ve waited 4 whole years to go stay on the mountain with him we have to do it in style.

We arranged a villa with a private swimming pool to please the young man in our lives. Before the bags were set down he was already hunting for his swim shorts and ready to dive in.

After the fun of swimming I left the boys napping together as I headed off in search of what sets my soul on fire – adventures! An afternoon abseiling, climbing along the via ferrata and rock climbing were exactly what I need in my life – I can confirm that adrenaline was pumping as dangled my body from sheer rock faces and attempted to keep my footing as I peered over the ledge of the steep canyon.

Rushing back to the villa to share my adventure stories with the boys the place was still in silence apart from the odd snore and fidget, they were still sound asleep and everyone was enjoying their afternoon in their own way. Maximising the time on my own I wrote a quick note and headed off in search of the hotel spa. Adventures AND massage – If only days like this could happen every day!

With plenty of activities to chose from at the resort we decided upon a guided walk of the local villages for the second morning. Making our way along the falaj irrigation pathways and through the narrow village streets we learnt more about the local area, cultures and the famous Jabal Akhdar roses.

With spectacular mountain views, adrenaline pumping adventures and a kids club to keep the little one entertained this is by far my favourite hotel. And as the summer heat returns to scorch Muscat this shall be my perfect retreat as I head to the mountains in search of cooler climates. For once, I am actually looking forward to the summer.

Take a look at our family video from the mountain trip at Anantara;

Have a great day,

Heather x

Adventure Time, Expat Life

Kayak Mission to Al Fahal Island

March 31, 2017

Staring out to see from Muscat city I had often daydreamed about reaching the large chunk of rock known as ‘Shark Island’
I just never imagined that I would get there one day under my own paddle power.

Kayak hire was arranged and I rallied a couple of friends together for the adventure… only problem I mistakingly told them it was an easy 2km paddle each way. It wasn’t until we were on the beach ready to begin that we found out it is actually 4.5km each way – oops.

Hopping into our Kayaks packed with water and snacks we left the shore and headed into open water in search of Al Fahal island.

The large island is massive chunk of rock protruding from the water. Reaching the island in the decent time of around 1 hour and 15 minutes we were in need of a quick rest and refuel.

The island is a nature reserve that requires permits to access so instead of climbing on the actual island we were able to rest in the shallow water and devour our much needed snacks before exploring the shallows looking for weird and wonderful creatures of the sea.

The marine life was beautiful and colourful, as always in Oman, with several scuba divers in the area searching the world below. The thought of the potential sharks in the area scared me a little so I was content to stay close to the shallower areas or the brief safety of my kayak for the most part.

Watch the full adventure video here;

Have a great day,

Heather x

PS – Kayak rental from Wave Summit 97471484