Exploring Salalah Town

We slept well last night. The anchorage is calm. It was cool. Christi actually pulled out a blanket for the first time since getting to the tropics. Since it was cool, we could shut the windows and window covers, so it was dark and quiet. Ahhhh. If only every anchorage could be so nice.

The first chore of the day was to wash Kosmos. We know we said we were going to do it in Male. But, it rained hard every day, so we justified procrastination with the fact that at least Kosmos wasn’t getting any dirtier, and who knows, maybe the rain would make the job easier down the road. On passage, Kosmos got very salty from the head winds and seas. It isn’t supposed to rain in Oman for Continue reading Exploring Salalah Town

Welcome to Port Salalah, Dhofar Region, Sultanate of Oman

This morning the seas smoothed out again and the ride became fabulous. At 0830 local time, Eric hailed Salalah Port Control on the radio. The protocol is to call an hour prior to arrival in port. He gave them all the pertinent details and was told to call back when he got to the breakwaters.

It was a hazy morning, and we couldn’t see land until 0845, and in the distance looked like just a small blob of white contrasted against the blue sea. By 0900, the new breakwater was clearly visible. It so new it is not on our charts. By 1030, land became much clearer. Directly in front of us was a cluster of densely packed white buildings that probably make up the main part of the city. To the left of the city, it looked more industrial, with an odd assortment of buildings grouped in small clusters, ranging from low buildings to high rises, scattered across a dry looking desert back ground. To the right, the shoreline is covered with green trees, with a few buildings cut into the trees along the shore and a few buildings popping out from behind them. It looks like there are large mountains behind the flat shore, but we could barely see the mountains in the haze.

We turned behind the breakwater wall. The water was extraordinarily calm. This is a container port, and the right side is lined with rows of huge cranes for lifting the containers on and off the ships.

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As we continued along, on the left, the breakwater Continue reading Welcome to Port Salalah, Dhofar Region, Sultanate of Oman

About the Sultanate of Oman

Frankincense, the aromatic sap from the frankincense tree, was a highly prized commodity in the ancient times. It was believed to have medicinal value, and was used to treat a multitude of sicknesses. To this day, frankincense is still widely used as a medicine in the Arabian Peninsula. Frankincense also was believed to ward of evil spirits. To give you an idea of how highly prized it was, in the book of Exodus in the bible, God commanded that a special incense to be used in holy ceremonies be made with frankincense. The Queen of Sheba brought frankincense to King Solomon as a gift when she went to meet him in person, and when the Magi (aka wise men) came to worship the new King of the Jews, they brought frankincense as a gift to Baby Jesus. Egyptians and Romans used it in their temples. Frankincense is still used today in many sacred ceremonies.

Frankincense only grows in a few places in the world, with the undisputed best quality coming from what today is called Southern Oman. The frankincense trade from Southern Oman dates back to 5000 BC. In the first century AD, Pilney recorded that the people of southern Arabia were the richest in the world from the frankincense trade. At the height of the trade in the 2nd century AD, no less than 3000 tons of frankincense were transported a year, both by land and by sea. One of the most powerful cities in the region, thanks to the frankincense trade, was Ubar, mentioned in the bible as a city of golden pillars. Oman also was referred to as a “mountain of copper” and had a vigorous copper trade, as well. Job, from the same named book of the bible, is believed to be from Southern Oman and is buried there. Visitors can go and visit Job’s grave near Salalah.

The country slipped into a long period of isolation that lasted until Continue reading About the Sultanate of Oman