Want to dive, explore more

By: Lakshmi Kothaneth

MUSCAT: Oman In Focus 2 exhibition held at The Wave Marina brings the event which brought together national and international divers to a conclusion with divers wanting to visit more diving sites in the Sultanate. The exhibition was inaugurated by His Highness Sayyid Asaad bin Tareq al Said.

This is a great moment to discover the treasures of Oman by using underwater videography and photography said Dr Hamed Said al Oufi, Under-Secretary of Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. “It is exciting to see that the divers have come from all over the world. This event is also being followed by the international media. I think the divers have experienced something new. The Omani marine environment hosts huge amount of treasures some of which we know and lot of which we do not know. We are discovering many new species unknown to public. They know the king fish and the troopers but they have not seen up close the other species such as the ornamental fish, coral and cuttle fish as well as other variety of crabs,” explained Dr Al Oufi.

Speaking on the exhibition the under-secretary said, “This is a good event to publicise for people in Oman and abroad.

The exhibition depicts the diversity, the colours, vibrancy and the importance of Oman’s marine environment and how it supports the nation’s economic wealth of the Ocean, not only for fisheries but also for tourism and heritage highlighting Oman’s role in relation to the Indian Ocean for many centuries.”

All the logistics development such as the Port of Sohar, Port of Duqm and Port of Salalah will all enable Oman to become a logistics hub for international travellers.

Ellen Hui Fong could not contain her excitement as she introduced her images. “It was an eye opener. It was the first time to visit the Omani waters and we found beautiful creatures out there. Horn fish, the patterns of coral, the most colourful scorpion fish which is also a poisonous fish, the coral fish and it is bright and vibrant surroundings and of course the ever popular clown fish,” said Ellen enthusiastically.

“The most exciting part was when I came across the leopard fish. I wished we could have dived more. I am sure we have not covered all the sites,” added Ellen.

Phil Simham who has come all the way from Switzerland said, “It was really a fantastic environment. It is a very unique one because in Oman you are just on the cross way between the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean which results in a unique diversity that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.” Every diver has about five photographs of theirs displayed at the exhibition taken during the dives in the Sultanate arranged by Oman in Focus, a project headed by Maisa al Hooti. One of Phil’s pictures is about a wreck.

“The wreck is very interesting because this wreck was sunk in 2003 so it is fairly recent. It shows what nature can do in 12 years if you give it a chance. You can see how much of coral it can grow and this is what nature can do when you leave it alone. Altogether it was an amazing experience. I am impressed with the environment as much as I am with the discovery of the people and their hospitality.”

His work will be on magazine publications and some of the images will be featured in his future book as well, said Phil.

International media representing France 24, Al Arabiya, Sky News, Monte Carlo, BBC, Extra London, Russia Today, MBC, Tunis TV, Radio Australia along with national and international media attended Oman in Focus event taking Oman’s marine wealth to international audience. Coming from Paris, Hannan al Baruk, from Monte Carlo summarised by saying, “We found Oman is rich when we talk about sea and life. It was extremely interesting to discover this environment. We hope the organiser Maisa al Hooti takes this picture of Oman outside to other countries.”

SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSEVER

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