We stayed in the dolphinarium for about half an hour. Then we had to move forward to our next stop, the Seebi island. Another round of snorkeling and swimming followed. A. had changed from his bathing outfit to his own clothes, and he regretted it now. Because that meant getting locked in the tiny bathroom in the corner of the dhow yet again for changing. At first he even reasoned if it were worthwhile to change one more time, but as usual I henpecked him into doing it. (and I would like to think of my action as purely 'altruistic' one, after all as his better half I am supposed to encourage him and all that) We had driven halfway across the UAE, and had sailed for more than 2 hours to get to this place, how could he be so lazy now!
So he took the bathing costume, which consisted of a grey t-shirt and grey shorts, which we had hung on the side of the dhow for last half an hour or so for drying. It's a good thing that they didn't completely dry, or they would have been blown off with the first gust of wind when we were engrossed in dolphin watching.
The fish in this part of the sea were slightly bigger in sizes and came in bigger shoals. The captain and the jack-of-all-trades threw several pieces of chicken from the leftover chicken curry, and instantly scores of fish gathered and ate them all up. That either proves that the fish like horrible chicken curry, or else they inherently had a bad taste! At any rate, we were amused at the sight. What must be the fish thinking while eating chicken, as that's not something they may normally get as a food. Unless, the dhows customarily dispose of their leftover chicken curry at this spot.
I would have to say this about the Khasab Tour company, they really did give us enough time to enjoy each activity. They gave us 1 hour each time for snorkeling and swimming, and lingered sufficiently long in the area where dolphins were, so that everyone could have enjoyed. Come to think of it, what else could they possible do to a dhowfull of people otherwise? For me, the only lousy part of the trip was the food. I come from a family where almost everyone is an excellent cook and you are doomed if your cooking is below par. Besides, I am a born glutton, so food figures majorly in my life. So it's not surprising that while planning for the trip and the cruise, all my questions were about the food, what are they going to give in the buffet for me was the biggest questions. For some reason, A. thought that they were going to serve a variety of fish. I am glad they didn't, as I am not a fish person at all.
Up till now, the sun had been shining brightly, and a pleasant breeze caressed our faces and the sea was as calm as an innocent babe(ah I am sorry for the poor analogy, but cannot seem to think of anything else). But the weather changed drastically at this point. Everyone was back on board, getting ready to leave the island. We had another island village to visit, according to our itinerary. But already the sky was overcast, the wind changed from a gentle breeze to a strong gale and soon enough it started to rain. No more lolling or lounging on the mattresses. Everyone quickly grabbed their things and piled them in the center of the dhow. Then all the mattresses, pillows and bolsters were also piled haphazardly in the middle.
There was a chill in the air now. Our captain and the tour guide were clad in long rain coats now. "It's winter time now" the captain grinned at us. Yeah, okay. If only we had known that the weather was going to change from pleasant to chilly so soon, we would have brought something warm to wear too. My shawl no longer seemed enough defense against the weather, poor A. was only wearing a light cotton shirt and a pair of jeans, and after the recent round of snorkeling was feeling slightly cold. To make matters worse, it suddenly started to rain really hard.
"Ah, the Musandam cruise turned into an adventure". The dhow had begun to rock violently now, although we weren't in the open sea yet. "If we were in the open sea, it would have been really rough" our guide said in a bid to reassure us. I felt that what we were currently experiencing was rough enough, thank you for the cheerful thought! No one was interested in taking pics any longer. And anyway, it was raining so hard by now that we were gradually getting soaked, although everyone had grabbed towels and had wrapped themselves in it as much as possible. In the midst of all this hullabaloo, a young Japanese guy calmly buried himself under a pile of mattresses and slept! The extremely salty water of the sea splashed all over us, and it was hard to even keep our eyes open.
For understandable reasons(because I have a morbid turn of mind?) my mind quickly brought back the images of people in Titanic. Arghh...The tour guide was taking everyone's pics. "These might be your last pics" he chuckled. Well at least someone can find some comic element in this, everyone tried to appear nonchalant. I don't know about others, but I for one was really scared and it was so darned cold. The guide updated us every 10 minutes, "we will be there in 30 minutes" he said with his usual grin. "Ah, I wonder how many 30 minutes before we reach the shore" someone said.
We were in the open sea now. The guide had been right! It was much rougher now. We saw other dhows too, and even small speed boats too. Despite all the rain and storm, the captain stood firmly on his spot, and skillfully manouvered the dhow. The canvas sheet which had been covering his part of the boat had been torn because of wind, and they had taken it off earlier. The second-in-command hopped here and there excitedly, doing one thing or another. Though to be honest, for the most part I had buried my head in my lap and kept on thinking, 'Please Allah mian, I don't want to die like this. Not now". Frankly speaking, I cannot think of a time or manner in which I would want to die. Okay, too much of morbidity.
The worst part was that I had to use the loo really badly! The dhow was rocking really violently, there were no signs of the shore yet, and even if we were near enough, how long will it take to find a bathroom at the harbour? I have this horrid habit of trying to avoid public bathrooms for as long as possible. If I am in a plane, it amazes me that people file a queue outside the bathroom as soon as the aircraft takes off. Hmm...perhaps they are smart. At least they aren't the ones likely to be caught in a similar predicament as me. How I reached the bathroom is an adventure in itself, but a wholly unnecessary detail so the narrator should focus on other things now!
It took us over an hour to reach the shore at Khasab. The rain had stopped a short while ago. The mountains which had seemed majestic earlier on had taken on a menacing countenance. But we were finally on the shore. And now that we were safely at the harbour, the sea had suddenly become calm and innocent. As if the last one hour or so was but a figment of our imagination. Everyone cheered and clapped! The guide said that he was going to make a small collection for captain Waleed, for valiantly braving the storm. I couldn't agree more!
That's how our day long cruise at Musandam ended. The drive to home was pretty uneventful. On our way back, we saw tribal Arabs dancing somewhere in outskirts of Ras al Khaimah, someone was getting married, but A. adamantly refused to take their pics. He didn't want to invade their privacy. They were dancing out there in the public for heaven's sake! Oh well. We were home by 7 O'clock approximately. Tired, wet, feeling cold but very, very happy and satisfied. Because we had brought back many wonderful memories to cherish.
That's all folks!