Ritz-Carlton Magazine - Fall 2013 - (Page 98)

outdoors Uncharted territory In s e a r c h of u n I qu e u nd e r wate r th rI lls , s e a so ne d d Iv e r r ob e rt bald w In ta k e s a p lu nge I n oma n’s a r abI a n s e a s PhotograP hs by robert baldwin SIGHTS TO BEHOLD From left: The critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle, spotted among soft coral at a dive site called Wall Street; two of the writer ’s fellow divers looking out onto the series of islands off Oman’s mainland known as Bandar Khayran. 98 w w w. r i t z c a r lt o n . c o m M Much of my life has been spent underwater. As a writer and photographer of marine-life books, I’ve spent 25 years as a tourist of the ocean’s major metropolises: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, remote parts of Papua New Guinea, the world’s largest lagoon in the Solomon Islands, the crystal clear waters of the Maldives, and Canada’s current-swept Gulf Islands, among others. I have seen my share of creatures so alien that scientists struggle to classify them. But today I have come to a location that, after all these years and all those dives, intrigues me more than most: the Sultanate of Oman. Only a handful of documented dive sites currently exist here, and the abundant marine life is still largely unstudied. It’s a part of the Indian Ocean still waiting to be discovered. Earlier this morning, after a traditional breakfast of ful medames (mashed fava beans), fresh Arabic bread, hummus and local fruit at our resort — Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel — my wife and regular dive buddy, Annabelle, and I set out for Bandar Khayran, a series of lagoons and sun-drenched sand islands framed by turquoise waters that are studded with vibrant coral reefs. It takes us a mere 20 minutes by boat from Marina Bandar Al Rowdha, in the heart of Oman’s capital city of Muscat, to get here. And yet, when I look around, I see that we are isolated; there is not another dive boat in sight. Nor can I spot any buildings or roads on the stark, mountainous shore — not a single sign of modern development. This alone is a shocking sight in today’s construction-happy Middle Eastern capitals. But it turns out to be the day’s least surprising visual. http://WWW.RITZCARLTON.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Ritz-Carlton Magazine - Fall 2013

Ritz-Carlton Magazine - Fall 2013
Contents
Contributors
Editor’s Letter
President’s Letter
Falling in Love With ... Barcelona
Design
Shopping
Beauty
Gifts
Jewelry
Watches
Behind the Scenes
Family
Local Knowledge
Outdoors
As It Was
Culinary
Let Us Stay With You
Heritage

Ritz-Carlton Magazine - Fall 2013

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