Muscat: The Sultanate’s coral reefs are in the peak of glory after three months of human pause thanks to lockdown.
Extra Divers Qantab is abuzz as divers return to find plenty of Dendrodoris Krusensternii, Choromodoris Tinctoria, Durban Dancing Shrimp, Green collar Goby and marine creatures.
Yazid El Shaari, a Libyan underwater photographer, is grateful to Extra Divers Qantab (EDQ) for an invite to be on the first boat trip marking the end of lockdown.
The trip was split into two groups to clean fishing nets from two coral reefs and Yazid went with Mirko Matto, captain from Extra Divers Mirbat.
Yazid says he was thankful for the health procedures put in place to ensure a safe diving experience.
Damiano Fillisi, Area Manager of Extra Divers Worldwide, Oman, says guest safety is their top concern, and diving after COVID-19 crisis will most likely never be the same. “We have had to adjust many of our daily operating procedures to best suit the needs of those around us. Sanitisation of equipment and the health and safety of guests is as high a priority for us as protecting our environment.”
Tamsyn Nicholson, EDQ dive instructor, says they are still adapting to the new needs of the diving world after the pandemic. The diving has definitely improved in the coastal town of Bandar Khayran.
“Although water temperatures are slowly dropping again and visibility changes a lot, there is a lot more marine life on the dive sites which makes for more exciting dives as you never quite know where to look.”
A Spanish diver admits that it is amazing to be outdoors and refreshed in this heat. “I cannot wait for my next dive as after months of staying at home were happy I could go diving again.”
Another diver from Russia feels that diving after lockdown comes with a lot of adapting. “It is exciting to see some reefs are still teeming with life even though nets have been laid across them. The team at Extra Divers is working to remove the nets with the help of the Ministry of Environment.”
Their instructors are also excited to continue educating divers of all experience levels as all courses are still available for bookings. However, until further communications, they are only able to accommodate groups of guests who are from the same households.
Photos: Damiano Fillisi