Back to the Mid­dle East

Sport Diver - - Editor’s Letter - Mark Evans, EDITOR

As you read this col­umn, I will have just re­turned from an as­sign­ment to the Sul­tanate of Oman. Even though I travel for work reg­u­larly in this coun­try and abroad, and en­joy all of my trips re­gard­less of where they are to, I was par­tic­u­larly look­ing for­ward to this one, as it would rep­re­sent the first time I had been out to Oman since way back in 2000. I was en­am­oured with the desert coun­try on my ini­tial visit, suc­cumb­ing to the allure of the bar­ren moun­tains, dra­matic wadis and invit­ing coast­line, but at that time it was still rel­a­tively un­known on the div­ing scene and we felt just a hint of that pi­o­neer­ing spirit that the first divers into the Red Sea must have felt. How things change. Now Oman has a thriv­ing tourist trade, but it is still not that widely spo­ken of in the div­ing world. I reckon this is be­cause ev­ery­one who goes falls in love with the place and doesn’t want to share it with any­one else, which means I will prob­a­bly get lynched when my first ar­ti­cle ex­tol­ing the virtues of Oman ap­pears in next month’s is­sue! So use my ad­ven­tures to serve as an in­cen­tive for you to tag on a re­peat visit to some­where you have ven­tured to in the past among your up­com­ing dive trips. It doesn’t have to be abroad - there are plenty of great div­ing lo­ca­tions in the UK that you must have fre­quented once or twice but haven’t been back to in an age. I love ex­plor­ing new des­ti­na­tions, but there is some­thing spe­cial about re­turn­ing to an old favourite and get­ting reac­quainted... On the new ex­pe­ri­ence front, I fi­nally got up to the Farne Is­lands to dive with the seals, and I dragged my wife Pen­ney along with me. A com­mit­ted warm wa­ter diver, she was tempted by the prom­ise of get­ting up close and per­sonal with friendly seals, plus she’d just got her Long Term Test, made-to-mea­sure dry­suit from Roho, so she had no hope of avoid­ing go­ing for a cou­ple of dives in the UK!

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