Water enthusiasts who are traveling to Muscat can put Fahal Island on their travel itinerary. This limestone cliff is made up of corals, shells, and algae. Also called Shark Island, it is noted for its triple giant rocky pinnacles that peek out above sea level.
The limestone that dates back millions of years was originally part of the seafloor but the changes in sea levels exposed the rock formation. Located 4km from the shore of Muscat, the island can easily be reached by boat arranged by our Oman dive center.
The surrounding waters make an interesting site for snorkeling and diving for different levels of experience because of its varying depths.
Marine life encounters
Exploring these waters is always fun and exciting because of the variety of marine creatures that you can encounter. The large schools of fish love to swim in the coral garden making the waters abuzz with fish of all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes. It’s an amazing visual treat for snorkelers and divers alike.
Barracudas, a.k.a. “Tigers of the Sea”
There’s a likelihood to encounter barracudas swimming overhead. These marine predators have slim and elongated bodies that help them maneuver easily along reefs during a hunt. They earned the nickname “Tigers of the Sea” because of their dark green, bluish, or grayish-brown body marked with stripes and fang-like teeth. Juvenile barracudas may be seen in large schools while mature ones prefer their solitary ways especially when hunting. Some folks say that a barracuda likes to attack anything shiny. The truth is barracudas like to go after jacks, groupers, grunts, snappers, small tuna, anchovies, and other silvery fish but it doesn’t mean that they will attack something just because its shiny.
You have a chance to see a honeycomb moray eel protruding its head from a rock crevice. This fascinating creature has big, glaring eyes and a massive jaw that it likes to open and close. The act may seem menacing but it’s actually the moray’s way of forcing water over its internal gill chamber that allows it to breathe. Sometimes, a cleaner shrimp can be seen at the surface of the moray’s mouth. It’s a symbiotic relationship since the moray eel benefits by having its parasites removed while the cleaner shrimp gets a tasty meal. It’s recommended not to get too close to one because it might feel threatened and attack. Never feed a moray eel especially with your bare hands. Although they have poor vision, they have a keen sense of smell and might confuse your hand with food.
Blacktip reef sharks
There’s a possibility to spot blacktip reef sharks cruising in the shallow sandbanks. They have short, pointed snouts and narrow-cusped teeth. Adults can measure around 1.8m to 2.9m and weigh about 130 kilograms. These sharks have white and brownish-gray bodies. Their fins are marked with black or dark brown tips as well as their pectoral and tail fins. Blacktip reef sharks are nimble swimmers. They are capable of pursuing prey such as stingrays, shrimps, crabs, squid, cuttlefish, and others.
Mobula rays, a.k.a. “devil rays”
If you’re lucky, you can witness a group of Mobula rays performing fantastic acrobatic stunts. Did you know that Mobula rays are also called devil rays? The Mobula ray got this nickname because of the way it scoops its prey into its mouth. It makes use of its floppy lobes that hang on each side of its heads, making them appear like devilish horns. Despite its villain-like name, devil rays have no appetite for humans. These shy and harmless creatures are filter-feeders that like gorge on plankton, krill and small fish.
Giant eagle rays like to cruise along the waters of Fahal Island. As their name suggests, these marine animals look like mighty birds soaring through the water. They prefer to swim along the bottom of the ocean where they feed on clams, crabs, and snails. Its wings can stretch more than 7 feet which makes a giant eagle ray a spectacular sight in motion.
The calm waters around Fahal Island are suitable for divers of all levels. Some of the famous dive sites in Fahal Island when diving Muscat are Bill’s Bump, Hamburger Bay, Shark Point, Shallow Reef, Deep Reef, Ray Bay & Cave, and Tug & Barge.