Not the best time to run out of media space on my blog, partway through travelling!

So my blog came to a grinding halt three days ago.

Unable to upload the photos to accompany the post, I couldn’t understand what was happening and I’m using a mobile phone to write and post the blog as we travel, so not all the options are available in comparison to logging in to my site on a computer.

The next day I realised that I had used up my free media allowance for the original blog, so I looked at the options and bought my domain…..but…on reading the instructions for moving the blog to my domain, transferring my existing blog to my new domain is not something I want to do on my phone. It looks like it needs backups, downloads and a quiet afternoon on the computer with no disturbances, not something Im going to get on this trip!

So I created another blog to continue the journey.

Once I’ve posted the first post on the new site, I will add the link to this post for anyone to click onto if you would like to follow me….I’m heading into new territory on the 3/3….watch for the link….

Time to get going…Dubai to Shannah ferry port, Oman….

Getting going was easier said than done.

Post car purchase,we discovered the tyre adaptor key for lowering the spare wheel wasn’t included in the tool kit. Bit of a worry with a 12k plus round trip ahead and trying to find one wasn’t proving easy.

Tyre adaptor key….cost to order 900 dirhams ( over 200 euro!!!)

Lexus had none in the UAE and it was a 3 month delivery for an order so that wasn’t going to work for us on this trip and everywhere else we called didn’t have one in stock…so we bought two spare tyres to carry with us.

Slightly awkward with the spare tyres stacked in the back of the car but, best be safe than sorry. As we had to go back to the car souk to collect the insurance cover, we thought we’d mention the tyre key was missing.

So, car packed it was time to start moving. Heading to the Emirates Road, the OH was fiddling with the GPS unit which wasn’t picking up satellites and therefore, annoyingly, wasn’t working and the trip ahead is a biggie…the route is to Fujairah on the East coast of UAE, cross into Oman at Hatta, down to Masirah island, then to Mirbat in Dhofar, Salalah then along the coast to the Yemen border, then back up through Oman to the Saudi border, cross into Saudi and drive via Abha to Jizan, take the ferry to the Farasan islands in the Red sea for a couple of days then return through the mountains to Taif, then visit a dormant volcano site and return via Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

A GPS unit is crucial for this trip, so a snap decision was made to replace it, but this meant a return trip to the Creek…..aagh, traffic, delay…what to do!

New GPS installed we headed off to the Car souk, where once the tyre tool predicament was explained , the boys headed off to look at their other cars for sale tool kits in case ours had been misplaced.That story will never be known but we left with the correct tyre tool and a saving of approx 200euro as that’s what this piece of metal costs to buy!!!

The reason for the Fujairah diversion to the journey was to collect Grayana cowrie DNA for scientific research for a project that the Smithsonian institute is carrying out in the Middke East… we had missed low tide from our delays but luckily found enough Cowries to take samples so then it was time to cross the border into Oman at Hatta.

Our route was Hatta, Sinaw, Mahout, Shannah…a long drive and sunset happened just after Hatta, so it was a long night drive…a little stop at the new Lulu supermarket in Sinaw for some fruit and a Tandoori takeaway…and a loo with a seat, not always available in the hinterlands of Oman and my new teflon hips are not yet adjusted to super squat mode, so that was a welcome supermarket stop in other ways!

Then the long haul night drive…. we always start off well, chirpy, chatty, music in the background, but after long hours of peering into the dark distance, trying to spot errant camels and blinded by big trucks, tiredness sets in…

Hitting Mahout we had 45 minutes to the camp site and Shannah port but as we came out of town and hit the Sabhka flats ( salt flats subject to tides), so quite dangerous in the dark if you drifted off the road, we hit intense humidity fog. I’ve never seen anything like it, we were completely blind driving using the GPs to stay within the road parameters, very unnerving and the OH was doing a driving/sleeping mode and so a mutual decision was made to pull off the road at the Comms tower as we knew it was high ground and not Sabkha…you cannot pull off the side of the road in Sabhka area, you may not get the car out again!

After an hour the peasouper fog cleared, the OH had had enough sleep to start the drive and we got to Shannah port at 3 am, we slept in the car, putting the tent up at 3 am is tense stuff, easier to crash in the car…

Car sleeping means you invariably wake with the dawn and as it’s really uncomfortable, you are happy to get up as the sun rises…so we headed off out onto the sandbanks to see what was around at sunrise…

Having had a successful day out on the low tide sandbanks,we decided to take the last ferry of the day across to Masirah and camp there to avoid waking at 4am to get the first local ferry at sunrise and could we could camp on Masirah without pressure to have another early start…

Trip route- Dubai to Fujairah, cross the Oman border at Hatta then to Sinaw and Shannah.

Oman Butterfly diary 2-Byblia ilithyia, Joker…

Oman diary, October 2019: We had decided to travel along the coast from Salalah to the Yemen border, retracing steps from previous years, but it’s a fantastic drive with many unexpected sights, so it’s always a pleasure to retrace, but that’s for another post.

One deep wadi, Wadi Sayq is the last major road construction hurdle before you get to Sarfayt, the town before the Yemen border.

Quite how this road was constructed amazes me, carved down the sides of the towering cliffs, hairpin bends, horrifying drops and, with the effects of the previous year’s cyclone and the rains just before we arrived, landslides and road cave-ins littered the route down.

The wadi is inaccessible from the coast, towering heights plummet down to the shore on either side and unless you are fully equipped and ready for some serious boulder climbing, there are few places you are able to access the wadi where the road crosses it.

But it is worth trying to find those few places. Wadi Sayq is remote, inaccessible and home to a huge variety of flora and fauna, not least the Arabian leopard, according to papers from many different biodiversity expeditions to this Wadi.

It’s where I found my first and so far, my only find of a Joker butterfly.

Byblia ilithyia is unmistakable. The underside, a honey color crisscrossed with pattern and the upperside a deep orange with black bars, it’s a strikingly, beautiful butterfly.

The distribution of ilithyia stretches from Niger/Burkina Faso to Ethiopia, Southwestern Arabia and Dhofar; it reappears in dry Southern India and Sri Lanka.

In Dhofar, this butterfly is quite common in the dense vegetation of the scarp and in the valleys of the coast

it was an unexpected sight to stumble across, but I had my camera to hand!

It didn’t stay around too long, but I took my shots… very gratifying to stumble across this beauty!



Habitat Information from the “The Butterflies of Oman” by Torben and Kiki Larsen.


Weekly Photo challenge : Evanescent…

This week, WordPress weekly photo challenge asks us to show us a moment in time that holds meaning for you.

My photo was taken under the bridge that connects the mainland of Oman to Shannah port for the ferry to the island of Masirah.

I was using my new camera, a Fujifilm X-T20 and I had little idea of the settings when I took this, having been taught manual photography in the Nikon world. Each time you move, you have to understand the product-speak to relate to what you know..

( I am impatient, black mark) but a lesson to self, this is a camera that needs to be loved and cared for, the results are incredible

My past is in art and I see this shot in this way, even though the exposure is all wrong, the colours are intensified, it just gives a clue to what you can do to play with a picture…This shot is my played out and edited result…




Monday Window: 1/8/16

From the city of Salalah in Southern Oman to the Yemen border, the road twists and turns through a series of hairpin bends, eventually climbing to the top of the escarpment, with towering cliffs plummeting down to the Indian ocean.

During monsoon a pervading mist hangs over the escarpment but every so often, when the road gets to about 1000 metres high, you pop out of the mist into bright, brilliant sunshine with incredible views and on this particular release into sunlight, even a small pink shelter perched on top of the mountain, with rather striking brickwork for the windows.

Such buildings and design are typical in Oman, used as shelters from the sun (sometimes rain, as this area receives a fair amount)  with the air bricks allowing for cool air in the heat of the day, although it’s the first pink one I’ve ever seen….

Taking part in Monday Window, a weekly event, pop over and join in the challenge….

Monday Window Home

Monday Window Home


Thursday Doors

DSC_2796 (1)

A typical Omani door in rural areas. This door leads directly into the house, sometimes the houses have a walled courtyard and larger doors or gates are the entry point, with no visibility of the house behind, for privacy purposes.The colour in this desert environment is a welcome sight and stands out from the muted surrounding sand tones.

Weekly Photo challenge : Optimistic #2

  1. disposed to take a favorable view of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
  2. reflecting a favorable view of events and conditions and the expectation of a positive outcome; demonstrating
 In distant areas of Oman, towns are small, huge distances between each and surrounded by thousands of kilometers of sand and gravel plains, with some dune desert areas. Sand is everywhere… in this region, it’s part of life. Flashing through one of these small towns yesterday on the way back to the big Dubai city, passing these workers, their task of sweeping the sand away seemed somewhat optimistic.


Driving the Jebel Al Harim road to the Rawdah bowl, Musandam peninsula, Oman

Dubai to Rawdah, Oman via Jebel Al Harim..

Dubai to Rawdah, Oman via Jebel Al Harim..


On a separate trip to Musandam, a visit to the mountain of Jebel Al Harim beckoned. Inland from Khasab and on the route via Wadi Bih to the town of Dibba on the east coast of the peninsula. Sadly the Dibba border is only open to GCC nationals, so a retracing of the route is required if you are not blessed with such a document….  Continue reading