Wednesday, November 28:  Our plan didn’t include visiting Sur, on the east coast of Oman, but here we are.  Due to the unexpected debacle at the Masirah Island Ferry dock yesterday, we end up deposited here, in a town known for its attractive corniche, excellent beaches and its long history of dhow-building.

Sur was formerly a bustling port and trading center, shipping goods to and from India and East Africa.  A series of reverses in the 19th century led to a reduction in the town’s fortunes, including the arrival of European steamships in the Indian Ocean, the British prohibition of slavery, the split with Zanzibar and the rise of the port of Muscat. The town has revived in recent years due to the opening of the massive OLNG natural gas plant up the coast (The Rough Guide to Oman).

The old part of town sits on a peaceful lagoon with views of blue water and white buildings in every direction.  We climb to the tallest hill in town, topped by a watchtower, for some sweeping views of the city and bridge.

Click on any of the images below for a full-sized slide show.

We drive further into a larger lagoon where we find herons and plovers in a marshy area at low tide.  After, we head to the Old Harbour where we see colorful fishing boats in the lagoon.

Since Mario used to teach at the Sur University College, he knows some people here.  We meet some of his old friends for lunch at the Sur Plaza Hotel, after which we drive back home, exhausted from our 14-hour grueling trip yesterday.

We stop a couple of times for photos of luminous clouds casting shadows on mountains, a bright coral sunset and a nearly simultaneous moonrise near Izki.