SAILING IN THE GULF OF OMAN
THE luxurious speed boats docked at Marina Bandar Al Rowdha in Muscat are a welcome sight but none of them are your sailing vessel. You do things with panache and hire a private yacht to set sail on the Gulf of Oman to spot dolphins. The best time to sight them is early morning and the best months to explore Oman’s diverse marine life are between April and July.
The warm waters of the Gulf attract these mammals who migrate here making it a memorable half-day outing. Even if you don’t sight dolphins, let your personal staffpamper you with a picnic or a beach barbeque. You can dive, snorkel or try your hand at angling. The Gulf is home to lobsters, prawns, squids, tuna and barracudas. Four species of turtles — green, loggerhead, olive ridley and hawksbill — make their nests on Oman’s beaches.
While you are living the good life on your yacht with the Hazar Mountains in the backdrop, you look out and the Al Alam Palace becomes visible. This is the ceremonial palace which stands out with its blue and gold facade in contrast to the other white and off-white structures of Muscat. It derives its name from the flagpole on its roof which is the tallest in Muscat. Al Alam is the venue of official events and is used to welcome VIPs and dignitaries.
Let your gaze shift to the Al Jalali and Al Mirani forts which are located on either side of the Palace. These forts were constructed in the 16th century and during the rule of the Portuguese, this area was the primary harbour from where all trade was carried out.
AT THE visitor centre of Amouage perfumes in Muscat, you can treat your olfactory senses to unique scents and aromas. You can also learn how one of the most expensive perfumes in the world is curated from exotic high-quality ingredients like frankincense, oak moss, angelica, tonka beans, rosemary, chamomile, bay leaf and red and black peppercorns which are sourced from all over the world.
Amouage was founded in 1983 by the royal family to encourage the traditional art of perfumery. A rare ingredient used is frankincense or olibanum which is grown in the southern Omani region of Dhofar, known as the land of Frankincense. Its oil, used for making signature perfumes for men, is extracted using steam distillation. You get to learn that after steam distillation, German chamomile has a sweet straw-like scent while Roman chamomile has a sweet apple-like fragrance.
While oakmoss, a species of lichen, provides an earthy, forest like aroma, cardamom lends a fresh scent to the composition. The fresh roots of angelica have a terpenic top note while the dried roots have a heavier earthy bouquet. Cumin is extracted from ripe seeds and has a spicy and penetrating aroma. Nutmeg is extracted by steam distillation to give a sharp and musky aroma.
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July 01, 2020