When I first arrived at Wadi Shab, I originally thought those boats were privately owned; but after finding out that all I needed to do was pay one Omani Rial — or approximately $2.60 — to be taken by boat to the other side, I then caught the next vessel out for my boat ride into Wadi Shab.
As I boarded the small pale blue boat, I noticed a nondescript red tent with a colorful sign which announced that that was the “ladies prayer room”, anchored with boxes and used paint buckets on the rocky landscape near the entrance.
I was the only passenger in the boat on the short ride across the wadi to the other side. The “captain” of the boat did not have much to say as we passed under Highway 17 while leaving a small wake on the surface of the stagnant green water.
It was another opportunity to admire the otherwise unforgiving landscape; and the movement of the motor boat created a rare but welcome breeze to the hot, still air.
The faces of the hills — or small mountains; whatever you want to call them — are too sheer on either side of the wadi near the entrance for pedestrians to walk on either side, which is why the boat service is essential.
The boat slowed down and stopped at a small dock near the shore. “Shukran,” I said to the “captain” of the boat, who nodded and turned right back around to head back towards the entrance of Wadi Shab. You can see the boat with its “captain” in the photographs above and below as it pulled away.
I took another moment to admire the view from a different vantage point before I set off on my adventure.
I could barely see the vehicles parked under Highway 17 near the entrance of Wadi Shab across the water.
The photographs above and below clearly depict the steepness of the sheer face of the rocky hills which appear to cradle the wadi — almost as if they were protecting it — and how walking at certain points on either side of the wadi was basically impossible…
…without getting wet, that is — and no swimming is permitted in this water.