Veiled women in the dunes in Masirah island - Oman
Masirah is an island of the East coast of Oman, 95 km long north-south, between 12 and 14 km wide, with an area of about 649 km², and a population estimated at 12,000 in 12 villages mainly in the north of the island Administratively, it forms one of the eleven provinces of the Ash Sharqiyah Region. The principal village is Dawwāh in the northern part of the island. It contains an Omani air base and a fish factory, as well as a few small towns. Most of the island's interior is deserted, with access to the island only possible by a small ferry for cars or by Omani Air Force Hercules (RAFO) flights.
The main industries are fishing and traditional textile manufacturing. Formerly, traditional ship building was important. The rugged terrain of the island and surrounding rough coastline has led to the appearance of many wrecked dhows on the beaches of the island, most of them well preserved by the salt water and intense heat. The ocean bottom environment surrounding Masirah is hostile as the majority of the area is covered in either sand or hard rock. There is a swift current flowing through the area with a very sharp halocline visible on the surface of the ocean. The water depth nearby is around 10 meters and is not conducive to side-scan sonar searches due to the shallow water and choppy surface conditions. Despite the poor quality ocean bottom, the area is very productive with marine fisheries, and any hard objects (barrels, engines) are immediately colonized by local fauna.
© Eric Lafforgue