Think Oman and it might be the rugged mountains, sparse and unspoiled deserts or the rich historical heritage that springs to mind. However, this Arab state is also becoming increasing well known as a tourist destination in terms of its spectacular diving opportunities.

Some say the real treasure of this fascinating sultanate lies beneath the dazzling, warm crystal waters of the Arabian Sea, where abundant marine life and forests of colourful corals make for a magical underwater experience. With a coast taking in not just the Arabian Sea, but also the Gulf of Oman and parts of the Arabian Gulf, opening upon the Indian Ocean, the tropical climate of this latitude makes for waters teaming with all manner of colourful sea life. With such an array of spectacular wildlife, diving in Oman is really starting to become a talked about holiday destination in 2012.

From many holiday resorts in Oman you will find opportunities to go whale and dolphin watching, with even the mighty sperm whale often seen in deeper waters. Closer to shore, popular dive sites boast a selection of vibrant tropical fish, seahorses, manta rays and turtles, weaving and darting in and out of a rich and colourful array of coral reefs.

These waters offer something for divers of all levels, with everything from shallow water snorkelling expeditions to dives of up to 30 metres and beyond. There is plentiful reef diving and also a number of historic and fascinating wrecks to explore in the blue depths. The year-round warm climate and general good underwater visibility make this a remarkably popular site for scuba. Great sites to investigate are in the north, in Musandam with its steep wall dives and towering fjords, or in the secluded bays of Bandar al Jissah close to the capital Muscat. Alternatively in the south, off the Salalaha coast, is found some fantastic wildlife and great diving localities for all abilities.

Because Oman diving, impressive as it is, is not yet very widely known, there is plenty of space and privacy to explore and sites remain free from the tiresome overcrowding experienced elsewhere. For beginners there are also plentiful courses available from a number of different dives centres where you can practice in the safety of a pool, earning your accreditation for more ambitious dives as well as those at greater depths.

With all of these beautiful locations awaiting the curious marine explorer, Oman’s underwater paradise is not likely to remain a secret for long. So hurry, get your wetsuit on and dive in, the water’s lovely!

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