06-Jul-2007 -- The Great Oman Offshore Confluence Hunt - Part 1 - 24N 59E
We had talked about the remaining Oman confluences for a long time. John Edwards and partners managed to get the last land confluence 23N 59E during last winter. This left only the offshore Confluences, these Confluences are quite a ways offshore and in deep unprotected water. Finding a boat and a captain that were capable and willing to go the distance was the only issue.
A fishing trip last January provided the answer - not only did we catch some bloody big yellow fin Tuna (77 kg) near 24N 59E, we also found the boat we needed. Nomad Tours runs this boat, twin 200 Hp outboards, capable of about 300 km range, and it hauls ass. Captain Saheem Salim Saif al-Battashi was a little puzzled, but more than willing when we asked him early morning on 6 July to take us to two offshore Confluences and that we really were not interested in fishing that day.
Andrew Rumford, myself, and Captain Saheem left Masqaṭ Marina at 07:00 and made a straight line for 24N 59E. Distance was about 65 km to the NE, we got there in about 1 ½ hours. Sea conditions were fine with slight swell from the East, and little wind, temperature about 42°C. The Confluence is in the middle of a very strategic shipping channel between Oman and Iran, and lies in over 3300 m depth of water. Occasionally you see whales, oil tankers, cargo ships, and various Navy Ships out here. But on this day we saw nothing.
There was a strong current running opposite the swell, and the captain had a difficult time of getting us right on the spot, but after several tries, the GPS record shows that we ran right over the top of the Confluence at one pass. Trying to focus the camera on the GPS and give directions at the same time was a bit of excitement, and I managed to get the picture pretty close to all zeros.
Weather was hot and humid, and visibility around only 5 km. No chance of seeing any land. I imagine that on a clear day on a view to the South, you would be able to make out the top of the al-Ḥajar al-Šarqiyy mountains which rise 2000 m behind Masqaṭ.
One down, one to go - now on to 24N 58E, 102 km due west.