Swimming is mentioned specifically in the collected teachings, deeds and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Along with archery, walking, and horseracing the Hadith instructs Muslims to teach their children to swim. This Sunna is often discussed in the context of taking care of the body, of exercise.
My first imaginings of the Middle East were of vast deserts in every direction. While this is, in part, true, I didn’t take into account the incredible coastlines along the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea. People in the Arab world have as much a history on the sea as they do in the deserts.
|A little wadi art|
Something else absent from my fantasy geography were the hundreds of Wadis. Wadis - sometimes dry trails at the base of valleys but oftentimes deep pools and rivers bisected by torrents of clean water running from high soft rock plateaus into larger bodies of water. Wadis throughout the Levant empty into the Dead Sea and many closer to the coast find their way to the Ocean.
After hiking and swimming through several wadis over the past 18 months I understand a little better the holy directive to walk, to swim. Oman’s landscape is a product of some of the most intense geological activity to be found on the earth. Plates have been bumping and subducting and pushing up ocean floor for hundreds of thousands of years. One of the results is a series of mountains and plateaus that taper, eventually, into the Indian Ocean on the East coast of Oman. Over time water and debris have carved out pools and paths through the mountains that many hike up into on hot weekends.
Our favorite Wadi to date is Wadi Shab which ends with a tiny keyhole swim into a cave bearing a secret waterfall. I’ve linked to someone else’s youtube video of the swim since I haven’t quite trusted myself to swim a giant Canon into the cave. The other pictures I’ve snapped along the way and at other wadis in the area.
There are myriad wadis in Oman left to explore…and it looks like we just might get a little more time to explore than we’d planned!
....I know, the teasing. It’s rude, isn’t it? But after our initially sad-making experience with bidding I wanted to keep some great news to myself for a while. ...and also make sure it’s real!
|Entrance of Wadi where rocks and debris are deposited before water runs into the ocean|
|On the left you'll see the falaj system funneling water to crops along the wadi|
|This is not photoshopped people - it is that green/blue and that clear|
|Little Snake Canyon has drops and waterfalls a plenty|
|Entrance to another wadi "Little Snake Canyon"|