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Drive from Sur toward Ras Al Hadd. At T-junction turn right and follow signs to Ras Al Jinz. Turn left after 6km (signposted Turtle Reserve). Surf rights in front of the rocks or lefts at the other end of the beach.
Easy to find?
Alternative name Turtles
Good day length
Good swell direction,
Good wind direction,
Swell sizeStarts working at and holds up to
Best tide position
Best tide movement
So I was speeding off to Ras Al Hadd with two guys named Abdullah...Camels and mountains blurring past on one side, dhows, fishing shacks and the emerald Indian Ocean on the other.
And it was flat.
6 hours travelling to this spot and I wasn't even going to get a surf - I was spewing...
I knew there was another spot further round the coast so I got Abdullah and Abdullah to take me over to Ras Al Jinz instead. By sheer coincidence, this is a Green Turtle Nesting Site and therefore a Ministry Conservation Area. Although the guards at the barrier had just turned another car away, this wasn't going to put us off, and after alot of good Arabic gesticulation and heated discussion, pointing at the board which was by now sagging in the heat, they raised the barrier and let us through. We raced down the track and in classic Endless Summer fashion, crested the final dune to see: a solid 4 ft dredging pit, closing out the length of the bay. Fucken A!!! At least it wasn't flat!!! In fact, after watching it for a bit there was the odd shoulder that you could get on, with a racetrack section into floater / pullout. But after 5 minutes I could see a pick-up bearing rapidly down on us with this old dude wanting to speak with me. I jumped in the back of the pick-up and he took me into the office where I had to get a permit saying that I wasn't going to do stuff like, I don't know, butt rape turtles and so on. He was cool though and said I could stay the night there and have a conservation guide show me round later.
As I started paddling out, there were some real bombs unloading top to bottom on the steeply sloping beach - it was a close call as to whether they were surfable or not. Left and right peaks were breaking on either end of the bay, so I started with the sucky lefts and threw myself headlong into some deliciously hollow but unfortunately short jacking beauties. Pretty soon some good 1 1/2 overhead sets started pulsing through - usually the third of the set had a peeling face - the take offs were steep and late and a good few ended up with me trying to pull out too late and getting sucked over and bounced around the bottom- pretty powerful for the size and I've had a touch of whiplash the last two days! The amount of sealife I saw whilst surfing was staggering - whole schools of fish could be seen in the face of the waves as they jacked up and started to feather down the line - a stingray swam past me as fish up to a foot and a half leapt out the water all around - it felt like a scene from Disney; . Yep.
After about 3 hours I paddled down the bay and started working the rights - these were mellower and held up longer, with the odd left coming through too. Looking back at the beach, I'd see groups of Omani women walking into the wind across the tops of the dunes in their black jellabah robes flowing out behind them. It was an extraordinary site - so beautifully timeless and it set the moment perfectly as the sun was beginning to set behind the mountains. As the sun sank, I noticed a couple of brown/green heads starting to poke up in the line-up - the turtles had arrived.
I caught a last wave and as I was walking back to my hut, had pitta stuffed with spiced barbecued chicken and fruit pressed into my hands by this lovely omani father who was there with his whole family. What's so nice is that they enjoy the beach life so much - barbecuing, playing music, watching the sunset and seem to have a real respect for what they have. At around 10pm, the guides led us into the nesting ground. We'd been waiting until this time as the whole event just runs like clockwork. The stars were phenomenal - the Milky Way arching over us and constellations the like of which I've never seen. With Dreadzone, Thievery Corporation and Adem coming through in stere-ere-oh, I was on a different level to the others that had rocked up. The determination of the green turtle when laying her eggs is staggering - the nest has to be exactly the right dimensions, with an additional recess at the bottom in which to drop the eggs. In soft sand with a 200-300 kilo turtle sitting on top this is a hell of a job. Not to mention the fact that she's not exactly dextrous - two unwieldy front flippers are less that perfect digging tools. Some hatchlings had valiantly set a course, but unfortunately this was going to take them up into the mountains, so they had to be put back in sight of the ocean - these little dudes just don't stop - it's like they're clockwork, and I couldn't help thinking of Finding Nemo when they hit the first wave "Dude, you just got totally wiped out - like gnarly bro. Tchaah, sweeeet"
It's pretty funny that of all the places I've lost phones, there's now another that's at the bottom of a nest having been buried by a green turtle.
Well worth the trip.
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