Kuria Muria - Tony Cunnane's Autobiography

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Kuria Muria

At one point during my time serving with the Sultan of Oman's Air Force (SOAF as it was when I was there 1984-86), I was detached to Salalah, the capital of the Dhohar Province, at the south-western edge of the Sultanate. One day I was offered a trip in the right hand seat of a Skyvan on one of its regular re-supply missions to the Kuria Muria Islands, situated 40 kms off the Omani south coast (17° 30′ N, 56° 0′ E). Before going to Oman I had never even heard of these five islands so I readily accepted the offer of a visit. I was permitted to take photographs as long as I did not include any of the islanders. Here are some of my images from over 30 years ago that I have never before published on my website.

Above: Our Skyvan parked on the desert strip on the largest island, Al-Hallaniyah. Even the air- and ground- crew kept out of sight.

Above: A well-worn sign just to make sure we were in the right place!

Above: The beach - but there was no sign of the owners.

Above: The track leading to the interior - and the village where all the islanders presumably were.

Above: A strange rock formation just out of sight of the airstrip.

Above: One of the neighbouring islands. Note the orographic clouds - caused when the prevailing wind causes the moisture-laden clouds to rise up over high ground.

Above: When my duty ín Salalah was over it was back to Muscat/Seeb via the desert road. In case you can't quite read it, this signpost shows that Muscat, the Oman capital city, is 1,000kms further on. I stopped here, close to the Thumrait Air Base, which I was definitely not allowed to photograph but where I could refuel my SOAF car, to let the engine cool down after a long, winding climb from sea level. The outside air temperature here was 41 degrees C (106 degrees F). I was told afterwards that, for my own safety, I really should not have done this drive solo!

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