Every summer in Oman the southwest monsoon or Khareef, one of the world’s most powerful weather systems, transforms the barren landscapes of Dhofar into a lush and verdant land of plenty for wildlife and plants. More rain falls here in the summer than in the whole of Arabia combined in a year.
The Khareef has a massive effect on southern Oman’s underwater world. Powerful winds and currents combine to draw vast volumes of cold water up from the depths bringing with them enormous quantities of nutrients that support an abundance of marine life that, in turn, create a unique ecosystem in which tropical and temperate species live side by side. Meanwhile, in the Sea of Oman, a layer of cold water lying just a few metres below the surface protects corals from the searing summer heat.
The diversity of Oman’s marine life is spectacular. Oman is one of the world’s most important sea turtle rookeries; four out of the seven species find nesting sanctuaries here. Coral communities teeming with life are home to over 1,600 species of fish and nearly 200 species of corals. Whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, make regular seasonal appearances while colourful reef fish glide over vibrant corals and rocky outcrops that hide shy species such as the dramatically beautiful dragon moray eel. The ‘macro’ world of crustaceans and nudibranchs, meanwhile, is no less fascinatingl.
In an underwater world, where mysteries still run deep, Secret Seas is brimming with stunning images featuring 160 different species while an insightful narrative explains why Oman’s seas are so special.