Talking about the terrain.
We just finished a two day trip in Salalah Oman and it has been by far the worst port visit thus far. AND here’s why… While we were in Bahrain last time, there was a drinking incident and long story short that got us all in trouble, therefore, while we are in the 5th fleet (Suez Canal up to the Persian Gulf) drinking has been banned for EVERYONE except for designated establishments or beer on the pier, none of which were available in Salalah Oman.
The pier we pulled into was a sorry excuse for land I’ll tell you that. It was a rickety plank of wood with no railings that wasn’t even as long as our ship. It was a concern immediately when we pulled in because of what bad shape it was in.
& the rain came down. I have not seen rain since I left England back in May. It has been a hot desert wasteland with no reprieve, but on the morning we pulled into Oman, you could see the sheets of rain up ahead and the down pour was coming. It hit hard as we blew into the small port and we were being pushed right towards the rickety pier, thank the lord for the tugs.
After we were moored, I was happy to sit back and watch everyone leave as I had duty. This meant 2 days off, but what I would be doing I had no idea, since there wasn’t much to the town and the no drinking thing was a huge bummer. What does Oman have to say for itself?
A minimum of 2 things. Salalah is the frankincense capital of the world. It is said that this is where the wise men picked up the frankincense and Mir before heading to Jesus’s manger to present him with the gifts at his birth.
This is also where the grave of Job is said to be. There was a tour for the frankincense and Job’s tomb but for once I didn’t feel like going on a tour and decided to nix it off my list. The people who did go all said that they enjoyed it.
The second morning we woke up ready to go, but were upsettedly deterred when the captain informed everyone that he was trying to get the one base club approved for drinking and that he wasn’t calling liberty call until the results came back for it. Ugh. We ended up waiting till 1300 (1pm) to leave in a liberty port so that was extremely disappointing but what can you do?!
While we were waiting we had to go get a tour of a South Korean warship. At first I tried adamantly to get out of it, but that was mostly because I was being forced into it and that makes me angry. I don’t want to be forced into anything, but when you are in any organization you are faced with things you don’t want to do, but you still have to do them. So I unhappily went on the tour, and once arriving my attitude changed quickly.
The captain of the South Korean Warship was standing on the brow to greet us when we walked onboard. No one spoke any english except the one interpreter they had onboard. They brought us to their wardroom and gave us treats and tea which was very nice and then showed us a movie.
The name of the ship was MUNMU the Great DDH976. They were very funny. Always laughing about stuff. I never knew about what, but it was contagious. It turns out that South Korea bought their first ship from the U.S. for 18,000 dollars and renovated it completely themselves.
That was very interesting. In the pilot house they asked who stands Officer of the Deck. I pointed at myself and they were very surprised. They said only Lieutenant commanders and above stand bridge watches because of all of the fishing nets right outside of Korea and of course they have North Korea right to the North which is never a good thing I’m sure. They gave me a hot pink hat with MUNMU the great written on it and a coin! It was awesome! Their ship was So SO clean.
When we got back to our ship, they did receive approval that we were allowed to drink and that was the very good NEWS! We hopped on one of the buses and headed to the RITZ CARLTON to relax in the jacuzzi, eat dinner, and then head back to the base club for some beers.
P.S. I’m not an alcoholic but when you spend many days in a row out to sea its nice to be able to pull into port and have a drink or 2 here and there.
Along the way we were stopped at a red light. While sitting on the bus, I turned my head and there, right across the small street, was a car blazing on fire! I mean it was bad. There were like 6 people grouped around it trying to put the fire out and then all of a sudden the car started rolling backwards and there was a small explosion and huge flames erupted from the hood.
It was very exciting. They got a fire extinguisher and put the fire out before the light turned green so it was all was over in a couple of minutes but I commentated the whole thing to the bus, complete with play by play of what was happening since I had the best angle.
After that we headed back into a tree filled area which had tons of banana trees and coconut trees. I didn’t know they grew bananas in Salahah! When we arrived at the hotel we got a room even though it was only for a few hours.
There were 8 of us so it only ended up being about 23 dollars all together it’s called ADMIN room, just a place where we can hang out and shower and then use the key to use all of the hotel facilities.
I immediately jumped into my bathing suit and we were running for the beach in about 2 minutes flat. They had a swimming pool at the hotel and hot tub but it was right on the beach so I made a beeline for the ocean.
I ran as fast as I could to the sand. My feet haven’t touched grass in months so that was a pleasant experience as well. When I got to the beach there was a huge sign that said DANGER NO SWIMMING ALLOWED LARGE RIP CURRENTS. Pshhhh. I blew by that and looked around and there really wasn’t one person in the water but that didn’t bother me. I ran straight into the ocean and fell happily into the first wave. It was magnificent. The waves on this beach were huge and the current was strong and the water was warm.
Everyone else joined me a few minutes later and that’s where we spent the majority of the little time we had. I came out of the water for a little while and just took off running down the beach with the wind whipping in my hair and blowing across my face. I felt pretty free. Better than I have felt in a long time.
We sat in the jacuzzi and then by that time it was getting late so we went back and all got a quick shower, ate dinner at the hotel which really wasn’t that good and headed back to the base for drinks!! While we were standing outside of the hotel waiting for the bus, this huge explosion occurred a second time and the lamp-post right in front of us exploded and a class charlie fire started!
It was crazy. That was the second fire I saw in one day! It was burning all of this black smoke and all the lights went out outside of the hotel. The bus pulled up right then and I was like “let’s go people.” There was nothing we could do so we jumped on the bus and headed back. [As a disclaimer the hotel staff was informed before we left].
I promised everyone that I was going to hold two beers in both hands the entire night and when we arrived we only had 3 hours left so that is indeed what I did. This was my first experience with Kilkenny’s and it won’t be the last. I drank the first 2 beers as fast as lightning and I was feeling it after the first sip, its been over 30 days since my last drink. Haha.
After the second 2 I was slightly deterred by the captain who came over and asked me who the second beer I was holding was for. I just looked at him and smiled. He made me give it to him.
We headed back and of course ended our drunken night in the wardroom with mac and cheese. It was awesome as always.
The next day, drinking got banned because of something stupid that happened and so we spent the entire day at the Hilton since the Ritz was out of rooms and I ate sushi for lunch! Then we got massages and pedicures and lounged around all day. It was nice. We came back around 2300 and went to bed because we were getting underway early.
That’s the end of the story. Our next stop will be ROME!!!! Standby for that!
For a complete listing of all of my deployment articles Click the Link: MY FIRST DEPLOYMENT
This article appeared first on Dynamic Soarer.