Searching for Turtles Underwater in Turtle Bay, Bandar Jissah, Yiti, Oman

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We’ve had the fortunate opportunity to be able to snorkel at many locations in the world; Dahab in Egypt, Makena Beach in Maui, United States, the atolls of Hadahaa in the Maldives, and the reefs of Le Morne in Mauritius to name a few. It’s not often you get the opportunity to experience some really large fish absent of any larger predators. We happened to find success in Bandar Jissah off the Coast of Yiti in Oman with some excellent turtles and tropical parrot fishes.


This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity: Searching for Turtles Underwater in Bandar Jissah, Yiti, Oman.

This post is about our experiences snorkelling with Turtles in Bandar Jissah in Oman. You are invited to see these posts our experiences staying at the nearby Shangri-La Bandar Al Jissah Resort and Spa and visiting the Darkness Muttah Souq in Muscat, Oman.


Every trip, we usually take the trouble of packing our snorkel gear with us in our suitcases. This is usually followed by a discussion on arrival between MrsWT73 and I about whether to take a snorkeling excursion or not. Trade offs involve missing a day on the beach, and having a whole day tied up on a boat, and sometimes a car, while we travel to the boat and the snorkel site. Our only miss (as in experience let down) has been snorkeling in Bali, and we’ve otherwise had great to excellent snorkelling in the Hadahaa Reef – Maldives, Makena Beach- Maui, USA, Le Morne, Mauritius and Dahab, Egypt. 

Today’s adventure was organized by the hotel provider Extra Divers Qantab. Our half day tour was to take us to Turtle Bay for 16 OMR with own equipment ($41 USD) or 20 OMR ($51 USD) without equipment. The tour offered 1 hour of snorkeling in one spot, as reflected by the accurate and not so accurate map.

Turtle Bay Dive Location
Low Tech Map

The trip out was from the nearby marina just outside of the hotel gantry gates. The marina was 10 minute walk, and also accessible “on request” by the hotel property shuttle.

Marina Boats

Our ride out was with a group of about 15 other persons which is a nice manageable group. The scenary through the khors was excellent as can be expected from this area. 

Heading out on the Water
An Open Air Experience
Canyon Walls
Desert Mountains against Water

Snorkelling in the Bays off Bandar Jissah:

I’m happy to report that the snorkeling experience was excellent. This area appears to be unique as the fish were exceptionally large. The corals were also nicely developed and not stepped on like some other higher traffic areas. I’d estimate that there were probably only about 30 people visiting a day in this region, including the 15 on our boat.

Tropical Fish
Schools of Tropical Fish

The visibility was not as clear as it could be but outweighed by the size fish. We were informed by the dive master that there were few predators in this part of the world and as a such, the fish were really big. Many of them were just enormous. We rated it right behind the south Maldives as best snorkeling we’d ever experienced. You can judge the reef for yourself by these photographs.

Schools of Fish

Swimming with Turtles in Oman:

This part of the world is known for its turtles. There are many varieties in Oman with the country being known for a friendly home of these animals.

After about 30 minutes in the water, we set out to try and find some. Little did we know one was right beneath us. As you can see they really camoflage well with the surroundings, you really have to pay attention. We’ve only been lucky enough to see turtles here at Turtle Bay in Oman, and at Kanapalli Beach in Maui, USA.

Turtles Blending in with the Corals
They Hide Exceptionally Well
Turtles of Oman

We were able to follow this particular one around for about 10 minutes without him getting too spooked at our presence. You’ll also note the absence of any other persons getting close to him / her as well.

What an absolutely special adventure to be able to swim with these turtles in their own environment. The surroundings were quiet and unexplored leaving us the ability to enjoy these wonderful creatures without interference and other visitors.

Overall, it was a fantastic snorkelling experience and like Muttrah Souq, as yet to be discovered by the rest of the world. The peace and beauty of the surrounding was further highlighted by our trip back to the resort. This included a spin through the natural arch.

The Natural Khors of Oman
Heading Back to the Resort
From the Water: The Shangri-La Bandar Al Jissah, Oman
Heading Through the Natural Arch
Speeding Through the Natural Arch


We retired that evening on our last night with a glass of cold white wine to a lovely view from our deck at the Shangri La Bandar Al Jissah Resort and Spa. A perfect day drawn to a close. 

Sunset Views at the Shangri La Bandar Al Jissah
Sunset Views at the Shangri-La Bandar Al Jissah

A truly special day.

My Thoughts on our Dip in the Waters of Bandar Jissah, Oman:

What a special day to experience some time on a boat in Bandar Al Jissah’s remote sea side coves of Oman. The contrast of desert mountains and ocean, made for a very memorable experience. The fact that there were so few tourists and other travellers at the snorkel point made for a very intimate experience that felt very private. This was reflected in the amount of fish that were there, including some of the most engaging turtles we’ve had the opportunity to see during our travels.


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