Khawr Shamm - the longest fjord in Musandam

With its 16 kilometers the Khawr Shamm is the longest fjord in Musandam. Its imposing cliff walls – up to 1000 meter high – the small islands and peninsulas, coral reefs and villages can only be reached by boat, as is the case with most of the other fjords.

 

The seemingly impenetrable wall of the cliff faces east of Khasab suddenly open up to admit entrance through a narrow opening to Khawr Shamm. With its 16 kilometers the Khawr Shamm is the longest fjord in Musandam. Its imposing – up to 1000 meter high – cliff walls, the small islands and peninsulas, coral reefs and villages can only be reached by boat - as is the case with most of the other fjords.

The few human settlements seem helpless in the face of the intimidating nature, clinging on as they do in tiny bays, shut in between deep sea and steep cliffs. In the past the inhabitants collected rainwater in cisterns but with the modernization of the infrastructure the inhabitans do not lack for creature comforts. Today spring water is delivered from Khasab weekly by a blue tanker and stored in aluminum or steel tanks. Bottled gas is used for cooking instead of wood which protects the sparse vegetation.

In the middle of Khawr Shamm a small, flat island rises out of the water on which you can see the remains of walls, all that’s left of the British telegraph station, meant to protect the telegraph cable between India and England. Only five years after going into service in 1864 it was abandoned. The main reason was the dreadful living conditions. In summer, in the time before air conditioning, the hellish heat and the high humidity were unbearable for Europeans. On top of that the local population was hostile both to the British and to the new technology.