Marhaba goes on an adventurous boat trip!
The thrills of dune bashing, the spectacular views of Saudi Arabia across from the Inland Sea, the charm of Souq Waqif, interspersed with visits to landmarks including The Corniche and Aspire Park. We had done our first time visitors to Qatar proud. Just one half day slot to fill before the airport beckoned. Air and land had been covered, so it was time for sea.
A few last minute phone calls and a boat excursion was booked for the next morning. Up bright and early, we enjoyed the relative peace and quiet of the Friday roads, arriving at 7 am to meet our skipper down at The Sheraton jetty. The skipper was raring to go, so we only needed to don our life-jackets before setting off in our speedboat, comfortably seating our party of three adults and four children between the ages of 8 and 16. Our group were all swimmers and there were some keen anglers among us (albeit river rather than sea) so a chance to catch some sea fish would be a bonus, but our focus was on enjoying the trip.
We were off. The boat bounced effortlessly over the waves, providing much merriment for the younger ones as the resulting spray kept us more than suitably refreshed. Our destination would be around 30 km offshore, just far enough for us to anchor up to try our luck at fishing. As the West Bay skyline gradually disappeared, the warm October weather was on our side and the sun kept us company for most of our trip. It was quite breezy and at times the choppy waves demanded our sealegs as we moved gingerly around the deck, trying to balance while repeatedly casting out our fishing lines provided by the skipper. No fish to be found, and with a couple of our group feeling decidedly queasy, we unanimously voted to return a little closer to shore.
In what seemed like no time at all, our skipper was checking back in to the coastguards station and the familiar skyline of Qatar was coming back into view. Midway, we anchored up and tried to hook a fish, again without success. Never mind, we had more than enough to distract us. Friendly waves from fellow seafarers – fishermen optimistic of an evening barbecue with their catch, a cargo vessel (the children in awe of its size and slowness), and finally, a luxury yacht complete with its own flotilla of speedboats.
Again we moved on, this time further up the coast towards Safiliyah Island, a pleasant and popular stop for boat-owners and day-trippers. We anchored offshore, and the more adventurous of our group opted for a quick dip in the sea. They returned aboard rejuvenated by their experience and ready for a snack and drink before heading back to the jetty.
Back on dry land, we thanked our skipper profusely as nothing had been too much trouble for him over the last few hours. We received a courtesy call from the organiser to make sure that our trip had lived up to its expectations. Satisfied? Yes, very. Visitors comments? The most memorable part of their trip to Qatar. But no fish? Next time we visit.
Our trip was booked with Bassel, based at The Sheraton Hotel, call 5551 8100. Further information is available in the Leisure Activities section of Discovering Qatar.
For more information about other sightseeing destinations in Qatar, pick up Marhaba issue no 56 Spring/Summer 2013 for only QR20 from any hypermarket or bookstore in Qatar. Marhaba issue 57
comes out August 2013.
Author: Krys Rodgers