Friday, September 26, 2008

Majlis Al Jinn: The Last Decent


Were you lucky to see this?

Many people have not heard of the 2nd biggest cave chamber in the world which is 3 hours drive from Muscat, Oman. I am referring to people locally, regionally and internationally. I can't blame the though, the road to get there is rough and really steep, and once you get there, you don't get to see anything except 2 holes which are not clear and you cant tell how deep or big the place is.

Why should anyone travel up the rough steep road to see this?

The place was originaly called Muqandely, but in 1984 or so a westerner descent into it for the time and announced to world the size of the chamber. People in Oman made up stories and the myth started rolling and the new name came about ‘Majlis Al Jinn’ which means literally the sprits seating area or the spirits hangout. Creepy, scary for most but when we were told that we can decent into it, I jumped on the wagon. How can I miss such a chance, what a feat! An adventure that I will always remember.

Can you see the climber?

Well it was not that easy descending into 160m chamber, because it also meant coming up and that was equivalent to one and half hour of squads! So it’s not only learning the robs, but also being fit, which I am not. I had my thoughts and wanted to pull out because of my fitness level, but my friends told me that we are the last batch of people allowed to go down, the ministry has banned it due the irresponsible act of very few people who were throwing trash into this sensitive eco system that has not been touched by man for millions of years. Less the 200 have been down this cave only according to our guide. Knowing that made me determined to go down and I pushed myself physically for this adventure and learned the robs.

Going into the the unkown........... the dark world

When we got to Majlis Al Jin early in the day I was asked to go down first, there was a batch that went the day before. It was scary by all means, I can not see where I am going down to, I have to go down a tight hole for 15m to 20m, I do not have a guide with me helping or showing the way going down, there was however a guide waiting all the way at the bottom.

Can you see the six guys in the bottom?

So I start decenting knowing that I have to trust the robs and what I learned in the past couple of weeks, it was scary going down the first 20m but after I passed the tight hole, I saw this massive chamber, I was dazzled, in a state of shock, afraid, my adrenalin shot up even more, all alone in massive chamber which is 4 million cubic meter large, I could not describe the feeling since I have never encountered such a thing. My first instinct was to look for the guide below, but he was no where to be found, I freaked out and started shouting asking him to stop messing around and wait for me, but I could hear or see no one.


Ghost or scarifies ?

All I can see is the biggest ‘room’ I have ever seen in my life and I was all alone, I could not go up, the robs were too tricky to handle and adjust, and I needed to go down, slowly or I might mess up the devices that could overheat if went down too fast and if that happened it would not function and it would give way. I shouted and shouted but could hardly hear or see anything, all I can see is some white tissue at the end of the rob.


We ain't in the Ocean this is the Spirts Hangout

I descended slowly looking for the guide and listing to my echo, the lower I went the more I hear a faint noise, no it never crossed my mind it was the sprits, I knew it was the guide but why was he hiding and messing with me, I kept going down and after 15 minutes I saw the white tissue moving and the voice of the guide getting clearer, holy moly, the tissue was the guide’s helmet and he was so far away that I could not see him. How big is this place? Wow by now I have calmed down a bit, and it was time to take photos and get down less nervous…………


The rockallites from another planet

When I got down, my legs were numb from the straps around my legs and robs, it took me 15 minutes to get my circulation back to normal , I walked around cave amazed, flabbergast, stunned at the size and sight of it. The 2 cave openings that were emitting light as if it was a spaceship, I could see carcasses of animals that were scarified for the spirits, with their legs tied up, I saw a few crystallites or should I say ‘rockallites’ that looked as if I was in another plant, I also saw coral ! am I on still earth.

Can you see the people at the bottom trying to pose by the beam?

What can I say? I made it all the way down, I waited for my friends who come down one by one and we took some photos, now it was time to do the start the squads and go up, the boring part, the difficult part but having gone down the 2nd biggest chamber in the world and knowing that this was the final decent for anyone into the 2nd biggest chamber in the world, gave me a satisfaction like no other.

9 comments:

evenstar said...

WOW!!!!!! That's some serious cavern! And a great story as well. Congratulations on overcoming the fear - it was certainly worth it. Great photos too. Sorry I haven't been around for so long!

BuJassem said...

wow wow wow wow!
this is one of the most fresh blog posts of 2008!!! good work and thanks for pointing it out to us!

so , i guess we cannot go and visit then? it's closed for the public, no?

bas it's great, i hope the local press reads ur blog and publishes this story too!! bravo! good work and wow, the pictures are just amazing.

Can you show me pls where this is on a map of Oman? Is it near al Jabal al Akhdar or more south?

thanks!

ColOman said...

Bu Jassem,

Thanks buddy, not sure what I cant see your site!!!

Even worse, no one can access this site, not even me, I am not sure how you got here! I have to go the Dashboard to access the page, not sure when it will show on my home page.

The place is next to a place called 'Bimah' on the way to Sur, the road is super rough going up the hill.

As I said its not worth going unless you are going down, but now the have rangers and its against the law.

Evenstar,

I have been around as much as I should eigher, you should keep your blog, I love, love the photos

BuJassem said...

hala Coloman, and thanks :)

not sure what you mean,but if you're asking about my poor blog, wallah it's gone. I deleted it. Way too much personal information stored there. Inshalla will take a bit of a break then return with force!

I have your blog stored on my Google Reader list and thus whenever you publish a new post I get a notification. It's useful, I recommend you get it.

I know I cannot go in but I'll have to remember @bimah@ just in case I'm near that place in the future. I wouldn't mind going down there wallah bas we have to bribe/sweettalk the officials there :)

Blewyn said...

I too am one of the 200 - great post dude. FYI it's now the 3rd biggest in the world, they found a new one last year.

Jet Driver said...

Well done to you!

Great post!

JD

Rasheeb Karadan said...

one article appeared on pages 16-23 of the September/October 1990 print edition of Saudi Aramco World.this is more informative .


Here is the article

http://www.lalurasheeb.blogspot.com/

S.Hussain Almosawi said...

Hi,

It's really nice and extraordinary experience.

Is there any tourist agency offering this option to go down in the cave !? or could you help me reaching any people that will help !?

I'm visiting Oman after tomorrow :) Thank you

S.Hussain Almosawi said...

Hi,

It's really nice and extraordinary experience.

Is there any tourist agency offering this option to go down in the cave !? or could you help me reaching any people that will help !?

I'm visiting Oman after tomorrow :) Thank you