Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some Internal Flooding in Fujairah

Some buildings and centres with open-air courtyards were flooded this morning from the overnight rain.

Volunteers were bailing out water from the Sudanese Social Club in King Fayssal Rd., in Fujairah today and trucks with high-pressure water facilities were employed to remove the mud.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “Volunteers were bailing out water from the Sudanese Social Club, Fujairah.”

Heavy Flooding in Fujairah

There was a lot of rain that fell in the Al Fujairah emirate overnight.

Many of Fujairah roads were flooded today making intersections (like this one pictured) tricky to negotiate.

Few, if any, of the roads in Fujairah have storm water drains so the rain will hang around for days, especially in this cooler weather, until it evaporates.

There has been no rain from mid-morning and it is continuing to be dry with the sun shining early this afternoon.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “Many of Fujairah roads were flooded today making intersections tricky to negotiate.”

Rain, Thunder and Lightning over Fujairah

The National reported early Wednesday 14 January 2009:

“Rain fell in the UAE yesterday, ranging from a light sprinkling in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to thunderstorms in the northern Emirates.”

“In Fujairah, rain in the mountains above Masafi and Dibba caused floods in normally dry wadis and on some farmland. Forecasters predicted more rain.”

The forecasters were right. Heavy rain with thunder and lightning hit Fujairah city at four this morning.

More reports of weather in the northern emirates:

Anna Zacharias, Heavy Rain Hits Northern Emirates, The National, 14 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “In Fujairah, rain in the mountains above Masafi and Dibba caused floods in normally dry wadis and on some farmland.”

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Airplane Ban Will Have Detrimental Effect on Fujairah Airport

Here is an excerpt from Hugh Naylor’s report (13 January 2009) in The National:

“Air cargo companies have joined forces to appeal against a decision by the General Civil Aviation Authority banning a Soviet-era aeroplane in UAE airspace.”

“The authority last week ordered all Antonov An-12 aeroplanes out of the country by today, citing safety concerns after a recent string of accidents involving the four-engine turboprop plane.”

“Fifteen air-cargo operators here use An-12s to transport goods to Africa, the Middle East and South Asia frequently, from airports in Sharjah, Ras al Khaimah, Dubai and Fujairah.

“The number of people who are going to be affected will be more than 1,500 people, 15 airlines, more than 50 aircraft. We’re talking about a decision here that will harm about 90 per cent of the air cargo market of the UAE. Airports in Ras al Khaimah and Fujairah will suffer because of this.”

Full Report:
Hugh Naylor, Cargo Firms Unite Against Ban on An-12 Aeroplanes, The National, 13 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: An-12 Aeroplane.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New City Centre Mall and Retail Park for Fujairah

Trade Arabia reported (12 January 2009):

“The Government of Fujairah and the Majid Al Futtaim Group have announced the signing of a joint venture to build a City Centre mall and Retail Park in Fujairah.”

The only detail to be announced was that the complex was due to open in 2011.

The extensive report said nothing about the location, the cost, the number of shops, the type of businesses and the sustainability of shopping complexes in the midst of the financial downturn.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Dignitaries gathered at the announcement (photo courtesy of Trade Arabia at above link).

Oil and Algae Plaguing Fujairah Coastline

Emmanuelle Landais, in a Gulf News article today (11 January 2009) surveys the oil spills [accidental] and illegal dumping [intentional] that have been afflicting the Fujairah coastline.

A picture appears with the story showing a Qidfa fisherman walking along the two kilometer stretch of beach pondering the oil slick. The story is unclear as to whether there has been a fresh oil spillage this year but I have asked for clarification.

The red tide algae continues to have a devastating effect on the fishing industry and it appears to be more pronounced the further north (towards Dibba) you go.

On the Khor Kalba beaches recently the redness and the smell have not been so apparent but a tourist visiting Khor Fakkan recently wrote me a letter asking about the color of the water and wondering whether it was safe to swim. It would be good to hear an answer on this from microbiologists and health specialists. I have been swimming off the east coast recently but I didn’t put my head under.

Another continuing issue with red tide algae is the extent to which it is affecting the fish and how safe it is to buy the fish at the local fish markets. Some vendors were earlier fined for selling fish that had washed up on the beach, obviously victims of the oxygen deficit caused by the algae.

As with oil, the extent of the algae problem depends on which beach you are looking at and on what day you look.

Algae Persists
Read this most recent report by a blogger who sailed around the Fujairah and Omani coasts and posted this report on 11 January 2009:

“It was good to see some of our surroundings - Dibba is only a few hours away so definitely could be a weekend get-away. What was sobering was seeing the red tide - or algae bloom. Apparently it happens every year for only two weeks or so. But the red tide arrived in September this year and is still there. The algae blocks the oxygen for up to five metres from the surface so fish are dying. It also blocks the sunlight so the coral reefs are dying - a diver from Emirates Diving said 98 percent (!) of the reefs around Dibba are dead. From what I can gather the algae bloom occurs naturally from nutrients welling up from the cold sea currents but can also be caused by man made factors such as fertilizers or other contaminates. What is truly amazing is we had no idea that this was happening. We heard earlier in the year that thousands of fish had died in Fujairah but everyone we talked to said they heard the red tide was gone. I can tell you driving along both coasts we could see the purplish tinge of the water. The fishing villages in Oman haven't sent boats out in months. We saw only a few spots where the water was clear. We snorkeled through bands of reddish purple water where you could not see a thing as it washed over the reef. Very, very scary. Apparently the right condition of waves and wind will make the red tide disappear so let's hope it goes away soon.”

Swimmers, divers, fishermen and hotel are all being affected by the oil and algae on the UAE’s east coast.

Got a report to share on the oil and algae you have spotted recently on the UAE’s east coast?

Dr Geoff Pound

Contact or connect with me on Facebook at this link.

Image: The water around the Fujairah Marina last week looked ominously red and brown. Is this the result of oil from the motors of boats, the presence of red tide algae or an inexplicable cocktail?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dive Down to Fujairah

Fuad Mohammed Ali, from Gulf News, offers some basic tips for people resolving in this New Year to have a crack at diving off the UAE’s east coast.

The article briefly covers the pleasures of diving, the regulations, the gear, the necessary training, and then provides some contact numbers for readers wishing to go deeper.

Link: Tips on Safe Scuba Diving, Gulf News, 9 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Diver surfacing in the Indian Ocean out from Fujairah.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fujairah Oil Refinery Likely to be Delayed while Oil Pipeline On Track

Abu Dhabi government-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) has delayed plans to set up a refinery in Pakistan and is reviewing its Fujairah refinery project, its CEO said on Saturday (10 January 2009).

Fujairah Refinery Delayed
A planned $6-7 billion refinery with capacity of 500,000 bpd in Fujairah in the UAE is also likely to be delayed, he said. "We are reviewing options. We are changing the configuration and making it smaller due to the demand-supply situation." he said.

Pipeline Still to Flow
But a 370 km (229.9 mile) crude oil pipeline from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah is on track for completion by early 2010, he said. It will carry 1.5 million bpd of crude for export from Fujairah.

The storage terminal at Fujairah will have capacity of up to 12 million barrels. "We will lease the storage facilities to Abu Dhabi National Oil Company or operate ourselves and charge ADNOC a tariff," he said.

To read the entire statement:
Stanley Carvalho, Abu Dhabi’s IPIC Delays Pakistan Refinery Plans, Reuters, 10 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “The crude oil pipeline from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah is on track…”

Fujairah Hosts Financiers Strategy Meeting to Fight Downturn

AMEInfo reports:

“Over 50 of the leading Middle East finance institutions have just announced a key meeting on how the industry can unite and tackle the current climate.”

“The FST [Financial Services Technology] Summit will be held early this year at the Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah - United Arab Emirates, and will include the heads of technology and business development alongside their respected CEO community.”

Source and More Details:
Finance Heads Pull Together to Reverse Economic Downturn, AMEInfo, 10 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “The FST Summit will be held at the Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah, UAE.”

Friday, January 9, 2009

Shop at the Hilton Hotel Bazaar in Fujairah

Shopping at Fujairah’s Hilton Bazaar
A good place to purchase a wide range of Emirati and Middle Eastern items in Fujairah is the Hilton Hotel at the Coffee Pot Roundabout (see photo above) in Faseel, at the northern end of the corniche.

Even if you are not staying at the Hilton for the weekend you’d be welcome to pop in for a look at the bazaar. Go inside the main revolving door and proceed through the next set of doors and the souk is on the left just before you get to the pool, the hotel beach, the fitness centre and the restaurant.

There is a majlis (Emirati tent) in which to sit down for members of the family who hate shopping or when you need a break.

Usually there are Emirati and Bengali men in attendance who can speak to you in English, Arabic, Bengali and a few other languages.

Opening Hours
While the hotel is open 24 hours a day, the bazaar is available for shopping every day from 9.00am to 10.00pm.

Shopping Tip
Here is a handy tip for dealing with shopkeepers at the Hilton souk and throughout the Emirates: Get to the shop when it opens so you are the first customer. Shopkeepers always want to make a sale with the first customer of the day because for them it is a sign of good luck that signals that they will have a good day.

Because a picture is worth a thousand words I have posted a photographic gallery to illustrate the range of items available.

Photo Gallery Link:

Shopping for Middle Eastern Gifts in Fujairah, Facebook Photo Album.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The Souk (market) inside the Hilton Hotel, Fujairah, UAE.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fujairah Plays Key Role in Abu Dhabi’s Oil Expansion

Oil Expansion
Bahrain’s Daily News (8 January 2008) cites a significant role for Fujairah in aid of Abu Dhabi’s booming oil business.

Abu Dhabi’s oil capacity stands at around 2.8m barrels per day, and according to an OPEC survey the UAE pumped around 2.3m bpd last month (AD holds more than 90 per cent of the country’s oil reserves).

Refinery Capacity Needs
Abu Dhabi plans to almost triple its refinery capacity from 485,000 bpd and the Abu-Dhabi government-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) plans another refinery in Fujairah, on the UAE's east coast.

The Fujairah plant will have a capacity of under 200,000 barrels per day.

Fujairah’s Strategic Location
In addition to Fujairah being able to increase Abu Dhabi’s refinery and bunkering needs, other recent reports have highlighted the eastern emirate’s strategic role not just because it is a burgeoning port but because it faces toward the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean.

Every time security is threatened in the Arabian/Persian Gulf, especially with the UAE and Iran having relationship problems, the flow of oil through the narrow Strait of Hormuz is impeded and the oil price rises as fast as the blood pressure of the key players.

To overcome this constricted ‘throat’ to the Gulf, the UAE is building both an oil line and a gas line from Abu Dhabi (and Qatar).

Discussion has also taken place on the viability of establishing a canal that will connect Dubai and Fujairah and facilitate the flow of ships (check this link and this link for further information on this proposal).

While back in 2007 there were predictions of an oil business boom for Fujairah, the Daily News did not indicate how much the current financial downturn will curb Fujairah’s role.

A recent article in The National (28 November 2008) made a gloomy prediction.

See the gloomy announcement in this update (10 January 2009).

Dr Geoff Pound

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Fujairah Goat Keeper

Fifty eight-year-old Umm Mohammed has been a goat keeper for most of her life.

Talking to Khaleej Times reporter, Salah Al Deberky, about her routine, she pointed out, ‘’I usually start my day at dawn and come back home at sunset. I can’t spend the whole day sitting under a concrete roof. Staying under the shadow of trees and moving along the dusty roads and desert are better than the artificial air conditioners.”

To read the entire article, Salah Al Deb, ‘Depending on the Past to Keep Pace with the Present, Khaleej Times, 2 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Goat posing for a photo on a road in the Sharjah Emirate.

Wake Up Fujairah!

Here is the sun rising over Fujairah’s main street this morning.

Note how the sun is being winched up on its climb by a crane working on one of the city’s new skyscrapers.

Dr Geoff Pound

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

This Guy Has the Most Complicated Job in Fujairah

Welcome Joepersie Camo Barsana, as he has recently arrived in Fujairah from the Philippines via five years working in Saudi Arabia.

His name is quite a mouthful but he explains that his first name is a combination of his father’s name ‘George’ and his mother’s name ‘Persie’.

Joe works in Cable Maintenance with Etisalat and he is currently engaged in changing Fujairah telephone lines from an old ‘crowded’ system into a simple and clearer system.

He is spending one month under a sun umbrella changing the wires in this ‘Cross Connection Cabinet’ on Faseel’s King Fayssal Rd, diagonally opposite the Faseel Post Office.

There are 400 lines in this box which connect Etisalat and 400 subscribers. It looks like a bird’s nest and it takes great concentration and patience to achieve successful rewiring.

It seems that Emiratization is not targeting this job for Joe has been told that most people would “get a headache” trying to unravel the wiry mess. With humor Joe said, “This job is not only for expats but for experts.”

Joe needs a sense of humor for he is often interrupted by people who stop their car and moan to him about the problems they are having with their telephone service.

Dr Geoff Pound

Further Change to Travel Instructions from Dubai to Fujairah

This is a further change to the updated travel instructions (18 December 2008) from Dubai to Fujairah.

The relevant change is indicated in italics:

There is a significant change in the road system for people travelling from Dubai to Fujairah and it hasn’t been clearly explained by the road signs.

I have made changes to my ‘Directions from Dubai to Fujairah’ posted at this link.

Flick through to the heading 20.00kms (which marks the 20 kms mark from the Dubai International Airport Terminal 1) as this is where the change occurs.

At this roundabout (at the end of Highway D50) where one could go (first right) to Dubai/Abu Dhabi or (next right) to Al Awir or further round (anticlockwise) to the Sharjah-Al Dhaid Rd, I had said coming in at a 6.00pm position you go around and exit at a 9.00am position.

On the D50 highway just before the roundabout there is a sign on a green board that has instructions blotted out. At this roundabout there has been a significant change.

You still come in at a 6.00pm position but you turn right, taking the road to Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi. This takes you in the opposite direction that you ultimately want to be going.

After only 200 metres, taking Exit 63 (Blue sign to Al Awir; Sharjah and Al Dhaid) you turn right like a hairpin bend on a Grand Prix track. This takes you back 150 metres where you turn right and go underneath the road and turn right again.

You drive another 150 metres (towards Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi) and turn right (another hairpin bend) but this has you on the other side of the road and now back on the highway.

You drive another 150-200 metres and finally reach the roundabout [no longer].

The roundabout has been removed and the Al Awir direction is now reached by taking Exit 64 [see blue sign board pictured]. Don’t take this route to go to Fujairah.

Continue straight and you will find you are on the Sharjah-Al Dhaid Road with ugly pylons on the right side of the road. This is where you notice you are in the desert.

If you keep on going too far you will find yourself on the Al Khawaneej Rd heading back towards Dubai and you will have to go to the next roundabout before you can return and Take Two.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “The Al Awir direction is now reached by taking Exit 64 [see blue sign board pictured]. Don’t take this route to go to Fujairah.”

Monday, January 5, 2009

Khor Fakkan Beach Delights

Further to the discussion on the best beach on the UAE east coast, there are further benefits to add regarding the Khor Fakkan beach.

It has superb sand, a large grassy area with play equipment for children, oodles of well-established shady trees, plenty of grills upon which to cook your dinner, horses to hire, Arabic calligraphy in the mountains…

Check out further images of the Khor Fakkan beach at this link:

New Images from Khor Fakkan Beach, UAE, Facebook Photo Album.

Dr Geoff Pound

Send me a message or connect with me on Facebook.

Image: “Horses to hire…” (One of the photos in the album at the above link).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Best Beaches in Fujairah and on East Coast of the UAE

I was chatting with several Emirati students this week and we discussed the question of best beaches on the UAE’s east coast.

The students were evenly divided between Khor Fakkan and Khor Kalba.

The question is like forcing a parent to choose their favorite child but I was keen to see what local people choose when they decide to go to the beach.

Recently I have made a few trips to Khor Kalba beach (south of Fujairah) and this experience is always rejuvenating and enlivening.

Follow the link to see some of the photos I took early yesterday morning from the Khor Kalba beach. You’ll see some of the reasons why I love this beach.

Khor Kalba Beach, Facebook, 2 January 2009.

Got a favorite beach on the UAE east coast?

Dr Geoff Pound

Contact or connect with me on Facebook at this link.

Image: Khor Kalba beach in the early morning.

Fujairah for Break Dancing

Many think of Fujairah as small, dusty and traditional but here is an excerpt from a recent blog posting that shows the eastern emirate is changing:

“It is a typical evening for 16-year-old Khamis al Yamahi as he walks down to the basketball courts in Fujairah City for some break-dancing.”

“Yet his uniform of jeans, T-shirt, baseball cap turned backwards and black Reebok trainers, underlines a deeper message about the radical changes in how a new generation of Emiratis see themselves.”

To continue reading the article, follow this link:

Break Dancing in Fujairah, USA2UAE, 3 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Break-dancing (Photo courtesy of Google Images).

Flags Flying Respectfully at Half Mast over Fujairah

Following the directives of the President of the UAE and the Ruler of Fujairah, flags are flying at half mast in the eastern emirates today and for the rest of the week in respect of the Ruler of Umm Al-Qaiwain, Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al-Mualla, who passed away on Friday morning.

Further details:
Fujairah Ruler Mourns the Death of the Ruler of Umm Al-Qaiwain, FIF, 2 January 2009.
UAE Mourns the Death of the Ruler of Umm Al-Qaiwain, Experiencing the Emirates, 2 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “Flags are flying at half mast in the eastern emirates today.”

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fujairah Ruler Mourns the Death of the Ruler of Umm Al-Qaiwain

Khaleej Times Online has reported (2 January 2009) this statement:

“The Court of His Highness Shaikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, UAE Supreme Council member and Ruler of Fujairah today mourned the death of Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Umm Al-Qaiwain, Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al-Mualla who passed away on Friday morning in London Sheikh Hamad, in a statement, prayed for Allah The Almighty to rest the soul of the deceased in peace and grant him a place in heavens.”

Fujairah Mourns
“A one-week long state of mourning has been declared in the Emirate of Fujairah, during which the flag shall fly at half mast while local government departments and institutions shall remain closed for 3 days, starting from Friday.”

More on the death of Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al-Mualla can be found at this link:

UAE Mourns the Death of the Ruler of Umm Al-Qaiwain, Experiencing the Emirates, 2 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al-Mualla.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Fujairah Corniche is a Great Place for a Jet Ski

Jet Ski off Fujairah Beach
The Kalba Beach was one of the first beaches along the east coast to provide a jet ski service but in recent days the Fujairah beach alongside the Marina has jet skis to hire.

A sign (pictured) to the southern end of the grassy domain indicates the spot where you pay your money and take your boat.

Rates and Conditions
According to the ‘Marina Rates and Facilities 2008’ document (available from the Fujairah International Marine Club), the hire fee for a jet ski is Dh200 per hour (there is also a half-hour option).

The minimum age you need to be to hire a jet ski from the Fujairah Corniche is 18 years.

If you want to make a booking, check up on the current rates or ask any other question give Mr. Obeid a call on +971 50 7899227.

Khor Fakkan
Check out this article for more about jet skis out from the Khor Fakkan beach on the UAE's east coast.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Take a jet ski from the Fujairah Corniche.