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Trek or treat

22 Nov 2020 By HUBERT VAZ

Oman’s daredevil adventurer, Anisa al Raissi, who along with her UK companion, Dr Natalie Taylor, set out on November 18 on an ambitious 1,200km trek from Musandam, in the north of Oman, to Mirbat, in the south of Oman, to mark the 50th National Day of Oman, is at it – overcoming adversity – the key goal of the expedition, in all earnestness.

Doing what she loves to do most, Anisa, who works as Business Development Manager for Outward Bound Oman, said this 50-day expedition, termed YallaGo, was intended to challenge their own potential and to encourage people to overcome all adversity in these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the first leg itself, with the arduous task of kayaking on hand, Anisa has been relishing every moment, even though she suffered blisters on her palms, with blistering heat overhead in the Arabian Sea.

The trek serves to commemorate the sultanate’s 50th anniversary of the Renaissance, to pay homage to the Late Sultan, HM Qaboos bin Said al Said and salute His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik al Said. It is also intended to strengthen cultural ties between the UK and Oman. 

Anisa and Natalie began the expedition as per schedule in all earnestness and have undergone great training and preparations to encounter multiple terrain, as they walk, climb and kayak across Oman. The first leg of their expedition involved kayaking from Musandam and they have successfully completed it, after facing some tough challenges, with due support from the accompanying support team.

After initial formalities and felicitations, they started their journey from Quoin Island in the North of Oman, near Musandam, setting the ball rolling for around two months of adventure. The expedition is slated to end in Dhofar region in early January. All through, they will be working against the clock to complete their task on time while adhering to the regulatory safety measures en route. 

The journey’s progress is being updated at, as well as on the YallaGo2020 social media pages to showcase the sultanate’s natural beauty to the world.

Responding to Muscat Daily on the third day of the expedition, Dr Natalie said, “We set out as planned. The weather on day one made the sea kayak harder and on day 2 the sea state and weather meant the Royal Oman Navy advised we did not kayak through the lion’s mouth. The rest was on schedule and we have kayaked over 100km.”

She further disclosed that Anisa suffered blisters on her hands as she has not done much kayaking before. However, they worked together as a team and Natalie towed her kayak to ensure that they covered good distance together.

“We travel to start the hike today (Sunday. We will be hiking from now on. We have been blessed with amazing support from the Navy and our support crew. A special thanks to general Richard Stanford who was key to securing support for this kayak leg and beyond,” Dr Natalie added.

Anisa added, “My prime concern for ‘leg 1’ was nat not being comfortable in the open ocean as there were some moments when it got very wavy. We handled this by staying close and communicating, and with each day, Nat got more confident which resulted in her mood lightening up, as well, and enjoying the beautiful scenery! Concern for myself were my hands as this was my very first real kayak experience. My hands were not conditioned and got blistered from day one. Our support team of the Omani Navy were very helpful in taping me up every night which got me through ‘leg 1’.”

About the coordination between the duo, Anisa said, “Team work is key in accomplishing Herculean tasks such as this expedition. It has been, and still is, a learning curve for both of us, on how best to use each others strengths, but we are getting closer every day.”

Today (November 23), the duo begin the actual trek in a straight line from the northern tip of Oman to the southern tip which tentatively would be reached on January 6, 2021.

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