Now could be your last chance to catch Oman's pink lakes this year

Oman Sunday 16/September/2018 12:33 PM
By: Times News Service

Muscat: Oman's famous 'pink lakes' could soon dry up or lose their colour according to locals, with 'new' pink lakes forming only after a few months.
Locals say that the existing pink lakes were mixed with sea water as a result of high tides and rough waves during summer months, and only two small lakes remain pink in South Sharqiyah's Al Suwaih beach.
Oman has two sites where pink lakes are formed: one in Al Suwaih beach in South Sharqiyah, and the other in Al Jazir in the Al Wusta Governorate.
According to a study conducted by students of Sultan Qaboos University, the reason for the lake's pink color is due to a type of algae called Dunaliella salina. This type of algae has high concentrations of salt and B Carotene. There are also other types of bacteria in the lakes, such as Bacillus megaterium and Bacillus subtilis.
Nassir Al Ganboosi, a local who hails from Al Suwih said that two small pink lakes still remain in his governorate, with the other either going dry or having sea water mixed with them.
"In September, the lakes separated again from the sea, but we are not sure if they will go back to their pink color in next few months or not. That depends on the type of algae coming in from the sea, and its salinity," Nassir added.
If the lakes are cut off from the sea for a long time, there's a good chance for the lakes to convert to pink.
"As the sea levels decline, the lake’s salinity will increase, and with high temperatures, the lake will regain its pink color in the coming months — provided that these waters are not mixed with the waves [from the sea]," Mahmood Al Ganboosi, another local, confirmed.
However, Al Suwih and Al Jazir still have charming beaches with moderate temperatures, and their lakes have already started welcoming migrant birds such as flamingos. Nassir says: "These lakes are a resting place for many migratory birds such as flamingos, ducks, and others. The lakes provide food and a safe place for such birds."