Fishing in Fujairah, UAE

Choosing a Sportfishing Charter in the UAE

Are you looking for a unique "Dubai" experience to try? Or maybe a special "day-out-with-dad" activity? Why not have a go at deep sea fishing on our beautiful Arabian Sea? On land, the weather is getting hotter by the day but the temperature at sea is still quite bearable. 

I thought this would be a super fun adventure for my husband and three boys but I had no idea how to execute it. With limited knowledge in the sport fishing arena, I went straight to the expert...Google. Not a lot came up on the internet to fill my criteria in Dubai so I broadened my search to a recommendation in Fujairah.  The most recommended company was Soolyman Sportfishing Charters. They offered two charters per day, boats carrying up to eight passengers, and they sold me on their water safety precautions. We would happily recommend this company to others.

The captains for the afternoon

The cost for the charter is by boat, not by person. So regardless if the boat is empty or full, it will be the same flat fee. The boat we used could hold up to eight passengers so my husband and boys joined with another family of four to minimize the cost and add to the fun of spending the afternoon together. This brought the price per person down to 300 AED each. A decent price for 4-5 hours of fishing on the sea.

What can you catch?

When booking the tour, my kids looked on the website to see what kinds of fish could be caught. Glorious photos of colorful fish were displayed, but the boys thought that these were probably  "one in a million catches." Boy were they wrong!  Each of them got a chance to reel in a fighting fish of various sizes. They also quickly learned how tiring it is to get the fish in the boat!

The guides were by the boys side from the moment a fish hit their line. Even, at times, physically holding the boys down so they didn't pop overboard trying to land their catch. They did a great job with the kids and made sure the entire day went smoothly.

All the kids left with a catch ranging from big to small (small only in size, not in fight.) The large fish were a little freaky to look at -  the kids thought they looked like prehistoric fish.

One strange looking fish

One strange looking fish

To some degree, the kids had a few mixed feelings about catching and keeping the fish. They kept going to the cooler at the back of the boat to look at what they were bringing home. On one hand, it was super fun to try and reel in these huge fish but on the other it made them think about a creature dying. It was a good life lesson to learn about appreciating and understanding where your food comes from and the importance of not wasting it. Note: We ate all the fish that was caught (even though, near the end, none of us wanted anymore fish tacos.)

Thinking about the fish they caught

Thinking about the fish they caught

What About Sea Sickness?

Was there a problem with sea sickness? Nope, not at all. The water was very calm and everyone seemed to have their sea legs with them. A good tip to help with queasiness and possible boredom is to bring a cooler of snacks with you. When there wasn't much action with the fish, the kids were looking for food and loving the soft drinks that were provided by Soolyman. And don't worry, the boat is equipped with bathroom facilities, which seemed to fascinate my youngest.

Look! This boat has a bathroom!

Look! This boat has a bathroom!

More Than Fishing

Although the fishing was the obvious attraction, seeing the huge freight boats close up was something they didn't expect. Identifying where each ship was from, hearing how long it has been stationed near Fujairah, and waving at the crewmen way up on deck all sparked a lot of conversation.

Perhaps the true highlight from the sea was spotting a massive sea turtle swim by. Everyone was so lucky to see this rare sight and were so caught up in the moment they forgot to take a photo until it was almost too late. Spotting this turtle would have been worth the trip alone! (sorry for the horrible photo-use your imagination to picture the impressiveness of this creature.)

Massive sea turtle

Massive sea turtle

Beautiful Sunsets at Sea

One of the many perks of living in the UAE is witnessing spectacular sunsets. Watching the sky turn a fiery orange and then transforming into night while being reflected on the glassy water, is a breathtaking image. When its time to leave Dubai, we will be thankful we took time for all these moments.

Breathtaking Arabian sunsets

Note:

  1. The drive from Dubai to Fujairah took about one and a half hours.
  2. All the fish caught were eaten. Nothing was wasted.
  3. Life vests were our own although the boat had their own on board.
  4. We brought our own food but drinks were provided.
  5. The fish were cleaned and filleted for us by the Soolyman guides

 

 

 

A Dubai Cooking Class Experience for the Whole Family

Experience Gifts instead of Material Gifts

Are you looking for that certain special gift for your loved one's next birthday, anniversary, special occasion? Why not steer away from material gifts and opt for an experience instead? Whether it's an experience that the whole family can participate in or one that is designed just for the recipient to enjoy, an experiential gift will be a sure hit with lasting memories.

Keeping with my husband and my tradition of giving experiences instead of material gifts, this year for my birthday the men in my life selected a family adventure in cooking at Dubai's Top Chef. We have been to many cooking classes as a family over the years and they have all been a hit. Top Chef was no exception.

As always, the planning was all classified as "Top Secret." It is carefully thought out via a Whats App group consisting of Rob and the boys, titled "Mom's big 44 bday" (or whatever the occasion may be.) So as we got in the car to head out, the destination was still a mystery to me. The boys were super excited.   As we turned onto Jumeirah Rd, I saw the Top Chef sign and the pieces quickly came together.

Dubai cooking class experience at Top Chef

The Main Course

 Our Top Chef, Anthony, was waiting for us at the entrance and quickly led us to the kitchen so we could jump right in. After a quick wash of our hands, we were ready for the cooking to begin. Our first course was a barley risotto with seared salmon and parmesan foam.

The kids were totally keen to take charge of everything they were preparing. There was nothing off limits and they were instructed about food and health safety along the way. Chef Anthony was super patient with all of us and didn't dumb anything down to make it easier for the kids. We (me) had lots of questions for him about food sourcing in Dubai.  These included where to source the best ingredients in Dubai, his  favourite restaurants, and best chef schools. He also told us about famous chefs that come to Dubai to give courses, who has the most Michelin stars, how Michelin stars are awarded, and why French food tastes so good. As typical as in any kitchen, we did a lot of chatting while we cooked. It all added up to an engaging experience of tastes, smells, education, and conversation.

Dessert

Our dessert was a fabulous recipe -  chocolate tart with raspberry coulis . Yum! My little guy happily did most of the preparing of this part of the meal.

The Mocktail

The final component of the meal was our beverage. As our middle son is a lover of all the fabulous Dubai mocktails and smoothies out there, we let him finish things off with a watermelon, raspberry and mint smoothie. I didn't actually get to taste this as the boys begged me for my portion but I can only assume it was delicious.

After all the preparation was complete, we plated our food and sat down to a lovely meal together. It was delicious right down to the last morsel. We all thought it was one of the best meals we had had in Dubai.  To top it off we had a fun night going through all the highlights of the year that had just passed by. It was a perfect evening that I know set the tone for my 44th year ahead. I hope there are many more cooking experiences in the years to come! 

Enjoying our Results!

If you are interested in trying any of the above recipes we made at Top Chef, they are listed below. All recipes listed in this post belong to Top Chef.

Risotto, Chocolate Tart and Smoothie Recipes

WATERMELON, RASPBERRY AND MINT SMOOTHIE For 5 persons

 Ingredients:

250 gr watermelon

100 gr raspberries

20 gr mint

60 gr sugar

220 gr water

100 gr ice cubes

Preparation: 1. Cut the watermelon. 2. Blend the watermelon with the raspberry, mint leaf the ice, water, and sugar. 3. Blend until getting a smooth texture. Serve cold.

BARLEY RISOTTO WITH SEARED SALMON & PARMESAN FOAM 5 pax

Ingredients:

5 pcs salmon (140gr each)

300 gr barley

800 gr Chicken stock

2 pcs shallots, sliced

60 gr butter

150 gr Parmesan, grated

550 gr milk

40 gr butter

Preparation: 1. In a pan, warm the milk and add 100gr of grated Parmesan. 2. Blend and rectify the seasoning, transfer to a high container, and check the emulsion. 3. In a pan, sauté the sliced shallots, add 30 g butter and the barley. 4. Mix for a few seconds and add the strained chicken stock. 5. Boil until the barley absorbs all the stock, check if it’s cooked. If not add some extra stock. 6. Add the butter to the barley risotto and mix well then add the Parmesan cheese. Check the seasoning. Keep warm. 7. On a grill, sear the salmon to get the grill mark. Season and place the salmon in the oven at 50 C for 15 minutes.

Plating: 1. In a soup plate, place the barley risotto in centre. 2. Add on top the salmon. 3. Finish with the emulsion around and some edible flower or cress.

CHOCOLATE TART 5 pax

Ingredients:

Pate Sablee 

125 gr butter

50 gr sugar

55 gr almond powder

1 pc egg

180 gr flour

Chocolate mixture

50 gr milk

150 gr cream

2 pcs egg yolks

35 gr sugar

110 gr milk chocolate

Preparation: Dough: 1. In a mixing bowl, put the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. 2. Add the flour, almond powder, and cocoa powder. 3. Mix until smooth. Keep in the chiller for 30 minutes. 4. Spread the chocolate dough and fold the tart ring. Stick the tart shell with cupcake paper. 5. Cover the base of the tart with rice and bake in the oven at 160 degrees C for 15-20 minutes. Remove the rice. 6. Cool down and reserve.

Chocolate cremeux 1. In a pan, boil the milk and cream. Pour over the chocolate and mix well. 2. Mix the yolk with sugar. Add the chocolate mixture and mix well. 3. Pour the mixture in each tart and bake again at 140C for 6-8 minutes. Cool down.


Something to do on a Hot Summer Dubai Day. Etihad Museum is Worth a Visit

Are you looking for something to do to during these scorching summer Dubai days? Instead of wilting in the heat or being lazy at home, we decided to give Etihad Museum a visit. When I say "we," I really mean "me." My children would have been happy staying perched on the couch texting and watching YouTube clips but a parent can only stand to watch that happening for so long. So after a few eye rolls, we were in the car and headed to Jumeirah for some cultural enrichment.

The museum is set up to give the public a better understanding of the history of the formation of the UAE, particularly between the years of 1968 and 1974. Its location in Jumeirah is noteworthy as it is the same site as the original Union House, the place where the first constitution was signed in 1971, establishing the UAE's independence. At that moment, the UAE became the first federation of the Arab world.

The sleek modern design of the building, with its symbolic curved white roof, was intended to represent the folded constitution. It is held up by seven columns which represent the seven pens used by the founding rulers to sign the original agreement. I have only seen the exterior by day, which was very pretty, but, like most buildings in Dubai, it comes to life at night. (Another mission during these hot summer days is to go back at night and take a sparkly photo.)

For me, the interior of the museum was more impressive than the exterior. Big open spaces, sweeping staircases, soft lines, and beautiful lighting make the museum stand up to the standard we have come to expect with most buildings in the city. It really was impressive walking in, and we hadn't even gotten to a single exhibit yet.

The museum's main focus is honouring the country's founding rulers and the formation of the UAE as we know it today. There are also exhibits explaining the beginning of the postal service in the UAE, a photography exhibit, a passport exhibit, etc.... What really interested my kids was the short movie on the founding rulers (shown in a beautiful small theatre) and the modern interactive displays. If there is a screen, swiping, dragging, or pointing involved, then you will have their attention. Etihad museum checked those boxes for them.

Don't expect this to be a full day outing. You can easily get through it in less than two hours (which was perfect for us.) The price is quite low at 25AED per adult and 10AED for each child (tip- you need to pay in cash.) If you happen to get hungry, there is a very nice restaurant on the top floor surrounded by natural light. Of course, underground parking is free and plentiful from what I saw. The surrounding grounds seem like they will be a place to relax in the cooler months but with the current weather situation, enjoying the outside is not what we were interested in. All in all, Etihad museum is worth a visit, especially on a hot summer Dubai day!


Bon Voyage Baby Turtles

When I look back at the absolute best days of my life, they were all spent outdoors, in nature - one of these must have been last week, when Katie, her boys and mine were invited to EMEG. Have you ever been to the Emirates Marine Environmental Group?  It oversees an enclosed 25 square-kilometer beachfront Jebel Ali Sanctuary adjacent to the Palm, Jebel Ali. On that very same beach 60 baby turtles had broken free from their shells in the early morning hours. I don’t know how we were so lucky to be the ones to release them, to introduce them to their new home: the Gulf.

Before setting the newborn turtles free, Major Ali Saqr Sultan Al Suwaidi, President of EMEG, spoke to us about the importance of preserving marine ecosystems, particularly endangered species such as the sea turtle. He explained why it’s important to set the turtles loose several meters back from the water as opposed to directly into the water. Remarkably, these tiny creatures make a mental map of the beach as they scurry towards the ocean, breathing in the air and smelling the sand. This allows the females to return many years later, in the Hawksbill turtles’ case 30 years later to the very same beach where they hatched! Nature can be mind blowing sometimes!

EMEG staff patrol the beaches and look out for females nesting, stepping slowly and precisely among the mounds of eggs methodically buried. Females lay around 100 eggs every 2-3 years in a pyramid shape, alternating layers of eggs with a layer of sand. 80% survive to the hatchling stage, but only 10% are estimated to make it to adulthood.  The eggs are then placed carefully in deep holes, protected by plastic enclosures and again by a large fenced area. These precious eggs have numerous predators: foxes, birds and dogs. The struggles they will face are tremendous. Did you know that the temperature of the sand in which the eggs are laid, determines the sex of the turtle? Below 30C is predominately male; above 30C is predominantly female.

 

The incubation period lasts 60 days. Once hatched, they make their way up to the surface, where the EMEG volunteers gather them and place them in a large plastic container. They stretch their legs, clamber over one another and await their colossal journey. 

Firstly, each and every turtle has to be weighed and measured.

Precisely, when the sun is setting on the horizon, they will make their run!

One of the turtles started moving in the opposite direction, heading straight up towards the beach and centre. With a little, gentle encouragement, even he found the waterline eventually. Another seemed to exhausted to move, and what seemed ages to my youngest child, took his time to crawl towards the rough sea. I don’t think I have ever seen something so young. Have you?

To witness their miraculous track into the crashing waves, I couldn’t help but feel afraid and anxious for these tiny creatures. The instinct to rush, to fight their way down the beach and be covered by the giant ocean which offers dismal odds of survival is nothing short of remarkable. 

And then they were gone.... Bon voyage little ones!

 

This experience was of the unforgettable kind, not only for our children, but for us adults as well. We were able to witness one of nature’s miracles!


Step Out of Your Routine

Blue Souk, Sharjah

Blue Souk, Sharjah

Do you get stuck in the loop of routine? Work/school run, supermarket, kids activities, maybe a fitness class, and home. Wake up the next day and repeat. This is a common pattern that I think most of us fall into. It can be so draining without realizing it. And then the moment you break routine and make a change of pace, you feel completely rejuvenated. This is usually followed by the comment "Why don't we do things like this more often?" These activities are not usually grand in scale.  More often, they are small breaks from our typical routine that deliver a big impact in terms of excitement and novelty. 

Tribe Vibe has decided to break our daily routine at least once a month. We are going to spice things up by uncovering something interesting we have been meaning to check out but had previously not made the time to do. This month it was my turn to pick and I chose to visit the Central or Blue Souk in Sharjah (I had never been and Nicole and Carmen had not been in over a decade). The Blue Souk has been on my list as a place to see for four years now but I guess I have just been too busy. For four straight years. (I hope you detect the sarcasm.)  My main excuse can be expressed in two simple words - SHARJAH TRAFFIC. That is enough to scare the bravest away. But rest assured, after visiting myself, I can almost guarantee, the traffic is not that bad (at least at 8am.)

I'm just kidding, the traffic was nowhere near this bad :-)

I'm just kidding, the traffic was nowhere near this bad :-)

Carmen, Nicole , and I headed out after dropping the kids off at school. With all the organizing and arranging of schedules, the thing we forgot to do was check the time it opened. We left Mirdif area at 8am and the Souk didn't open until 9:30am. We were not sure if we would be able to fill our time there waiting for it to open. As it turned out, our excess of time turned out to be such a blessing. It was a beautiful sunny day and because of the early hour, the building was deserted. This gave us the freedom to casually roam in and out of the building, look in all the shop windows, and take photos on a whim without having to dodge any shoppers. When does this ever happen? It turned out to be the perfect time to go.

The souk consists of two large buildings connected by bridge walkways. There is a very obvious reason why it is known as the Blue Souk. Can you put your finger on it? You guessed it-all the extensive blue tile work on the exterior of the building.  There is also a beautiful fountain on display at the entrance.

Islamic geometric design is something that I have fallen in love with since moving to the Middle East. I could spend hours looking at it. The Blue Souk has so many examples of repetitive pattern work. I was in my happy place.

I will admit, I did no research before going and therefore the Souk was not what I was expecting at all. I was picturing it to be more like the Old Souk in Dubai - outdoor based. The Blue Souk is nothing like that. It is more like a shopping centre. This left me feeling a bit disappointed but on the upside there was A/C which makes everything a little more tolerable in the summer months in the UAE.  The entrance was impressive with the pièce de résistance being a spectacular geometric cut-out design filtering light into beautiful patterns everywhere. Fabulous!

As for the shopping, well, it was typical of a souk. Lots of gold, abaya and kandora shops, rugs, scarves, sports shops, toy shops, souvenir shops...you name it. Always an adventure looking for tressures.

But the most fun we had was picking out watches for each other at a very exclusive shop. Switzerland,  you better step up your game because there is a new watch maker in town ;-) 

If you get a little hungry there is a small selection of snacks you can pick from but keep your expectations in check. If you are seeking cotton candy, a slushie, and a gumball to satisfy your hunger, then you are on track.

All in all, we spent about three hours at the souk and left feeling like we had been on a mini vacation. It is so good to force yourself out of the routine and take the opportunity to see things in your city that you keeping putting off. How many times have we left a place saying "I wish I had done that." Take the opportunity now while you can!


Get Your Art On

alserkal avenue

Have you been to Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz, Dubai? Al Quoz is known as a very industrial area of the city but it is also home to a very hip and vibrant art scene. Tucked inside the industrial zone is the gem Alserkal. Here you will find art galleries, local theatre, architecture and design shops, trendy ventures, gourmet chocolate makers, and few places to eat. In order to boost a sense of community, Alserkal is giving night tours of their galleries every Wednesday evening during the Holy month of Ramadan. The tours, known as Alserkal Lates, are given at 8:30pm and 9:30pm and last about one hour. My family and I went not knowing what to expect and ended up having a great evening.

Nadi al Quoz was  serving a casual Iftar which, with three hungry boys, was exactly what we were looking for. Lucky for us we arrived 1/2 an hour early to enjoy. The food was great. 

Alserkal Ramadan Nights

The tour started right outside Nadi al Quoz under the sign Nadi Nights. Our guide was ready and waiting so at 8:30pm,  Alserkal Lates of the galleries began.

Our guide led us through four galleries throughout the evening. She gave brief but thorough explanations of each exhibit. The artwork and buildings veried with each stop. It was such a cool experience to have access to very industrial buildings and unique pieces of art. Perfect for a casual night out.

The kids really enjoyed it as well. The hour time frame was the perfect length for them. At times they were very interested in the discussion and at other times not so much. But with the casualness of the evening there was no stress that they were not entirely focused 100% of the time. Often, all the adults would be gathered around our guide discussing one piece of art and I would see the boys sitting a few metres away, not listening, but completely engrossed on a different piece. Both valid ways of taking in the art. 

The streets of Alserkal are interesting on their own. It's really fun to walk up and down and see the shop signs, street decoration,  and window art. You can't believe you are in Dubai.

As the night was coming to an end I was thinking how perfect it had been. And then... it got better. Our guide thought it would be a good idea, for our final stop, to take a tour of the local chocolate factory. Who could argue with that?!

Alserkal Lates is such a nice way to spend a Wednesday evening during the Holy month of Ramadan. They have put a huge effort into making this area of Dubai feel like it has a sense of community. Oh ya, and did I mention the cost per person? Free! You heard me, free.  I highly recommend making an effort to check out this special place.


Sharing Fridges

In the spirit of sharing and caring for those in need, a brilliant initiative has been set up in Dubai to ensure the city’s laborers have access to food and drink to break their fast this Ramadan. A few years ago, it started out by a lady called Sumayyah Sayed, a young Australian mother of two, who stocked one fridge with water and snacks for Iftar. This grew rapidly to a Facebook group with more than 24,000 members all over the United Arab Emirates, 70 fridges already open and more popping up every day! 

By putting fridges in communities, outside homes in garages, a sense of community is created, some hungry bellies are filled and a few eyes opened. Families have been donating everything from fruit (fresh or dried) to juices, water, laban or biscuits, with fridges often powered by electricity from their own homes. Walking around the neighborhood to get some pictures for this post, I realized how little interaction I have had with the people who keep our community so beautiful. A gesture that seems so small to us can make a huge difference in the life of someone else.

Simple signs in different languages invite gardeners, security staff, construction workers and other hungry men whom work outdoors in temperatures exceeding 40 degrees and are unable to go home for Iftar due to work commitments, to take some food or a drink. 

This year it’s even more structured thanks to bigger organizations such as Emirates Red Crescent and Open Arms UAE getting involved.

Have you heard of this initiative? Would you like to participate? Here is what you can do: 

Donate:     Check out the map for locations of the fridges.

Ramadan Fridges

 

When shopping, add extra drinks, pieces of fruit or packets of arabic bread to your cart. It’s a fantastic way to get the whole family involved. Last year my younger son encouraged us as a family to drive by the fridge in our community numerous times a week to stock it up with fresh fruit and laban. He never forgot, not a single time! The success of the initiative relies so much on individual donations. 

Create:     Start your own Ramadan fridge! Contact the admin on the Facebook page to get your location listed and start stocking up! 

Sponsor:     Do you work for a company that could help out with suitable products? Contact the admin on the Facebook page to get involved.

Beyond feeding people, this initiative hopes to promote a sense of community and bring us all closer together, and that’s really what Ramadan is all about. Giving to others gives us pleasure. It makes us happier people which in turn leads us to give more which makes us even happier and ... well, you get the picture. 

Now, it makes me wonder....why not extend this through the entire year? Would the fridges be full at the beginning and end of each day ? What do you think? 

Ramadan Kareem 🌙

#startwithsomething


Kick off your shoes!

Kick Off Your Shoes

It is easy to feel irritated, stressed and maybe even a little lost in this fast paced modern world. One of the quickest and easiest ways to re-connect and feel grounded again is to find our way back to nature. When people speak about Dubai, one thinks of tall, magnificent skyscrapers, luxury malls and state of the art restaurants, not natural beauty. 

 

Re-connecting with the natural rhythm of the flora and fauna has an instant calming effect.  Have you ever heard of Grounding or Earthing? The theory suggests that our bodies are meant to come into direct contact with the Earth on a regular basis, which is the “grounding” force. Humans, throughout history spent time outdoors, walking, hunting and gardening. Nowadays, we live in houses, wear plastic shoes and are exposed to Wi-Fi / mobile phone waves and Electromagnetic waves. Our bodies build up a high amount of positive electrons which can be balanced out by walking barefoot in direct contact with the ground. 

So kick off your shoes, walk on the sand, in dirt, mud or puddles. Do you remember how it felt the last time you strolled in the park without your shoes? Do you remember feeling happy and at peace? Do you recall sleeping well at night? The Earth naturally maintains a negative electrical potential on its surface and when our bodies have a good supply of electrons, our immune system functions at its best. 

Take some time to seek out the five basic elements which form the foundation of all things: 

Earth is found everywhere, even in Dubai! Walk alongside the beach, in the sand in the desert or on the grass in one of Dubai’s parks.

Volunteer your time at EMEG (Emirates Marine Environmental Group) which focuses on marine and terrestrial environmental issues. Plant and clean mangroves, participate in a beach clean up or watch tiny baby turtles being released into the ocean. 

Fly a kite at Kite beach or dive into the crystal clear water for a swim. 

Kick Off Your Shoes

Walk your dog barefoot around the Al Qudra lakes, home to desert foxes, gazelles, the oryx and over 170 bird species. Some of these native birds are on the endangered or vulnerable list such as the Steppe Eagle and the Asian Houbara.  

Grounding or Earthing is highly beneficial while being completely safe - its literally a walk in the park!