Description of the Country and the Pearl Fisheries.
The most remarkable physical feature of the country, the one which demands our first attention, is the long mountain chain, extending from end to end, forming the backbone of the land, which presents a strange contrast to the desert behind. The Shemal, though covering a large tract of country, is so hilly and sterile that it is very unproductive, but owing to its advantageous position as regards the pearl banks and sea fisheries has a strong and thriving population. The fisheries rank first and engage the greatest number of men, while at times the villagers join nets and use them in immense lengths, for the sea abounds in fish and the prodigious quantity captured is almost incredible. Other industries are pottery, red cotton cloth called “Khodrung,” for loongies, etc., sail canvas, weaving, indigo dyeing and shipbuilding. The fisheries have thus become one of the most important industries in Oman and affect a large proportion of the population.