Kubbar Island, Kuwait

Photo: Kubbar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Kubbar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
You’ve already managed to sneak away to the souks, the marina, and a few museums during your business trip to Kuwait. The nearby beaches are on your list, too. But the high-rise hotels and the endless construction around them don’t exactly inspire relaxation. It’s time to leave Kuwait City, get out on the water, and find a little island loved by locals.

Kubbar Island lies 30 kilometers off Kuwait’s south coast in the Persian Gulf. The 27-acre island is covered with grainy golden sand, low shrubs, and, right now, budding flowers. A small solar-energy plant is the only building. Six Iraqi soldiers, killed during the Gulf War, were discreetly buried on the island. While hundreds, if not thousands, of terns have arrived for the summer breeding season.

So why take the 40-minute boat ride to Kubbar Island? It’s known for its breezes and cooler temperatures, both welcome reliefs after the heat in the city. It’s a serene getaway, especially before midafternoon, when you might only be surrounded by seagulls and flamingos. Plus some of the area’s best snorkeling and scuba diving is just steps from the shore.

As soon as you wade into the warm water, strap on your mask, and lower your face beneath the surface, you’re able to see both hard and soft coral ahead. A group of long brittle stars, with their whip-like arms, sit on the ocean floor. Eel-like blennies, colorful nudibranchs, and tiny shrimp are hanging out around the coral. Damselfish, lionfish, and needlefish scatter as you approach them. Then a graceful sea turtle looks as though it’s waving as it slowly passes you.

By the time you return to the beach, you’ve almost forgotten the meeting you must attend tomorrow morning. Kubbar Island was a true escape for the day.

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