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Oman

Telegraph Island – Jazirat al Maqlab

This remote British Imperial telegraph relay outpost drove men insane. 

The expression “going around the bend” is not just an idle phrase. For a handful of British soldiers in the mid-1800s, being stationed “around the bend” was the worst place you could possibly be, a lonely island outpost where soldiers slowly lost their minds in the desert heat.

From 1864 to 1869, Jazirat al Maqlab, or “Telegraph Island,” was an active telegraph outpost crucial to communication between India and Britain. For five years after the telegraphy was decommissioned, British soldiers continued to man the isolated outpost. Reportedly, every single man stationed at the outpost “around the bend” of the Musandam peninsula completely lost his mind from the monotony and heat. Stuck for months on the football-field sized island, cut off from the outside world, and subject to intense desert heat, the solders were slowly driven mad.

Today the island is a ghostly remnant of the once-great British Empire. The outpost was abandoned in the mid-1870s, and the buildings have crumbled. The island now serves as a snorkeling and fishing destination rather than a strategic communication hub, but the oppressive heat and the lonely atmosphere that helped drive the soldiers “around the bend” remains.

Know Before You Go

The Bullet Ferry runs from the mainland to the island daily.

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Hire a Dhow (traditional fishing boat) to take you to the island for exploration and snorkeling or fishing.

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