Going Round the Bend at Telegraph Island

Jazira Al Maqlab or Telegraph Island in the Khor Ash Sham Fjord of MusandamTelegraph Island is an eerie reminder of the British Empire. Abandoned in the mid-1870s, the island has remained deserted and only the crumbling ruins of the repeater station and the operators’ quarters can be seen.

Officially known as Jazirat al Maqlab the island is situated in the Elphinstone Inlet, about a mile off the shore of the Musandam Peninsula,

In the 19th century, the outpost was the location of a British repeater station used to boost telegraphic messages along the Persian Gulf submarine cable, which was part of the London to Karachi telegraphic cable.

It was not an easy posting for the operators, with the severe summer heat and hostility of local tribes making life extremely uncomfortable. Because of this, the island is, according to some, where the expression “go round the bend” comes from.

It is said to be a reference to the intense summer heat making British officers desperate to return to back home, which meant a voyage around the bend in the Strait of Hormuz back into the Indian Ocean.

As tourism has grown in the Gulf region, so the island is regularly visited by dhows carrying tourists to view the ruins and to fish and snorkel in the waters around it.