Aqaba diving

Aqaba is a great water diving experience. The Aqaba waters are untouched and its mysteries and beautiful corals and reefs remain to be uncovered and discovered.

Experience the kaleidoscope of the underwater world in the Aqaba Gulf and the Red Sea. The reef, sting, manta, butterfly and the lionfish are experiences likely to stay in the imagination for years to come since the Aqaba corals are fresh and alive with marine activity unlike the corals that exist on the Egyptian side of the Red Sea which have been damaged because of commercialization and the rising number of international tourists.

The Aqaba water experience is rich in sea diversity with its rare marine life form of sea mammals like the eels, turtles and dolphins giving the diver cherished and recurring memories.

The underwater sea world is exotic. There are over 230 species of corals and at least 1000 species of fish and invertebrates, which makes it a heavenly place for divers interested in seeing a unique marine life, says Ahmed Saqfalhait who goes to Aqaba at least twice a year just to dive and live an experience.

Although yet to be largely uncovered by international diving buffs, Aqaba is slowly building itself to be a major diving destination. The Gulf of Aqaba has more than 16 diving sites along its coastal strip that radiates with deep blue, light blue and the occasional off-white water under the sunshine light and underlines the biodiversity that exists under the sea water. But the water contrasts with the over-towering pink corrugated mountains that envelope the whole of Aqaba and its waters.

Today a number of sites have established themselves as major places for divers including the King Abdallah Reef, the Rainbow Reef, the Japanese Garden and the Armored Tank Site, the last being relatively shallow and can be viewed through the glass boats which can be hired by tourists. These are just some of the diving sites that proliferate as divers move to Aqaba's southern coastline, their shallowness and depth means that they can be enjoyed by professionals as well as those who just want to learn.

“I have always been interested in diving,” says Ahmad Saqfalhait who lives in Amman. “I always thought the great diving areas are in places like Sharm Al Sheikh, but one day my older brother said ‘why don’t you go to Aqaba, you can dive there for as long as you like with the guidance of expert instructors.”

That was five years ago, and Ahmed has never looked back since. With his friend Khaloud Al Atoor, they regularly go to the beachfront city to dive and the underwater experience starting in the morning, taking intermittent breaks, and staying till all hours of the day—and night for that matter—devouring the sea.

"It's simply magical what you seen down there, a moment of elation, when you reach 18 feet down and look around you and experience a new form of life based on merging colours of marine activity says Al Atoor."

But to ensure an exiting dive depends on a number of things says Saqfalhait, among which is the time of dive, in the morning, the afternoon or even in the evening during night time.

A morning dive allows you to see certain sea creatures peacefully acquainting the Gulf while other sea mammals only come out in the afternoon for full view. In the evening it becomes better still with more creatures and corals intertwining to give the diver a full radius of activity.

Diving is an easy sport, though it requires professional skill. The Diving Centres in Aqaba ensure that you are instructed and given a basic Open Water Course licence to enable you to bludgeon the underwater world of Aqaba and that takes four to five days of instruction.

But no matter how experienced a diver you become, diving instructors tell you that you should never go underwater alone but always with a colleague and a friend. That's why Saqfalhait and Al Atoor dive together as friends and colleagues. "In this respect diving builds comradeship."

Indeed diving must be made through these centres because they rent you out the professional equipment that you are required to have once you are out there in the dive sites.

The diving sessions are not so long usually taking between 30 and 60 minutes, but this depends on a number of factors associated with the depth of the water because that affects your physical efforts, your breathing and buoyancy which is also dictated by the state of the currents.

Not many go to Aqaba just for the dive. Quite frequently it is mixed with the touristic experiences of the city which resemble seaside resorts anywhere in the world. However, Saqfalhait and Al Atoor come here for the dive, and today represent a current trend among young Jordanians who are likely to flock to this exciting and elite sport.

The underwater world is so delicate and fragile that instructors quite frequently offer specialized courses on the surrounding coral reefs and the marine eco-systems and its importance in the diving experience.

"As diving becomes more popular in Aqaba, we should warn people to be more careful and not to harm the corals and reefs, which I think might be a growing problem in the near future," says Al Atoor who has been coming to the city since his childhood days.

He says from his experience Jordanian divers are much more careful when approaching different corals underwater while this is not the case with foreigners who display a non-chalant attitude towards these fragile systems of nature and simply says many of these people are careless.

While this maybe the price of commercializing tourism and diving, nevertheless Al Atoor says actions can be taken by the authorities in Aqaba to make incoming divers, and especially those that are less professional of taking extra care not to damage the corals.

The problems associated with commercialization are likely to take place in the future, for the time being however, divers need to bask in the serenity of the waters and enjoy the dipping.

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Comments 2 comments

klanguedoc profile image

klanguedoc 5 years ago from Canada

A fascinating article Marwan. It sounds like a great place to explore


marwan asmar profile image

marwan asmar 5 years ago from Amman, Jordan Author

Cheers. Its really interesting, you should come. I've been told the corals are very nice, and alive, unlike those in Sharm Al Sheikh and Eilat. So you might like to come down and see for your self.

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