You might be surprised to read a post with “scuba diving” and “Jordan” in the title, but it’s true, Jordan, a country in the Middle East, has excellent and easily accessible scuba diving! Aqaba, Jordan, nestled between Saudi Arabia and Israel sits ideally at the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, has several kilometers of coastline south of Aqaba (Tala Bay), and with calm waters and year-round high temperatures make Jordan an ideal destination for a scuba diving vacation. Dive sites can be accessed via both shore and boat.
We were in need of some scuba diving as it had been a year since our last dive trip (Grand Cayman). So Carrie and I packed our gear and drove 4 hours south from Amman to Aqaba for a weekend scuba diving trip. We were eager to get back underwater, and now that we live only 4 hours from the closest diving site we will certainly not let 12 months go by before our next diving trip.
One thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Aqaba is the large number of dive operators. There are lots of local businesses that run dive trips and naturally, we looked for a PADI certified 5-star operator. For our dive trip, we chose to go with Deep Blue Dive Center in Tala Bay. Deep Blue had been recommended to us by a colleague of Carrie’s.
Deep Blue gave us the option to do two boat dives as part of the day trip with the addition of one shore dive afterward. The boat trip was awesome, mainly because the crew was amazing, as were the two dives sites. While the visibility was terrible (8 meters at best which is pretty bad) and the water cold, we still enjoyed diving. Our first dive was at Cedar Pride Wreck dive site, a former Lebanese freighter that had been sunk years ago due to damage the ship had sustained. The largely intact enormous ship laying on its side on the sea floor made for an impressive dive. We swam around the ship and towards the end of our dive, our guide took us to an air pocket inside the ship, which was really cool to see. Cedar Pride Wreck is a popular dive site in Jordan.
After our first dive back on-board we caught some rays, while Russian youth blasted Russian pop music while we ate lunch. A lot of tourists to Aqaba these days are Russian. Later that afternoon we took our second boat dive, this time at The Tank and Seven Sisters dive site, named after the pinnacles and sunken tank. We started the dive by first swimming to and then inside a sunken C-130. The plane was sunk to create an artificial reef to help the marine life prosper in the area. The most amazing part was that we could swim inside the plane, thanks to our Advanced Certification! After the plane, we swam back through the seven pinnacles to the sunken tank that was right beneath our boat. The tank was also sunk to create another artificial reef. While we couldn’t go inside the tank it was still impressive and was in shallow enough water that free divers and snorkelers could catch a glimpse.
Our final dive of the day was a shore dive back at the dive center to Yellowstone Reef. The water was very cold and the visibility was terrible, but it was still a good chance to work on our buoyancy and breathing.
We only scratched the surface when it comes to diving in Aqaba. With roughly 20 dive sites (30 for tech divers) spread out along the southern coast inside the protected Aqaba Marine Park. If you’re a certified diver or looking to discover scuba diving then it makes sense to turn your trip to Jordan into a dive trip. There’s more to see than Petra and Wadi Rum!
On our next trip, we’re looking to go diving at the Power Station, a wall dive and the most northern dive site, and King Abdullah Reef, known for its rich marine life. We were pleased with dives and the boat trip with Deep Blue Dive Center and will be sure to return.