After a few days to let it settle after we witnessed the scuttling, it was finally time to see the C-130 Hercules in its new home under the sea.
Our dive centre of choice was Sindbad Dive Club based in the stunning surroundings of Berenice Beach Club. With a guest pool and dive training pool overlooking the beach and Red Sea, it was a great place to start our diving day. Sindbad is the only dive centre in the area to have their own jetty within the marine park. This makes it easy to kit up and climb aboard with all the dive sites within easy reach just minutes from the jetty. In fact, the furthest site is a mere 20 minute boat journey away.
Khaled Kenawy is the managing director of Sindbad and greeted us on our arrival. He made sure every detail was discussed, putting us at ease about the day’s diving. Everything was very professional with any hired kit already prepared for us in labelled crates. The kit was taken to the dive boat for us by the crew and the boat had ample room for divers, kit and crew. Soft drinks and water were provided onboard.
The C-130 is only a 5-10 minute journey from the jetty and was due to be our first dive of the day. However, Khaled used his experience to make a detour when he saw other dive boats at the site and realised it would be a little crowded. We made our first dive at a site called The Japanese Gardens – a nice relaxed dive, alongside colourful reef life, which prepared us for our afternoon on the Hercules.
After a coffee and tea break back at the Berenice Beach Club, it was time to set out for a hopefully quieter C-130 dive site. We were all excited to experience this new amazing wreck site that will hopefully bring more dive tourism to the area.
Being a shallow dive site of only around 16 metres max, you could see the wreck from the surface as we jumped in. What struck me straight away was the sheer size of the plane. It completely dwarfed the divers that were exploring it and it was a lot bigger than I imagined it would be. The wings disappeared into the distance as you looked out from the cargo hold, while the vertical stabiliser reached up to the surface, towering over me as I swam beneath.
It was easy to penetrate the wreck with numerous wide openings that allowed access to explore inside and check out the cockpit which has a model skeleton at the wheel. I can really see this being an amazing dive site once the sea life and coral start calling it home. The reefs surrounding the plane are stunning and can be explored as part of the dive. The well-known Tank dive site is just a few minutes swim away and perfect for a safety stop, which means you can enjoy it all in one dive. As life starts to form on the wreck, you’ll probably want to spend much longer!
It was a great moment to be able to witness the scuttling of the C-130 Hercules and be one of the first divers worldwide to dive it. What made it extra special was the extremely professional dive centre that hosted us. Check out Sindbad Dive Club at: www.sindbadjo.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your trip!
Check back next week for my blogs on the other diving available in Aqaba and to read about a stunning trip to Petra.