Sean Chinn was in Aqaba, Jordan to report exclusively for Scubaverse on yesterday’s historic scuttling of the C-130 Hercules.
The day started nice and early with a 4.30am wake up call for my flight from Amman to Aqaba. Although very tired, I was excited at the prospect of what was in store for the day. A big date in Aqaba’s 2017 calendar – the historic scuttling of a C-130 Hercules to create a new artificial reef for divers in the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea.
I arrived at the hotel in time to check-in, prepare my gear and grab some quick breakfast before I had to depart for the C-130 Hercules scuttling event. Everything was organised and timed perfectly by the Aqaba Tourism Board.
As I arrived at the beach, I realised that I hadn’t anticipated the true scale of the event. The beachfront was packed with people from all corners of the world eager to witness a moment in history. There were also many proud locals looking on at what will hopefully become a major attraction for tourism in the area that brings in new overseas explorers.
The sound of bagpipes and a brass band rang loud and proud as I made my way through the crowd to pick a prime viewing spot. The C-130 Hercules was paraded before the excited crowd on a last trip before its final destination.
I’d heard there was going to be an Air Show but I was in for a pleasant shock as the aeroplanes jetted past with no prior warning. This took everyone by surprise and loud gasps echoed through the crowd as the planes blasted their way overhead. The first opportunity to photograph them passed me by but luckily they continued to make exciting pass after pass, giving me numerous attempts at photographing them.
The scuttling itself started around 12.30pm and in truth didn’t really last that long once the Hercules was hooked up to the crane. The vertical stabiliser stood tall and was the last part to sink beneath the waves. It reminded me of a long, distinctive dorsal fin breaking the surface and sticking proud out of the water. In my eyes, it was almost reminiscent of a Great Hammerhead’s dorsal fin.
After the event, we had a delicious buffet lunch at the Berenice Beach Club before heading back to the hotel to relax. The views over the Red Sea from the restaurant were truly beautiful.
Now I have a couple of days sightseeing planned on land but I’m anxious to get in the water and explore the new, developing dive site of the C-130 Hercules. I’ll let you know how it goes!