Sean Chinn concludes his travels in Jordan with an overview of the diving highlights on offer in Aqaba.
Hopefully you have all read my article on diving the new C-130 Hercules dive site in Aqaba. If you haven’t then you can find it here: www.scubaverse.com/making-history-aqaba-scuttling-c-130-hercules/
As well as the Hercules site, Aqaba has a host of underwater delights on offer. In my opinion, Aqaba is a perfect destination for those new to diving who want to enjoy some nice relaxing easy dives to gain experience while being amazed at the colour and thriving fish life the coral reefs have to offer. It is also perfect for clubs from the UK or Europe to organise trips to and potentially use as a base to run courses; making use of the warmer waters and working with the local friendly dive centres for a great professional service.
A Wreck Specialty would be perfect on my personal favourite dive site of the trip, The Cedar Pride. This is a relatively shallow wreck at a max depth of 25m to the sea floor. With clear waters it really is a fun wreck to explore, with 32 years of coral growth creating stunning areas of colour and fish life. Many lionfish can be found hiding within the nooks and crannies. It is also easy to penetrate and find small schools of fish hiding inside using dark areas for protection. I only did the one dive there and was concentrating more on photographing the outside but would love to go back and explore more of the wreck.
Japanese Gardens and The Power Station were also extremely pleasant dive sites full of coral and fish life, providing lots of colour typical of the Red Sea. These are also sites where you were able to explore a little deeper if you wanted to, as they either slope to around 30m in the case of Japanese Gardens, or have a steep wall drop off like The Power Station. However, both also provide nice, easy shallow dives on the coral plateau for those willing to take their time and look for the little creatures that call the reef home. Sometimes taking your time can be the most fun as you’d be surprised at how much you miss whilst working along the reef and neglecting taking a closer look.
One of the major highlights for me was getting under the jetty of Berenice Beach Club. As I stated in my previous article, Sindbad Dive Club have their own jetty meaning all the dive sites are within easy reach of the club. What you should realise though is that you don’t need to get on the boat to have an amazing experience underwater. Grab a tank, or even just your mask, snorkel and fins, and jump in under the jetty and explore the house reef. The life under there is amazing and I decided on one surface interval to have a little snorkel and loved working my way through the piers, following the school of sardines that call the jetty home. Lionfish would creep into view as they came away from the camouflage of the pier and into the blue. I could have stayed there all day but I needed to save my camera battery for the dive on the Hercules in the afternoon.
I also got the chance to do a sunset dive and explore the macro life of the reef under the jetty and beyond. The peppered moray eels are bountiful and are great to watch as they explore the sea grass, keeping an eye out for scorpion fish camouflaged in the reef. Again, this is a place I would love to explore more and see what other critters were hiding from me.
I’m looking forward to the day I get back to Aqaba and explore more of what I missed on this short trip. I would definitely recommend it as a destination for people looking for an enjoyable diving experience that is not too challenging, and where you can also enjoy land based adventures. Be sure to think of Aqaba when booking your next holiday!
Fourth Element X Sea Shepherd
This year on Black Friday, fourth element announced their new partnership with Sea Shepherd, encouraging people to move away from mindless purchasing and to opt-in to supporting something powerful.
For 40 years Sea Shepherd, a leading non-profit organisation, has been patrolling the high seas with the sole mission to protect and conserve the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. They work to defend all marine wildlife, from whales and dolphins, to sharks and rays, to fish and krill, without exception.
Inspired by Sea Shepherd’s mission, fourth element have created a collection of fourth element X Sea Shepherd limited edition products for ocean lovers and protectors, with 15% of every sale going to the Sea Shepherd fund to help continue to drive conservation efforts globally.
“Working with Sea Shepherd gives fourth element the opportunity to join forces with one of the largest active conservation organisations in the world to try to catalyse change in people’s attitudes and behaviour. Fourth Element’s products are designed, developed and packaged with the intention of minimising our impact on the ocean environment, and with this partnership, we will be supporting the work of Sea Shepherd, in particular in their work on dealing with the twin threats of Ghost fishing nets and plastic pollution.”
Jim Standing fourth element co-founder
Read fourth element’s Sea Shepherd Opinion Piece HERE
Dive entrepreneur Clare Dutton voted one to watch!
Director of Duttons Divers, Clare Dutton, has been voted as one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs to watch in the UK, a huge achievement, emphasising her dedication and commitment to the dive industry and growth of the business.
Clare started diving at the age of 18 and, once qualified as an instructor, decided to start her own business. Having no funds to do so, she took out a business loan to purchase three sets of equipment and a trailer to travel the UK and teach. With a garden shed as a storage unit and her bathroom as a drying room, Duttons Divers was born!
Since then, Clare became the youngest PADI Course Director at the time, and has developed the business into a well established and renowned UK dive chain. With two dive centres, Vivian Quarry, Llanberis and Hafan Marina, Pwllheli, and two dive boats, Little Viv and Sea Quest, the business offers high quality equipment and facilities to offer bespoke training and guided dives.
Clare says: “I am extremely honoured to be selected as 1 of 100 female entrepreneurs in the UK. I have devoted a lot of time to develop the business since starting, and have always striven to ensure that it is at the highest level it can be, whether that be acquiring top quality equipment, having our own facilities or to just showcase North Wales and the amazing diving that we have here. It’s great for this to be recognised and fuel the passion to develop this even further.
“Its definitely not been easy, and I am sure it never will be because I will always want it to develop and not just settle. The ridiculously late finishing, finding out who your ‘friends’ are, working out accounts, marketing, and every other element of a business is massively stressful at times… but then stepping back and seeing what it has all achieved makes it worthwhile. I am very excited for the future of the business and where it is headed.”
To read the full article and the 100 entrepreneurs to watch, go to: https://tgr.ph/partofthe100
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