Attributes of Aqaba as a diving destination
Listed below the main attributes of Aqaba as a diving destination:
- The sea in the Gulf of Aqaba is almost invariably calm with temperatures varying
between 19/20 C in winter months to 26 C in summer. All diving is shore based as
Aqaba offers fringing reef which commences at the shore line. There are no
off-shore reefs to warrant boat diving. The soft and hard coral formations are
spectacular and there are many species unique to this area.
- The Red Sea Marine Peace Park is one of the most amazing Gulf of Aqaba’s
attractions. This place is known to be one of the most beautiful diving areas of
the world due to the amazing combination of sea life, corals, water transparency
and nice weather it offers year around. Whether visitors go in summer or winter,
water temperatures are always nice and transparency allows them to observe its
marine life with the highest clarity.
- You would be able to enjoy diving in the Gulf of Aqaba whether you are an
experienced diver or a beginner since there are dive operators and qualified
instructors available for every level. You would also easily find diving
equipment rentals and everything you might need for diving
- Great for photography and video viz 30-45m year round
- Many dive centers to choose from offering a variety of unique experiences and
options for the diver
- Red Sea diving without crowds.
The Principal Reefs and Dive Sites of Aqaba:
POWER STATION – Located 5 Kms south of Aqaba town. Swim over fringing reef which
drops down to 5m with sand and patch reef, from where reef slopes down to 20m
and drops away to 200m. Swim down over the wall edge to depth of 30m and swim
FIRST BAY - From try dives to technical diving - this site provides for all -
Diving south from the mooring you find a cabbage coral at 18m on the corner of
the reef follow the wall back to the north and follow the contour of the reef.
(For tec divers continue straight out to Death Valley starting at 50m and then
south to Walter's Wall and George's Gulley which drops to 80m plus). The normal
dive continues to the North where you will pass over a wide expanse of coral
with black coral trees and come to a sandy gulley, follow this back up to 12m
and work your way back across the reefs to the mooring.
CAZAR REEF- Next to the Marine Reserve and also the location of Club Murjan, the
Alcazar's beach club. Enter at south side of gully edging down to 18m, lots of
Cornet fish and Fusiliers, a cabbage coral marks the corner of the reef. Swim
northwards over some large black corals to a pinnacle at 17m covered in soft
EEL GARDEN – Site of the famous " pinnacle " - Named after the myriads of garden
eels resident in the sand and grass areas here. One of the largest populations
in the Red Sea! This provides an excellent area for photography. There is a
sandy slope down to 20m (covered in garden eels - you need to stay still for
them to appear) where there is a fantastic display of black corals.
KING ABDULLAH REEF – Approx 5 mins drive from the Club in an area known as the
Tourist Camp. Enter the site through a maze of fringing reef with fantastic
displays of Fire coral. Drop down to 5m and follow slope down to 12m to a large
pinnacle full of a variety of marine life. Head across the sand to a large
circular reef with a Gorgonia Fan coral in centre. Continue down to 24m where
shoaling Pennant Fish have a "permanent" home. Ascend slowly in a circle and
watch territorial displays Parrot Fish till you reach 10m.
BLACK ROCK – The northern side of Wreck Bay, adjacent to the former Tourist
Camp. Entry at a gravel and shingle point, swim out and pick up the reef on the
right and swim down to the planned depth, usually around 25m. Heading north
there are immense coral slopes and valleys with large black coral "bushes". This
is frequented by Hawksbill turtles.
THE WRECK OF THE CEDAR PRIDE - A Lebanese freighter scuttled in 1983 which now
hosts a wide variety of hard and soft corals. She is intact and lies across two
reefs on her port side. Divers can swim under her at 27m. She can take several
dives to fully appreciate and is an excellent night dive. It is also the site
for beautiful sea horses.
JAPANESE GARDENS - Also in Wreck Bay but to the southern end. Entry is through a
narrow gully in the fringing reef and then descend to an eel grass bed, where
you will find Snowflake Morays. The main reef is encountered at 5m then follow
it down through shoals of Orange Basselets and Sergeant Majors.
TAIYONG Wreck - This wreck was discovered by the Dive Aqaba Tec Team in 2004.
She lies on her starboard side in 50 metres of water off the dive site known as
the Japanese Gardens, the maximum depth on the wreck is 57m and the top of the
wreck is 35m. She was bought by the Aqaba port authority in 1974 and was used
for off loading ships coming to Aqaba.
GORGONE ONE – Approx 8 mins drive from the Club. Named after the huge Gorgonia
fan coral at 16m. After a zig zag entrance thru' fringing reef you are
confronted with a huge Cabbage coral, the size of a house, there is also a
GORGONE 2 – Approx 500m south from Gorgone 1. Easy entry onto a shallow grassy
area, swim out a distance of 30m to where the reef starts at 2m - 3m depth,
often Scorpion Fish, Stone Fish and Crocodile Fish are seen at the base of the
7 SISTERS - Here 7 pinnacles of coral vie for your attention over a solid coral
reef. Luckily the depth is only 8-9m so you can enjoy the wonders each has to
offer. Big Eye Emperor and shoals of Fusiliers live around these pinnacles.
7 SISTERS TO TANK - Easy entry over grass to where reef starts at 2-3 m. Lots of
interesting invertebrate life in the shallows... Swim through the pinnacles and
then turn in towards the shore to another set of pinnacles "the Fairy Ring"....
Continue south at 8 m where patchy coral makes way for grass and sand till you
will see in 6m an M40 anti aircraft tracked vehicle ("The Tank") scuttled in
September 1999 to create an artificial reef.
OLIVER'S CANYON - A little more care is needed on entry as the terrain is rather
rugged between the corals. Swimming through the fringing reef Surgeon Fish are
seen here, to a small pinnacle and then continue down a gully with corals rising
steeply on either side.
EEL CANYON – Located in what is referred to as “Big Bay” approx 10 mins drive
from the Club. A spectacular canyon dropping between 2 reefs with an eel garden
at the bottom.
AL SHOROUK -This wreck lies deep off the Eel Canyon dive site, to the West of
Kirk's Forest in 38 - 58m. The ship is lying on her starboard side across two
reefs lying West to East (bow to the East) this means that depths of over 60m
can easily be achieved under the wreck.
YELLOWSTONE REEF – Also in Big Bay, care is needed at the entrance as there is
sharp rubble and urchins. Once over this you pass over a large mountain coral
(Yellowstone) at 5 m a good place for a safety stop at the end of the dive..
BLUE CORAL - A flat piece of "slab" marks the entrance of this unusual site.
Care is needed on entry as the slab and flat stones can often be slippery and
there are urchins lurking. Once over this area swim across the grass down to 12m
where the reef starts.
KALLI'S PLACE – At the southern end of Big Bay. Named after one of Seastar's
original instructors, Dr Kalli de Meyer, now head of the Coral Reef Alliance in
the Caribbean. After an easy entry over shingle descend down a grassy spur to 7m
and there on the right is a spectacular small reef with a mountain coral on top.
SHIPS PLACE - Named after a ship was pushed up onto the reef but successfully
towed off with little damage to the reef. An easy entry on sand and grass down a
slope to 10m where a narrow canyon steeply drops to great depths.
PARADISE - Named for all the beautiful soft red coral in the area. The dive can
only be made at High Tide, wading out over the reef plateau. The reef drops to
6m straight away and you head out over grass with coral bommies. As you go
deeper the coral gets more dense until at 30m you reach a wall.
- Be careful that you don't go too deep here! Named after a valley
in Wadi Rum this site drops of steeply but offers a nice dive in the medium
depth range 10-25m. Large pelagics can be spotted here, the occasional shark.
Click here for the map of diving sites in Aqaba