Breathe in the salty air and gear up for the aquatic adventure of a lifetime in Aqaba, Jordan’s shimmering gem. We’re not talking about soaking up the sun on sandy shores; we’re diving deeper — into the azure waters of the Red Sea, brimming with some of the world’s most stunning coral reefs and exotic marine life.
We’ve journeyed through the captivating landscapes, navigated through the shipwrecks, and even shared a moment or two with the playful dolphins to bring you the ultimate guide to the 10 most breathtaking scuba experiences in Aqaba. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a newbie, your thirst for underwater exploration will find satiation here. Ready to plunge into the adventure? Dive in!
1. Cedar Pride
The Cedar Pride is not just a wreck, it’s a time capsule and an artificial reef swarming with sea creatures. Majestically nestled between two limestone rocks, this sunken ship promises an experience of a lifetime. A victim of a catastrophic fire in 1982, this vessel found a new life underwater when it was intentionally submerged in 1985. With its deck and superstructure teeming with a variety of corals and critters, it becomes an enticing playground for divers of all levels. The abundance of soft corals against the clear blue water creates an ethereal landscape that’s hard to forget.
2. Yellowstone Reef
Behold the beauty of the Yellowstone Reef, mirroring the brilliance of its namesake. This fascinating location, distinguished by its yellowish pinnacle visible from the surface, promises a delightful spectacle. As you submerge into the reef’s depths, you’re welcomed by a mesmerising world populated by red sponges and vibrant nudibranchs. Further into the underwater paradise, you’ll encounter giant green cabbage corals, friendly turtles, curious pufferfish, and elusive lyretail groupers. With accessibility options from both a boat or Tala Bay’s shoreline, this paradise serves as a living canvas of biodiversity, enchanting divers and photographers with its array of vibrant wildlife.
3. Kiwi Reef
Concealed beneath Aqaba’s azure waters is the Kiwi Reef, a gem discovered by a New Zealand diver. This site, easily accessed from the shore, is a beautiful symphony of coral heads and sea grass swaying in the currents. But what makes it a true oceanic jewel is the myriad of sea life it harbours. The reef bustles with activity, from graceful seahorses and evasive eels to vibrant sea slugs and schools of tiny fish. As you journey deeper, a new scene unfolds. Healthy coral heads, interspersed by sandy patches, are a thriving haven for juvenile fish, nudibranchs, glass shrimps, red-banded coral shrimps, and small crabs, turning this spot into a photographer’s Eden.
4. Tristar Wreck
A fascinating testament to the wonders of Aqaba, the Tristar Wreck delivers a remarkable experience. This massive Lockheed Martin L1011 Tristar plane, sunk intentionally in 2019, lies on a sandy slope free of reefs. The 400-seater aircraft, dwarfed by the vast expanse of the ocean, stands as an impressive monument, rapidly attracting a diverse range of wildlife. Venturing inside the cabin and cockpit or swimming through the intake valve, divers experience a mix of awe and exhilaration. From large black sponges and small coral heads to seagrass and emerging marine life, the Tristar Wreck presents an incredible journey through a relic.
5. Eel Garden
Dive into the enigmatic Eel Garden, a spectacle of nature’s finest work. Housing an impressive colony of garden eels, this location is a playground for marine biodiversity. As you start your descent, you’re welcomed by the sight of garden eels rising from the sandy floor, disappearing with swift elegance at the slightest disturbance. Further exploration reveals a striking panorama of black corals leading you to a pinnacle. Acting as an aquatic beacon, this pinnacle is abuzz with myriad reef fish, adding a dash of colour to the deep blue. Don’t forget to spot the secretive moray eels, exotic ghost pipefish, vibrant harlequin shrimp, and the stunning lionfish that live in this marine playground.
6. King Abdullah Reef
Named in honour of King Abdullah II, this dive site unfolds as a tapestry of abundant life. Its expansive coral networks serve as both a sanctuary and playground for a multitude of marine species. Here, the pennant fish school in rich displays, torpedo rays glide effortlessly, and turtles saunter around, foraging on the seagrass. The landscape becomes more bewitching as you venture deeper to discover a sprawling gorgonian forest, an alluring sight filled with shoals of kaleidoscopic sea beings. Due to the reef’s clarity and minimal current, it’s an ideal spot for capturing striking underwater images.
7. The Tank
Discover The Tank, an intriguing testament to nature’s ability to reclaim and repurpose. This former anti-aircraft artillery, resting five metres beneath the sea surface, is now an underwater oasis. Populated by small corals and juvenile fish, this site also offers glimpses of intriguing species like anthias, lionfish, scorpionfish, and trunkfish. Easily accessible from the shore or boat, The Tank serves as a canvas for photographers who are eager to capture the unique combination of military history and burgeoning marine life.
8. Seven Sisters
Just a short swim away from The Tank lies the Seven Sisters, a charming formation of seven coral pinnacles. Your journey to this site is equally rewarding as you traverse over patches of seagrass and petite anemone heads bursting with aquatic life. Upon reaching the Seven Sisters, prepare to be enchanted by a thriving community of anthias, damselfish, stonefish, lionfish, scorpionfish, fusiliers, and eels. With its shallow depth and animated life, it serves as a magnet for shutterbugs and marine enthusiasts alike.
9. Rainbow Reef
Named for its crescent shape reminiscent of a vibrant rainbow, Rainbow Reef presents a captivating spectacle. Accessible from either the shore or boat, the reef drops to a depth of 18 metres, giving divers a challenging terrain to navigate. A spellbinding sight here is the telecommunication cables running to Egypt, a testament to human connection amidst the natural beauty. This location blooms with life at night, transforming into a dance floor for lobsters, moray eels, and brilliantly coloured feather stars. During daylight, expect encounters with parrotfish, scorpionfish, wrasse, and butterflyfish. Eagle rays may also make an occasional appearance, gliding with ease through the water.
10. Gorgone One
A cherished favourite for a reason, Gorgone One captivates with its dominant gorgonian sea fan coral. Nestled amid three pinnacles, each possessing a flourishing ecosystem, the orgonian coral stands as an aquatic marvel. Divers encounter cleaning stations bustling with shrimps, moray eels, glassfish, and anthias — a spectacle enticing for photographers. An eclectic collection of fauna, including grand cabbage corals, adds to the beauty. Keep an eye out for Hawksbill turtles, emperor fish, sergeant major fish, stonefish, and lionfish that inhabit this thriving underwater world.
Whether you are just starting to dip your toes into the world of diving or are an experienced diver looking to upgrade your equipment for your next big diving adventure, AGULHAS is your one-stop shop for all your diving equipment needs.
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One example of our commitment to sustainability is our modular freediving mask. Its design allows for elements to be replaced if damaged, reducing waste and prolonging the life of the product. We also use mono materials whenever possible, such as a silicone snorkel and weight belt with stainless steel screws and buckle. This design not only ensures durability but also assists with recycling efforts.
We take pride in our eco-friendly packaging as well. Our “plastic” packaging from the factory is biodegradable and compostable, and we encourage reuse by incorporating zip closures where possible. Our dedication to sustainability is born out of our love for freediving, and our freediving kit is designed by renowned freediver Hanli Prinsloo, champion swimmer Peter Marshall, and acclaimed designer Alexander Taylor.
At AGULHAS, we are confident that our freediving kit is the best on the market. We invite you to explore the rest of our website, where you can dive into a variety of freediving topics and access our freediving store, which features everything from masks and snorkels to bags and accessories. By choosing AGULHAS, you can enjoy your freediving experience with the knowledge that you are supporting a sustainable, environmentally conscious company that shares your passion for the ocean. Visit our website to shop our products today.
Diving into the spellbinding waters of Aqaba is a journey like no other. It’s a magical blend of historic wrecks, lively reefs, and awe-inspiring marine life that waits to welcome you in. Whether you’re a novice diver or a seasoned explorer, each of these 10 captivating spots offers a unique story, a unique encounter, and a unique memory that will remain etched in your mind forever. So, strap on that scuba gear, plunge into the radiant blue, and let the treasures of Aqaba’s underwater world unfold before your very eyes. Adventure awaits, don’t let it float away!