Aqaba, in the southernmost part of Jordan, is just over the border from and shares the same bay with Eilat, Israel. Just as in Eilat, the scuba diving in Aqaba is world-class. Sitting on the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea, it’s about 143 miles (231 km) north of Sharm el-Sheikh. Aqaba is far less crowded than other heavily visited diving towns in Egypt, however. Warm waters, amazing visibility, and both big and small marine life await if you make the journey. Here are a few highlights of scuba diving in Aqaba, Jordan.
The purpose-sunk Cedar Pride has been underwater since November 16th, 1985. The shipwreck lies on its port side across two reefs. Those with wreck-penetration experience can explore the interior. Less experienced divers can appreciate the soft corals that surround it. The perfect dive profile is to descend by the mooring and work your way along the bottom of the wreck. You’ll come around under the bow, then along the keel to the swim-through. Ascend to the main mast and accommodation area, then return along the top edge of the wreck and complete a safety stop on the mooring chain. The Cedar Pride offers an amazing dive for wreck- and coral-lovers alike. The site is accessible by shore or boat and has a maximum depth of 82 feet (25 m).
One of the prettiest sites in Aqaba, Japanese Garden is popular with snorkelers, new divers and anyone who loves corals and plenty of fish. Expect hawksbill turtles, shoaling barracuda, sergeant majors and fusiliers, along with bright and beautiful corals and clear water. Stretching all the way along to Eilat in Israel, local knowledge says that the Aqaba section is better preserved and favored by serious divers. The site has a maximum depth of 130 feet (40 m).
Power Station Wall
Although the name leaves something to be desired, Power Station is a spectacular wall dive. You’ll drift from north to south along the wall, incidentally nowhere near a power station. Divers often spot sharks, morays and other large marine life here. Power Station is also great for technical diving, as your decompression stops come with the view of what looks like an underwater fish tank. Power Station is only accessible by boat. The slope begins at 40 feet (12 m) before dropping off. This site is great for deep and technical dives.
This wonderful shallow dive starts at around 26 feet (8 m). You can complete it in a little over an hour while observing the marine life or practicing your macro photography skills. There are two sets of pinnacles — the Seven Sisters and the Fairy Ring. This site is excellent for novice divers and those looking to do a course while diving in Aqaba, although it’s not the best choice for bigger animals or deeper dive profiles.
Make it Happen
Deep Blue Dive Center is a great choice for diving in Aqaba, offering knowledgeable guides and an immaculate boat and equipment. Water temperatures can get as low as 73 F (23 C), but very rarely, and usually hover around 80 F (27 C). A full-length 3 mm wetsuit should suit most divers fine, especially on longer dives or multiple-dive days. Make sure to check with your local embassy before traveling to Jordan. While most visitors can get a $60 USD visa on arrival, some may have to organize one in advance.