(by Roberta Lenart)
The idea of visiting Jordan came from a scuba diving magazine that described a trip to Aqaba on the Red Sea, the only coastal city of Jordan. It appealed to me not least as did not just talked about what’s underwater but also went into detail describing Jordan on land. I wanted to see Petra (re-discovered by IndianaJones) just as much I wanted to dive in the Red Sea. The two together really captured my imagination and decided to pay a visit.
After short research it was clear that weather is going to be a factor as summer temperatures can rise into the high 40s while during winter snow might fall in the North of the country and water does cool down. For what I wanted to do both on land and underwater September seemed to be the best time and since I read the article in September it gave me a year to plan and prepare. At the end I spent 2.5 weeks in Jordan including four days of diving.
Jordan is mainly desert and after a week in the sand I was ready for South Beach how south Aqaba is known. The street leading up from the sea is home to dive centres / hotels / restaurants. Seemingly they all offer similar packages but after closer inspection I think there are variances. I stayed at Red Sea Dive Center not least as they were willing to negotiate the price. They turned out to be a very organised and professional centre with friendly dive guides and brand new equipment.
The dive sites themselves were superb too. All within a couple of minutes’ drive from the centre and all dive sites are shore dives. It’s similar to what I experienced in further south in Egypt: visibility in the low 20s and water temperature in the mid-20s. Coral is in good condition and there is so much to see! Under every rock and in between there is something to look at (flounder fish, stone fish, crown toby, lizard fish, turtles, eels, just to name a few) and it’s all dynamic: I missed when our dive guide liberated a smaller octopus from a bigger one and only saw the ink in the water and the retreating bigger octopus. It was quite a scene. I enjoyed watching a curious hermit crab trying to peek into / under his new neighbour’s shell brought there by the above mentioned dive guide. One of the highlights was for me to see a 15 cm seahorse in the last five minutes of my last dive. I did not realise it then and was told only later he was carrying eggs.
Other than the wonders of nature there is a tank and a ship wreck both sunken for divers to be explored.
I hope this brief recount entices you to pay a visit to this corner of the World!