I finally did it! My first dive in the Red Sea, and it totally exceeded my expectations. I already am so excited for the next time I get to dive.
I went through Marine Services at KAUST, which is super easy and convenient because it is only about 5 minutes walk from my house. The other option for diving is getting a bus or ride into Jeddah (an hour away) and going out with one of the dive shops there, which is a bit more expensive. But I had such a great time diving here I don’t think I need to bother with Jeddah any time soon. Apparently, the coast guard has had some changing rules in the past 8 years since KAUST had been here. Originally, the divers were only allowed to go to one reef, where there were 4 different places to anchor. In addition, everyone had to get a Saudi dive license, even if they had PADI or other recognized certification cards. And this process was time consuming and expensive, and fortunately for me they just did away with these! In addition, to my knowledge over the past few months KAUST got the okay to go to a lot more reefs than before, which means a a lot more marine life to explore.
The boat left the yacht club at 9 AM. After getting past the coast guard and showing them our dive cards, we headed out to see for a good hour long boat ride. There was food, water, and up top there was even a big area with turf grass and lounge chairs to relax in. I got to talking with some divers around me who gave me some advice on the best diving in the Middle East and the best liveaboards to join. There’s a whale shark liveaboard in the spring, you better believe I am joining that!
Anyways, only photos will describe how amazing the marine life is here. There’s not a ton of big fish but there’s an overwhelming amount of little fish and a beautiful array of hard and soft corals. It is so different than any other diving I have done. Unfortunately, the strobe to my camera isn’t working (the flash) so these photos could be better, but they still turned out quite well when the lighting was good!
We did two 50 minute dives, with lunch in between. We went to rose reef and another one closer in shore. Both were incredible. Rose reef had some bleaching on one side but it didn’t look nearly as bad as some bleaching I have seen in Hawaii.
I leave for Oman in three days! I will not have internet aka no blogging, so I will be taking a little hiatus from social media, but I will make sure to fill you all in when I return on September 10th! A hui hou,