Diving in Fujairah
Beyond the metropolitan sparkle and shopping in Dubai, is the eastern coast of United Arab Emirates, the Indian ocean and teeming marine life.
By Marieke Van Der Vlugt, April 09, 2017
Fujairah is one of the seven Emirates, located on the eastern coast of the UAE along the Persian Gulf. It was Peter Hellyer´s book “Fujairah: An Arabian Jewel” that set the Abu Dhabi to Fujairah trip in motion. Just after passing Dubai, we saw this friendly pedestrian across the road, a nice example of where desert meets urban living. The drive took three hours. It became
more and more stunning when we leftthe cities behind and golden yellow sand dunes and mountains took their place.
The panorama was so incredible, we stopped to capture some of the views.
Compared to the more or less flat terrain of UAE's capital, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Fujairah is almost entirely mountainous desert land.
First dives at Fujairah's coast
We chose Al Aqah and the diving organization, Al Boom Diving located at this beach to guide us. In UAE, Al Boom Diving operates 3 dive centres and a 4th one at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. About 30 minutes away from Al Aqah, The Pots roundabout appears. Roundabouts like these symbolize the cultural identity of Fujairah.
Al Aqah beach
The Pots roundabout
Briefing by the diving instructor, Honney
After breakfast, we met Honney, our diving instructor for a quick briefing on the dive sites, then chose to dive at two different locations and collected our diving equipment.
Our first dive site was 'Inchcape 1' - a wreck dive with a depth of 35m, meant for advanced certified divers only. 'Inchcape' refers to a boat by Inchcape Shipping that sank in 2001.
We reached Inchcape 1 after a 15-minute boat ride. At the briefing, Honney had warned us about the strong current. True enough, we reached out for the buoy to climb down the line to the wreck. It took a while, but it was totally worth viewing a very interesting wreck, packed with aquatic life. Sponges, corals, barnacles and different fish species covered it. We spotted a massive moray and some Lion Fish. Marine biologist and Abu Dhabi ENHG member, Amit Nevase warns "The snake like Moray eel is harmless but its bite, if you provoke it, is painful." We had been told that the rare Mola Mola fish (or the sunfish) had been seen at this dive site. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any.
Our second dive site, 'Sharm Rocks' On the other hand, was a 5-minute boat ride away - perfect for snorkelers and open water divers. This time, there was no need to reach out for the buoy and climb down the line. We saw more marine wildlife here than at Inchcape 1. Sharm Rocks is known by the names '3 Rocks Pinnacles' or '3 Sisters' too. This reference is to three rocks that rise above the water surface at a shallow dive site, 3m west pinnacle and up to 14m on the east pinnacle.
At Sharm Rocks, two turtles kept swimming around us. We saw several baby sharks, barracudas, boxfish eels and scorpion fish, to name just a few. "Scorpion fish have great camouflage skills. Their dorsal fin has poison." Amit informed us after our return from the trip.
The easy accessibility of Sharm Rocks, its diversity of marine wildlife and the pinnacles covered with coral made it so likeable.
Al Boom Diving took good care of safety and diving procedures. They explicitly informed all divers not to touch and disturb marine wildlife. Our two boat dives in Fujairah began at 10:00AM and culminated at 03:00 PM. Overall it was a great dive, worth recommending.
A camouflaged Scorpion fish