Diving in the UAE: Heading back beneath the waves
I’ve been toying with the idea of guided meditation classes – I struggle to quiet the chatter in my head and I’m keen to just take half an hour to empty my thoughts and let everything go…
But that’s exactly what diving does for me.
I started back again four or five months ago, thinking it had been a while – it certainly had been, when I checked it had been four years since I had been below the waves. I’ve since been on three separate occasions (after the cost of servicing all my kit, I’m determined to try and go at least every couple of months!) and I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon!
It’s so easy to do from Dubai – the diving here in the city may not be that impressive, but there are some beautiful sites only an hour and a half/two hours away in Fujairah or Oman.
After such a break, we started back with a shallow dive at Dibba Rock, concerned about how much technical knowledge we had retained, but the minute I was under water, all the concerns melted away. It really is heaven, being slowly carried along the reef by a gentle current, surrounded by shoals of brightly coloured fish – your mind empties naturally, without any concerted effort. All you hear is the rhythmic sound of your own breathing, and the reassuring crunch of coral by hungry marine life.
Our confidence restored, the next dive trip we ventured out to Inchcape 2 for a deep dive. I was delighted to see that the same enormous moray eel was holding court from the tyres on deck as he has for years, and that the fish seemed to be as plentiful as ever.
Then last weekend a group of us enjoyed two dives with Al Boom Diving at Dibba rock and Sharms Rock. Dibba Rock offered up some gorgeous dive sites and an easy drift style dive, and whilst Sharms may not have yielded the same bounty with the strong current and low visibility, for me the diving was still enjoyable – just being beneath the waves, suspended, weightless and free, at one with the ocean. Ok, so maybe now I’m getting carried away, but that’s honestly how it makes me feel, and the hour is over much too soon!
There are plenty of dive companies operating from the East coast of the UAE, most based in Fujairah. I’d personally recommend Al Boom Diving, based out of Meridien Al Aqah, or Freestyle Divers, based out of Royal Beach Hotel. You could join them for one or two dives, or alternatively a day trip to the Musandam really makes a day of it. I’ve listed my favourite dive sites here.
As we head off to the Maldives for an eagerly anticipated bucket list trip, I’m so glad we took the time to reacquaint ourselves with the underwater world ahead of time. Now I’m set to dive right in (see what I did there!)
See you on the other side!