Diving Overview for Dubai & UAE
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates on the Arabian Pennisula. Once famous for its pearls, Dubai is the largest city and most well known tourist destination, host to the world’s first desert snow-slope, the spectacular Palm Islands and (coming soon) the largest shopping centre in the world.
There are a number of ways to spend your cheap holidays to Dubai not only on exotic desert safaris, popular sightseeing tours on Palm Island and amongst the myriad of malls dotting Dubai, you can also opt to try out diving and snorkelling tours in the Gulf of Arabia. Diving tours along with private cruises on the Arabian Gulf have seen an increase in popularity among tourists who have only recently discovered the beauty of marine life inhabiting Dubai's shipwrecks.
The UAE is not in itself a diving destination but if you happen to be here then there are a few sites worth exploring. The East Coast is definitely better with more marine life than the Dubai-side which often suffers from poor visibility due to dredging. There are however several wrecks that, on a clear day, are well worth exploring.
Diving Dubai-side (West Coast): Diving around the Dubai coast is pretty much all wreck diving with depths ranging from 10-35m. Due to the sandy bottom of the Arabian Gulf, the wrecks form artificial reefs attracting marine life including large barracuda, rays, turtles, sharks, batfish, tuna, some sea snakes, dolphins and Arabian angelfish. The Zainab is considered one of the better wrecks alongside the Dara and Barracuda Barge wrecks.
Abu Dhabi has some coral reefs, a few wrecks and generally has much better visibility than Dubai although not as good as the East coast.
Diving the East Coast: The Arabian Sea forms part of the Indian Ocean and is full of coral reefs & marine life ranging from sharks, eels and turtles to little nudibranchs. There are several dive centres concentrated around Khorfakan. The Musandam area, known as the Norway of the Middle East due its fjords, and Dibba, have some beautiful diving areas that are full of marine life. Al Fujeirah is another excellent spot with healthy corals and a good variety of life. Martini Rock (apparently shaped like the bottom of a martini bottle!) is a popular site with soft purple corals and porcupine fish.
Diving is possible all year round with water temperatures ranging from 25°C to a high of 34°C in July. Visibility is varied, but in dredging areas around Dubai it can be a poor 1-3m. Al Fujeirah can be up to 20m (note that Al Fujeirah plankton bloom is late June/July).
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