DAY 1: Arava Border - Aqaba
Our representative will meet you upon arrival on the Jordanian side of Arava Border and assist with your visa to Jordan. After, meet our driver who will transfer you to DoubleTree Hilton 4* or similar in Aqaba where you can drop your luggage. After, the driver will take you to the dive shop for orientation and to get ready for the two shore dives and as an option a third dive (including lunch on the beach). This night you also have the option to do a night dive. For this, we do need to know at least 3 days in advance so that the dive shop can get permission from the Marine Authority.
Dive # 1 – Rainbow Reef / Cedar Pride (6 - 27 m)
Rainbow Reef is named because the reef is shaped like a rainbow. It starts at around 6m and drops down to 18m on the top of the reef. A deeper gulley runs down the North side of the reef forming a nice wall along the side of the reef. There is a telecommunications cable that runs over to Egypt running down this gulley. The reef is covered with a fantastic display of feather stars all colors of the rainbow.
The Cedar Pride was a Lebanese freighter that sustained extensive damage in a fire in 1982; she was then scuttled for divers and now lies on her port side across two reefs with a surface buoy situated at her stern. The wreck has been colonised by many hard and soft corals which makes this one very stunning dive site. Its interior is very stable and can be explored with swim-throughs and an air pocket amongst many of its features. The ship is about 80m in length and is best explored the seaward side where you can see the deck and intricate structures with perhaps the best feature being the crow’s nest which is covered in coral and really stands out against the clear blue water.
Dive # 2 – Japanese Gardens (0 - 40 m)
Japanese Garden is a world renowned dive site with a magnificent colorful reef bed that starts in the shallows and gently slopes away into the depths. A great site for diving and photography though please be aware of the glass bottom boats that also frequent the area particularly when surfacing at the end of the dive. For creatures at the site, there are turtles, lyre tail groupers, royal angelfish, schools of barracuda and fusiliers as well as moray eels and big clam shells.
Optional Dive #3: Cable Reef (6 – 40 m)
Named for the electrical cables that were laid to Egypt in 1996, an artificial reef is now in situ. Four cables run over the sea bed with the surrounding reef shored up to prevent it from collapsing. Large steel netting covers and large metal tubes straddling the canyon are also there for support and now have soft corals, sponges, fish, octopus and the occasional spotted eagle ray all taking advantage of this new environment.
Optional Night dive from shore:
We will revisit Rainbow Reef and the Cedar Pride. After, BBQ on the beach with refreshments.
DAY 2: Boat dives - Wadi Rum - Aqaba - 8 am pick-up from DoubleTree Hilton
GROUP 1 – you can choose any 2 or all 3 of the dives in this group; lunch on the boat is included
Dive # 1 – First Bay North to First Bay South (6 – 30 m; "drift dive")
Situated within the marine park, First Bay North consists of sandy plains and coral patches with a pinnacle situated west of the mooring point. The pinnacle is covered in red soft coral and can be found by heading North past the sponge covered old fish cage. Occasional stingrays can also be found snoozing between the coral and many cleaning stations can lead to good species interaction at this dive site.
At First Bay South, crossing the sand, there are several small pinnacles in which can be found yellow mouthed morays and anemones. One of the pinnacles, at about 7m is a very populated cleaning station with banded boxer shrimp that may even clean a diver or two! The sea grass is also worth a look with scorpion fish and lion fish lurking amongst the grass as well as various juvenile fish.
Dive # 2 – King Abdullah Reef (6 – 30 m)
A popular dive site named after King Abdullah II, a fan coral covered in multi-coloured sponges is one of the highlights with pennant fish, torpedo rays and blue spotted rays often spotted around the coral. The south of the dive site is covered in different corals and in the shallows going back north, schools of fusiliers can sometimes be found in and around the pinnacles towards the end of the dive. A great site for photography and remember to keep your eyes peeled for turtles as well who are also frequent visitors.
Dive # 3 – Black Rock (0 – 40 m)
The sloping reef spans from 12-30m with pinnacles, cabbage coral and fringing reef all interspersed with each other. Plates can also be seen which is part of the coral growth research. Turtles are frequently found either munching on the coral or taking a snooze. A safety stop can be taken in amongst the grass where snowflake and common grey morays can be seen, the keen eye may even see a red sea walkman. One other thing to be aware of is a potential current which can be up to one knot.
GROUP 2 – you can choose any 2 or all 3 of the dives in this group; lunch on the boat is included
Dive #1: Gorgan 1 (0 – 16 m)
Two large Gorgonian corals are the main feature which can be found down the coral slope. This is very much a coral sightseeing tour with a wide variety and three large pinnacles also extending from the bottom to the surface. The middle pinnacle holds a cleaning station and around the northern pinnacle, shoals of big eye emperors and sergeant major fish can be seen. Many invertebrates and fish can be found inhabiting the dive site.
Dive #2: 7 Sisters and the Tank (3 – 20 m)
The tank (an American M42 anti-aircraft tank) is set at 6m and was scuttled in 1999 by the Jordanian Royal Ecological Diving Society (JREDS) to create an artificial reef. Away from the tank there is the ‘fairy ring’ and the ‘seven sisters’, two sets of pinnacles with the usual critters around making this a great shallow dive making the most of your air and camera.
Dive #3: Eel Canyon (14 – 30 m)
A collection of garden eels sitting at the bottom of the canyon gives this dive site its name. The table coral and oil drum are useful navigation points and if look under coral ledges then you’re likely to find some lionfish with morays also sometimes sitting in the canyons. There is a swim through at the bottom of one of the spurs of coral though this can be a bit of tight squeeze.
After your boat dives, the dive shop will return you to your hotel where you can shower and rest. Because of the altitude of Wadi Rum, you must wait 3 hours after the dives are complete before going there. Around 2pm (depending on the time of year), our driver will meet you at the hotel and continue to Wadi Rum where you will experience the ride of your life during a 3 hour 4x4 safari. After, return to the Doubletree Hilton for overnight.
DAY 3: Aqaba - Petra - Arava Border
Our driver will meet you at DoubleTree Hilton at 8am and then start the 2 hour drive to Petra. We will arrange your entrance fees and hire you an English speaking site to start the tour of Petra for about 3 hours covering the main attraction of the site at the lower part. You and the guide will start from the main gate all the way through the Siq to visit the Treasury, Street of Facades, the Theatre, all the way down to the Nymphium and Qaser El- Bent. Have lunch inside Petra at Al Basin Restaurant, then you will have some free hours on your own to explore further places, such as the Monastery. After, return to the main gate to meet our driver to start the return to Arava Border. End of services.
Price based per person sharing double/triple room:
Night dive with BBQ on the beach: $80 per person
3rd boat dive on Day 1: $40 per person
3rd shore dive on Day 2: $40 per person