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Dive Review of Dive Aqaba/Movenpick Aqaba in
Red Sea/Jordan

Dive Aqaba/Movenpick Aqaba: "Red Sea boat diving: a lovely adventure in beautiful Jordan", Jun, 2015,

by Joel Snyder, AZ, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 26 reports with 22 Helpful votes). Report 8249.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Trip Report:
Red Sea diving in Aqaba (Jordan) and Dive Aqaba

I dove with Dive Aqaba for a weekend in June, 2015. I was working in Amman, so I took the Jett bus from Amman to Aqaba (8 JD, about 4.5 hours each way). I had reserved at the Movenpick hotel (there are two: Talea Bay and Aqaba proper; I stayed at the one in Aqaba) and they had a weekend special for about 80 JD/night including buffet breakfast. (One JD = 1 Jordanian Dinar = USD 1.41, and the rate does not change very much at all). This was a great choice as the Jett bus terminal is back-to-back with the hotel. The Movenpick is considered 5-star in that area and was very nice.

I had made an arrangement by email with Dive Aqaba, who offered to pick me up. This wasn't strictly necessary, as the dive shop was a 5 minute walk from the hotel. On the second day, I just walked over to the shop. I paid 100 JD a day for equipment rental and 3 dives. The day also included lunch, and abundant drinks and snacks. Hint: bring your own towel if you want one.

The shop acted as a congregation place for divers. I was given some brief paperwork to fill out and then picked out my equipment with the help of the staff to be placed in a milk crate ("box"). Because I had gone just for a weekend, I didn't have my gear, so I rented everything but a mask and dive computer.

Generally, the equipment was heavily worn. The first day, my second stage was slightly maladjusted, not enough to be dangerous, and I switched to the second. On the second day, I asked for a new regulator, and the second stage bite had been bitten through. The neoprene was ripped in multiple places, and I noted that none of the tanks had hydro stamps within the last 5 years. The dive shop seems to run a lot of novice divers through their boat, so I expect that the equipment is heavily worn for this reason. I would have been much more comfortable with my own gear.

The staff was very friendly and helpful. English is a second language, so not everyone was chatty and talkative, but some spoke English very well (or were English), and so there was plenty of company to talk to.

After getting our gear, we walked to the boat (about a 5 minute walk), and then waited. On the first day, that was an hour; on the second, only a few minutes. Once we boarded and left the harbor, it was about a 40 minute ride south.

The boat was in excellent condition. A dive deck with plenty of seating and shade; a smallish salon for serving lunch, and a bridge deck gave us plenty of room. The boat can hold more than 20 divers, but there weren't that many: just a few divers who were diving, with the rest of the people either on "discovery scuba" dives or training courses. On the second day, on my third dive, I was the only diver!

Water temperature was about 75 degrees, and the shop provided a 3mm wetsuit, which was plenty for me. It was cool in the water, but not so cool that I wanted to cut a dive short.

The water is very salty, so I underweighted the first dive. Lead weights weren't marked as to weight, so I had to guess how much I was taking down, but threw an extra 3-5 pounds on and my problems disappeared.

Apparently diving was done from shore until recently, so all of the dive sites were within 100 yards of the beach. There are mooring buoys, and I never felt that there were crowds of boats---a few divers spotted on a few dives, but generally uncrowded.

I did a total of 6 dives. The first day we had a beginner with us so the dives were in the 40-50 minute range; the second day, I had a different buddy and dives were just a few seconds short of 60 minutes. We hit depths from 80-100 feet each dive, with the majority of the dive spent in the 40-60 feet range. Because the reef comes up to within a few feet of shore in most sites, you could easily do a nice gradual ascent without ever having to leave the reef. No currents, and the water was quite clear---nothing impeding visibility.

Hard corals were abundant, but damaged heavily. You could see tons of dead coral, with spotty live coral on top. Different sites were different, but you could tell in all sites that there's not as much coral now as there was some time in the recent past. This being said, the life was diverse and abundant. Many small antheus, with trunkfish, lionfish, spadefish, and butterflys very common. In the sea grasses, pipe fish were everywhere, with sea horses as well. Giant clams, soft corals less common but easy to spot. Large fish were unsuual---two large Napoleon wrasse were the biggest things I saw those two days.

There are only about 20 dive sites: the diving stretches down a fairly small stretch of the coast owned by Jordan, with Israel blocking in from the north, Egypt across the bay, and Saudi Arabia to the south. In these sites, though, there are interesting things to sea. A nice wreck, a submerged tank, and huge undersea cables between Jordan and Egypt all house lots of marine life.

Aqaba and Jordan boat dives are not like Bonaire: you can't really imagine spending 2 weeks here just to see it all. But for five days or a week, it's lovely, inexpensive, and fun.

Websites Dive Aqaba   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Asia, Caribbean, Hawaii, Australia
Closest Airport Aqaba, then Amman Getting There Flights from Amman, or bus or taxi. Can arrive via Eilat/Israel but probably not worth the paperwork.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 74-75°F / 23-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-80 Ft/ 18-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive in small groups with divemaster; return as a group, so limited by highest air-consuming diver.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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