Feature » Fujairah - Diving on the edge of the desert

Fujairah - Diving on the edge of the desert

blum roger author[2] jpgOff the metropolises of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates is the Emirate of Fujairah. Desert sand and sunshine abound here. Fujairah is increasingly focusing on tourism, because the Emirate has a special treasure: an exotic underwater world with hard and soft corals and a huge wealth of fish. Fujairah offers a varied underwater world and the infrastructure is well geared to explore the exciting dive sites. I would like to introduce three dive sites here.

 

In the north of Fujairah on the border to the Omani peninsula Musandam is the famous dive site Dibba Rock. The dive site is suitable for beginners as well as experienced divers. If one dives on its north side, one experiences an unbelievable wealth of fish and also so many black tip reef sharks patrol around the reef edge. You can see snappers, triggerfish, boxfish and puffer fish, flute fish, lionfish, scorpionfish, groupers, angelfish and bat fish as well as rays and turtles. On the southern side soft corals show up and numerous colourful nudibranchs and feather stars make this  an ideal area for macro photographers. Wildfishes hang near the overhanging cliffs and crevasses and moray eels stretch their necks towards the diver.

 

A little further south, about halfway between Dibba and Khorfakkan, there are dozens of car wrecks on the seabed. Coral populate the chassis, and once where the driver and passenger sat,  colourful coral fish and nudibranch have found a home. The boat trip from Al Aqah Beach to the dive site Car Cemetery takes about 15 minutes. At 16 m depths, the remains of small cars, trucks and buses are lying around on the sandy ground. The wreck remains are connected with ropes, so that getting lost is almost impossible. Just follow the rope and get from car wreck to car wreck. The word wreck may be a little exaggerated, because you can not find complete cars here anymore. Only a pair of tires, fenders and chassis, or a steering wheel lying on the sand remind us that these are the remains of discarded vehicles. The cars were sunk in 1988. Originally, more than 200 car wrecks were said to have been found here. But the cyclone Gonu destroyed the dive site considerably in 2007. Only a few overgrown coral scrap heaps can be seen today. Nature has completely seized the vehicles and created an artificial reef out of them. Corals in orange, red and blue have settled on the wreckage. The car cemetery is a true paradise for macro photographers. On the coral I found a surprising abundance of feather stars and nudibranchs.

 

On the sandy bottom I saw a stingray and in the open water a swarm of barracudas chased. The swarm consisted of several hundred fish. A few fins away from it, large, barbed mackerels were chasing through the water. Then a single ship keeper appeared and was obviously looking for a “ride-along”. He could not quite decide between myself or my dive partner and swam here and then there. Typically, they select the sharks, stingrays or turtles that are found here to let themselves be dragged through the sea, but sometimes they also try to dock with divers with their suction plate on the head. This isn’t very pleasant and so I was glad that the small ship owner soon lost his interest in us.

 

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If you want to see sharks and turtles, you should go to the Sharm Rocks. Three peaks protrude a few feet out of the water and so the dive site is also called Three Rocks. The place is known for its turtle population, which are regularly found at  depths between 5 m and 10 m. Whether grazing among the rocks or sleeping in the corals, they will not be disturbed by the divers. It is not uncommon to find barracudas, huge cow-tailed rays and, of course, black tip reef sharks.

 

The shimmering colours of the rich fish stocks off the coast of Fujairah will bring a satisfied smile to your face every time you dive.

 

Roger Blum

 

Dr. Roger Blum is lawyer in Berlin, Germany and a passionate diver. He has visited Fujairah several times and writes about travelling and diving at www.easydive24.com

 

Please send to exemplars to:

Dr. Roger Blum

Straße am Flugplatz 52f

12487 Berlin

Germany

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