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Help needed: diving in DUBAI

Discussion in 'The Gulf' started by deepocean, Jun 15, 2003.

  1. deepocean

    deepocean Barracuda


    can somebody help me with more info. on diving in Dubai?

    I would like to come in touch with someone who has exprience in diving in Dubai!

    Plz PM me!

  2. coliseum

    coliseum Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: UAE

    About diving in Dubai... Unfortunately we dont have any corals or anything of that sort but we sure do have nice Wreck Dives and artificial reef...

    There are numerous dive Schools in Dubai, however, you might want to consider diving on the EAST COAST (Fujeirah). There is a good Dive school there (SCUBA INTERNATIONAL), they do have some nicer reef dive sites there. In the East Coast, you will be diving the Indian ocean rather than the Persian gulf.

    Hope this helps.
  3. algego

    algego Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: London
    just came back from Dubai. there is Al Boom diving centre next to Iranian Ambassy :)
    very profesional and affrordable. great service, worth try.
  4. BoMo

    BoMo Garibaldi

    I wouldn't recommend Al Boom. Its a kind of Tourist rip-off company and they are in fact very unprofessional. Had quiet some accidents and even death in the last years.

    If you come as a tourist, you might join Pavillion Dive Center in the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. But much better join Divers Down. The do all kinds and all levels of dive trips all around the UAE and Oman.
  5. PacketSniffer

    PacketSniffer Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
    Sandy Beach Hotel
    +971 (971) 2445050
    Al-Aqqa Fujairah
    United Arab Emirates

    I've been here and it was nice. It's not a five star hotel but if you want something inexpensive, that place is the ticket. You can walk right outside from your room and beach dive. Boat trips available as well. More comments from me.

    See Diving Heidi's comments back in June. She hasn't been there that long.

    Have fun!

  6. Dubai Diver

    Dubai Diver Guest

    Firstly, let me just say that BoMo is way out of line slagging off Al Boom Diving like he does.

    Claiming that Al Boom has had many accidents is a blatant lie and on top of that, he tries to blame Al Boom Diving for the tragic death of a dive club member (a member of the dive club did indeed die on an overnight dive trip arranged by Al Boom, but his death were contributed to a medical issue and neither Al Boom staff nor the other divers taking part in the dive were to blame for the persons death. All safety protocols and procedures were followed and every attempt was made to revive the diver, both by Al Boom staff, by other divers with medical training and by local hospital staff. The death of this very experienced diver was very tragic and it is very sad to see that some people attempt at promoting some dive centers over others on that background).

    With that out of the way, my advise on "what is the best dive center in the UAE" are as follows:

    If i was going diving in the Gulf off the coast of Dubai, Pavillion Dive center would be my choice. For East Coast and Musandam I would choose Al Boom Diving. Divers Down is also a good option for diving on the East Coast - Paul, the owner, runs a good operation, but facilities and boats are not as good as Al Boom and Pavillion.

    on the issue of prices, there is not much difference in price between the serious dive operators.... diving trips and courses are generally more expensive in Dubai/UAE when compared to other destinations, but this is due to the higher operating costs that UAE dive centres are facing. If you are looking for a bargain, UAE is generally not the right place....

    Anyone interested can log on to my website www.dubaidivers.com where i am trying to compile some info on diving here..
  7. MarkH

    MarkH Solo Diver

    I also like the Sandy Beach Motel. They have a dive shop right next to the beach and a shore dive (the only one in UAE that I know of) at Snoopy island in front of the hotel. Most of the pictures on the following page http://victoriadiving.awardspace.com/uae.htmlon my website were taken on this shore dive. I also did some boat diving with Al boom and didn't have a problem. They didn't "baybysit" us or hold our hands like they do in some tropical destinations. They let us swim where we wanted and do what we wanted since we were adults. That's what I like in a charter.
  8. Dubber

    Dubber Guest

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Dubai
    I live in Dubai myself and used Pavilion (Dubai), Divers Down(Khor Fhakkan) and Al Boom (Al Aqqa).
    I do most of my diving in Dubai since I don't really like the 180km drive to the other side. However diving is a lot more diverse on the east coast.
    As to who to use, for me it really does not matter a lot, except for the size of shops each one has there really is not much difference.

    Happy diving!
  9. poleinahole

    poleinahole Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Luanda, Angola
    Diving in the Emirates & Musandam--Part I (due to size limitaions on posts)

    The Emirates don’t exactly offer world class diving, but if traveling through the UAE and you find the urge to get wet, here’s the low down on my experience diving in the Emirates from Jan. 3-6, 2007:

    • Jan. 3, 2007: Fujeirah (UAE East Coast trip) booked through Al Boom Diving in Dubai (5 Star PADI Gold Palm Resort). Tel: +971-4-342-2993. E-mail: abdiving@emirates.net.ae. Website: www.alboomdiving.com.

    Professional operator. Promptly responded to all e-mails. They no longer book dives in Dubai because the dredging and building projects don’t make for good diving fish life or viz wise. They run trips to the Musandam Penninsula in Oman if they have enough people (usually on Friday) but otherwise run daily trips to Fujeirah where they operate the Dive Centre at the Al Aqah Meridien. Cost is 250 dirhams for two tanks dive if you have your own gear and just need tanks and weights. Otherwise 300 dirhams. They arrange transport to and from Dubai leaving at 6:45 AM and getting back at around 5:30 PM for an extra 100 Dirhams. Two tank dive and transport to/from Dubai includes lunch.

    There is a nice, clean locker room, shower and toilet at the Al Aqah Meridien Dive Center in Fujeirah. You get there about 9:00, meet the dive guests from the hotel, suit up and board a 25 seater speedboat at 9:30. There are individual dive cubbyholes on board the boat and space for everyone to sit down but not room for dry stuff so leave it in the locker room. There are no toilets or showers on board. Juice and water provided on board.

    It’s about 30 minutes to Martini Rock, a staple of UAE East Coast diving. (So called either because the rock looks like the bottom of a Martini bottle or because it was a spot where expats used to repair to drink forbidden alcohol). The rock is also in Martini Bay, so take your pick as to what rationale you prefer). Water was 23C and air temp. 21 and cooler going at high speeds in the wind so dress accordingly. They rent 5 MM suits and most people were cold diving in winter with these suits. The rest of the year it should be fine. Best time to dive in the UAE is March-April.

    Viz was 6-8 metres and there was a lot of plankton and sediment in the water. Lots of eels, scorpionfish, nudibranchs, lionfish, and purple soft coral and long sea grass.on one side of the rock. Large porcupine pufferfish as well. There are also non stinging jelly fish on the surface. Considering this is just about the UAE’s signature dive, it’s a bit disappointing. The profusion of black sea urchin with red eyes indicates the reef is not healthy (they feed on algae). Bottom depth is 72 feet.

    We then headed back to the hotel for an hour to change tanks and have lunch (cheese and ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit and cookies with tea and coffee included in the dive package price). Picked up some new hotel guests and dropped off a few too.

    Next dive was Sharm which is a 5-10 minute boat ride from the hotel. Lots of box fish, flounder, eels, urchins, sea slugs, false Moorish idol, hunting bat fish. Again water had lots of plankton.

    The head dive master was a nice but very laid back German. He did a one minute briefing on both dives but otherwise kept to himself. Fortunately, there are a profusion of friendly Filipino Instructors and DMs who do all the heavy lifting. Filipinos also run the office and shop. One DM/Instructor will guide 4 divers.

    Bottom line: professional operator. Nice boat and good facilities. Let down by head DM who while pleasant doesn’t do much for his guests.

    • Jan. 4, 2007: Khor Fakkan booked through Divers Down, Oceanic Hotel, Khor Fakkan, Sharjah (PADI Gold Palm). Tel. +971-9-2-37-02-99. Mobile: +971-50-5-53-16-88. E-mail: diversdown@emirates.net.ae. Website: www.diversdown.ae.

    I had to arrange my own transport to get here. It’s a about a 2 hour drive from Dubai and a taxi will cost about 300-350 Dirhams (and will wait for you for 6-7 hours and drive you back for the same price at no extra charge). I used Faruk (from Bombay) as my taxi driver over four days and was pleased with his courteous, reliable, on time service. His brother drives a limo and took me to Khor Fakkan when Faruk’s taxi was being serviced for the same price. Mobile: Tel. +971-50-7841863.

    This dive center is run by Brits, Americans and South Africans. They are very efficient at responding to e-mails. They run weekend charters to Musandam Penninsula but need a minimum of 5 divers for this. Otherwise they do 3 dives a day at 9:30, 12:30 and 2:30. Cost 250 dirhams for two tanks with gear or 220 dirhams if you have your own gear.

    The dive facility is more spacious than that at Al Aqah but the changing rooms and toilets (shared with resort guest) are not scrupulously cleaned by the Oceanic Hotel as they are at the Al Aqah Meridien and are therefore dirty with sand and water by midday. The staff will keep your valuables in their safe. They have a good selection of rental gear. The boats are really small (no toilet or showers) and there is no room for dry stuff or even seats for everyone or individual dive cubby holes on board. We had 12 people and most had to sit scrunched up on the floor of the boat surrounded by dive gear. However, the boat rides are short (10 minutes) and the staff is very adept at getting everyone’s gear on and in the water quickly. Note, you have to carry your own tanks on and off board. If there is surf, this means a swim with all your gear to the boat and back! The divemaster will help elderly or frail guests. Water and fresh orange slices served on board.

    Due to last minute cancellations I was alone for my first dive (Extra guiding charge 20 Dirhams if you have no buddy). We dove the Inch Cape II wreck—a tender for the oil tankers off Fujeirah. No penetration on this shallow wreck (Imax depth 52 feet). Lots of scorpionfish, nudibranchs, lionfish. Viz was 8-10 metres which the Instructor told me was very good. Lots of sediment in the water. Note that a DM doesn’t guide guests unless you pay extra (20 Dirhams for this). They will assign you a buddy and off you go.

    Headed back to have an hour surface interval, change tanks and pick up more divers. Free coffee and tea but no lunch included in the price of the dive package. Next dive was … that staple of UAE East Coast diving, Martini Rock! It’s on the Fujeirah/Sharjah border. See my description above. The only difference is this time we saw a turtle.

    Bottom line: good operator; friendly, competent staff but boat small & cramped. New divers might not be comfortable not being guided by a DM.

    See Part II for more info. on UAE operators.
  10. Dubai Diver

    Dubai Diver Guest

    Hi Poleinahole.. really good divereport..spot on.. the UAE is not the place to go for a diving holiday, but if a diver is here for other reasons, then you should of course go for a dive as there is stuff to see down there...just dont expect the viz to be fantastic.
    When are you posting part two ? Eager to hear what you think of Musandam. Most local divers rate Musandam as being better than Al Aqah and Khor Fakkan...

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