Israel diving recommendations - mid September 2012
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Israel diving recommendations - mid September 2012
We are planning to attend a Sept 2012 family wedding in Israel. Tentative schedule allows up to 2 days prior and 2 days after the wedding for diving. Family lives near Zichron Yaakov, wedding will take place outside of Jerusalem.
My last diving experience in Israel was during the spring; Eilat was very nice, visibility in the Med near Caesarea was terrible - less than 10 feet. Reading some of related threads, it appears that the Med should be more accommodating in Sept, but we would be willing to make the drive to Eilat if necessary to assure a positive experience.
We would be grateful for specific recommendations on locations, dive shops, etc.
There's a very good dive site not far from Zichon called Dor beach. There's a dive outfitter there named Atan Ma'haram who gives serivces in that area. There's a very nice dive site called Hof Habonim which is just north of Dor. I haven't dived there yet but word has it is very good and pristine to divers.Check it out. Atan;s phone number 052-5162795. Don't be so critical about diving in Med. it maybe not as nice as Eilat but it still has a lot to see. There are more outfitters further north Hiafa and Nahariya and Ach ziv. You can go into the web site of the Israeli Diving Federation and get all the names and telephone numbers of all the clubs in all of Israel. I suggest Nahariya and Ach ziv.
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There are many dive operations along the Med coast. Last year I did some nice dives out of Nahariya.
The thing about Eilat vs the Med is that the Med has her moods. Its hard to know well in advance what the vis and surface conditions will be. I have had a number of Med dives cancelled either by the boat operator or me because of conditions. But on a good day, there are many wrecks and other nice sites. On the other hand, Eilat is almost always divable, and coral reefs with tropical fish and the odd eel and octopus are always pleasant.
It is true that all Israeli operations require both diving insurance and a "refresher" if you can't show a log entry with a dive within the last 6 months. However, you should be able to take care of both through the dive shop that you are diving out of. Discuss it in advance with them.
In my limited experience any diving in the Mediterranean will be pretty lousy in comparison to Eilat. I did my AOW course off of Herzliya and was very disappointed in both the conditions and the dive shop. I'm not trying to be overly negative here, just be aware that the med is nothing special in terms of conditions or visibility.
BTW, if you're going as far south as Eilat you might as well go a little further & go to Dahab. It's a pity Egypt has become so unstable recently.
I can only talk about Eilat. I dive at Deep\Siam, located at Hof Almog. It's on the beach side of the road, so just suit up, walk into the water and dive. There are several possible dives from this club, from a Navy fast attack boat at 30 meters to the "home reef", to an artificial reef, an eel garden, Moses' Rock and Joshua Rock. Both sport and technical diving, nice beach, friendly people, and good restaurant\snack bar round out the picture.
On the other hand, cross the street and you have Manta Dive Club, associated with the Isrotel chain, and connected to the Yam Suf Hotel. High class and high price.
A bit to the North is Marina Divers, also a fine dive club, and located at the site of one of the premiere dives in Eilat: The Satil Missile Boat at 24 meters.
There are other clubs, and lots more possible dives. One is restricted and only accessible by boat and only guided:
"The Japanese Gardens". It's actually two dives: deep and shallow. All the dive clubs run guided dives there; it should not be missed. I have to go now, but feel free to contact me if you have questions.
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OK. I'm back. Just to be clear: there are two sunken boats at 30 M or less:
1. Satil Missile boat 90 deg azimuth from Marina Divers at 24 meters or so. Behind and to the north of the boat is a beautiful area known as "Paradise".
2. "Yatush" Fast Attack Boat - 2nd buoy across from AquaSport (just north of Deep Siam) at 30 M.
Other great dives:
The University- start at Lighthouse Beach, dive to 15-18 meters, swim north, come back at 6 meters.
The Caves- Shallow dive through a tunnel at 2-3 meters across from the SNUBA beach (south of Lighthouse Beach)
Princess Hotel- further south still: two piers.
Dekel Beach- dive at whatever depth above a canyon at 50 meters.
But by far the best are the two Japanese Gardens dives. Reserve in advance, with a dive club. You may not and cannot do these two alone unguided. Good luck.