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Kish Island

Discussion in 'The Gulf' started by iranmarina, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. iranmarina

    iranmarina Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Iran
    1
    0
    1
    Kish Island

    Kish (Persian: کیش‎ (Kīsh) About this soundlisten (help·info)) is a 91.5-square-kilometre (35.3 sq mi) resort island in Bandar Lengeh County, Hormozgān Province off the southern coast of Iran in the Persian Gulf . Owing to its free trade zone status, the island is touted as a consumer's paradise, with numerous malls, shopping centres, tourist attractions, and resort hotels. It has an estimated population of 40,000 residents and about 1 million visitors annually.

    Kish Island is the third most-visited vacation destination in Southwest Asia, after Dubai and Sharm el-Sheikh. Tourists from many—but not all—foreign nations wishing to enter Kish Free Zone from legal ports are not required to obtain any visa prior to travel. For those travelers, upon-arrival travel permits are stamped valid for 14 days by Kish officials.

    Water sports are very crowded in the Kish and are done by tourists and people.


    Kish is a coral Island in the Persian Gulf,
    18 km off the southern coast of Iran.
    It is a 20 minutes flight from Dubai by jet aircraft;
    the island is owned by Iran.
    kish is a free zone so you do not require a visa to enter.
    The water temperature in June is average 30 C.
    With land temperatures reaching around 45 C.
    The island has many coral reef dive sites
    and fantastic visibility.
     
  2. Tom Winters

    Tom Winters Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Boca Raton, FL
    3,490
    338
    83
    That’s the island where Bob Levinson disappeared in 2007.

    “...the island is owned by Iran” pretty much summed it up for me, but hey, don’t let me rain on your parade.
     
  3. DuTemplar

    DuTemplar Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Doha, Qatar
    21
    10
    3
    I do hear good things about the diving and fishing there from GCC locals and do see boat & diving trips from Qatar, Oman, and the UAE advertised.

    Yes, Bob was playing with the Agency and apparently got burned while there and officially disappeared. Now, as an American, I ain't gonna go anywhere near Iranian water. Let alone diving near an island with a "secret" submarine base. Just, well, nope.
     
  4. Will_A

    Will_A Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    9
    17
    3
    I'll be heading off to Iran in about 2 weeks, looking to drive from Tehran to Shiraz, stopping along the way to see the some of the more interesting spots in both ancient and modern history. After that, a short flight and 3 days diving in Kish. I'll be posting a dive report upon my return.
     
  5. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    5,597
    4,253
    113
  6. Will_A

    Will_A Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    9
    17
    3
    I flew into Tehran, drove from Tehran to Shiraz (seeing sights of both modern and ancient Persian history along the way), then took a brief flight to Kish Island. On Kish I did 4 dives. What follows here are a few thoughts and notes on travel in Iran and diving in Kish.

    1) My minder: I arranged my travel though a tour guide approved by the government of Iran to escort tourists from the US and UK. He was tasked with being with me at all times. I was concerned that having a "government minder" with me would be a bit of a drag. This experience turned out to be not at all what I expected.

    2) Safety: US State Department website on Iran shouts in a bright red warning "Threat Level 4: Do Not Travel" and goes on to explain that there is a very high risk of kidnapping, arrest and detention of US Citizens in Iran. However, this does appear to be a bit overstated. You can count the number of Americans held by the government of Iran on two hands with some spare fingers. I suspect the most dangerous parts of my trip were driving (could write an essay on Iranian driving habits) and crossing streets as a pedestrian (which is sort of an exercise in letting go of your fears and trusting your fellow man). That isn't to say that I wasn't concerned. I was careful not to run afoul of the law while in Iran. This meant refusing offers of alcohol, being particularly respectful of women, not speaking ill of the political and religious leadership of the country, and generally being careful as to what could possibly be used as a pretense to detain me. Whether I exercised the right amount of caution, or was under or over-concerned with this matter is something I am unable to accurately judge.

    2) What to see: I am really happy that my trip to Iran started in Tehran and took me through Kashan, Esfahan, Pasargad, Persepolis and Shiraz before I went to Kish. The palaces, museums, mosques, parks, ruins and monuments of Iran's modern and ancient history are beautiful and awe-inspiring. Persepolis is every bit as interesting as the Parthenon but doesn't suffer from overcrowding with tour groups to the same degree. Kish is not as interesting (in my view) as the other places I visited. There are some tourist activities (dune buggies, dolphin swimming, etc), a cool shipwreck by the shore, underground waterways and cisterns and ruins of ancient settlements to see. But after being wowed with the geography and history of Iran for a week, it suffered by comparison.

    3) Diving in Kish: There were high winds and waves on my first day on the island and I was told that all diving (and all on-water activities) had been cancelled by some central authority. I'm not quite sure the politics of this but it did seem to be the case with all dive and tourist operations on the island. The next day I got in a beach dive on a shallow reef on the east side of the island. Most of the dive was at 5 meters or less. There was an abundance of sealife and interesting rock and coral formations. Visibility wasn't great due to the high winds and waves of the previous days - maybe 8m or less, but it was still a very enjoyable leisurely dive. On the following day the original dive group I had been working with called to tell me that there was no diving available because it was again too windy and waves were too high again. This seemed a little suspect because it was a calm and pleasant day. I found out that other groups were diving, so I arranged for dives with them. I went on another dive on the same shallow reef, this time from a boat. The day after this I went on two deeper dives from their boat. The first dive was the wreck of the Dama at about 30m. This is a good sized ship with a lot of sealife around it. Visibility at depth was better than the previous days dives perhaps 15+ meters. I would have liked to have explored more of it but about 15 minutes into the dive, the other diver diving with my guide (there were three of us) had to surface for lack of air. He returned to the surface breathing from the guide's octopus. I was concerned as I've never actually seen someone run out of air before, but neither the diver nor the guide seemed phased by this. We proceeded to do a second dive, searching for a truck that had somehow found its way to the seafloor. Again the same diver signaled that he was running low on air about 15 minutes into the dive. He surfaced the second time without the use of the guide's octopus (but I noted that it was offered, so he must have been quite low on air). The gentleman again didn't seem to think anything was out of the ordinary and he told me he was making a documentary film about the reefs of Iran. I suspect that filming will take some time if he's doing it in 15 minute increments.

    5) Verdict on Kish diving: 4 dives isn't really sufficient for a definitive verdict on Kish, but I'd offer my opinion that Kish is a lovely and interesting place to dive. While there are surely places more beautiful with more amazing zoology and geology there is definitely something to be said about just the mere fact you are diving in Iran... something that few other people in your local dive club can say that they've done. I think a trip from the United States just to dive in Kish, without seeing the rest of Iran, might not be the most effective use of your travel time. There's a lot of things to see on land in Iran. But as part of a larger tour, it's a destination I'd endorse.

    6) Note on the people of Iran: American (and even western) tourists - outside of larger organized tours - are uncommon enough in Iran that I was frequently stopped on the streets and asked where I was from (by curious and friendly folks, not by police) -- the response "America" generally was met with some delight, a warm welcome and an inquiry as to how I was enjoying their country. At times people wanted to take their pictures with me. Groups of schoolchildren wanted to try out their English, each asking me "hello, how are you" in quick succession. On several occasions I was invited to dinner, lunch or tea with people I just met, and only some of those encounters involved trying to get me to purchase a rug. While the relations between our two countries are at a lowpoint, and sanctions were being tightened during my trip due to US pressure on European and Asian companies doing business in Iran, I did not experience any individuals expressing to me anti-American sentiments. I heard "I love America" shouted more times in Iran than I ever have anywhere else on earth, except a drunken 4th of July bash in Central Ohio. I have not met in all my other travels a group of people so curious and friendly towards tourists.
     
    Searcaigh likes this.

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