Best places to scuba dive in the UAE

Time Out Dubai tells you about the best places to scuba dive in the UAE, with information and prices for PADI scuba diver course

Olympic sports to try in Dubai

If you’ve never tried scuba diving, there’s no better time than summer. Temperatures may be be creeping up the 40s, but the sea is typically at least 10°C cooler. This summer, Al Boom Diving is offering Time Out Dubai readers a special two-for-one deal on scuba- and open water-certified diving courses when you present this page. Pay for one, and your future dive buddy goes free.

To get you in the mood, the renowned diving school’s course director, Mohammed Helmy, shares his top underwater spots.

Dibba Rock
With depths varying from four metres to 16, depending on the tide, Helmy describes this site as “perfect for snorkellers, as well as open water divers”. Named after the village of Dibba, it’s a 20-minute boat ride from Al Boom’s Al Aqah branch in Fujairah. Sightings of turtles are said to be almost guaranteed, while divers are more likely to see black tip reef sharks here than anywhere else.

Zainab Wreck
A thrilling deep wreck site around 45 minutes from the Palm Jumeirah by boat, strictly for advanced open water divers and above. “Here, you’ll see fish of the Arabian Gulf, including barracudas, bannerfish, stonefish, scorpionfish, yellow snappers, batfish and small oysters.”

Martini Rock
So named for its shape, this famous rocky structure off the coast of Fujairah looks like an upside down glass, with depths of between ten and 23 metres. Perfect for a night dive, prepare to spot sleeping turtles and feeding rays. If supremely lucky, you may also spot the occasional leopard shark or guitar shark.

Sharm Rocks
Ideal for open water divers, Sharm Rocks, near Snoopy Island, offers depths of up to 14 metres, and some of the largest parrotfish, boxfish and broomtailed wrasse in the area – all of which are visible to snorkellers, too. Rays and turtles are also frequently spotted among the site’s shoals of fish.

Inchcape

Around ten minutes by boat from Al Aqah, Inchcape reaches depths of up to 30 metres and with a wreck that’s ideal for exploration by advanced open water divers, expect to see honeycomb eels, stingrays, yellow snappers, pufferfish and stonefish. “You may also be lucky enough to see the rare mola mola fish, also know as the sunfish.”

PADI scuba diver course from Dhs1,750 per person. Various locations including Sofitel Dubai The Palm, www.alboomdiving.com.

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