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by Roger Blum

United Arab Emirates

Fujairah - Diving on the edge of the desert

Off 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 fish wealth. Fujairah offers a varied underwater world and the infrastructure is well geared to explore the exciting dive sites. We would like to introduce three dive sites here.

Dibba Rock Kardinalbarsch Apogon aureus
Dibba Rock
Wiedehopf in Fujairah

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 fish wealth and also so many black tip reef shark patrolls here at 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 colorful nudibranchs and feather stars make the area an optimal area for macro photographers. Wildfishes hang near the overhanging cliffs and crevasses and moray eels stretch their necks towards the diver.

Dibba Rocks

Dibba Rock

A little further south, about halfway between Dibba and Khorfakkan, are dozens of car wrecks on the seabed. Coral populate the chassis and where once the driver and passenger sat, now colorful 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 a 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 had destroyed the dive site considerably in 2007. Only a few coral overgrown 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.

Car Cemetery Fujairah Car Cemetery Fujairah
The Car Cemetry

On the sandy bottom I saw a stingray and in the open water a swarm of barracudas chased. The swarm consisted of several hundred animals. 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 me and 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 should not be very pleasant and so I was glad that the small ship owner soon lost his interest.

Marmormuräne Gymnothorax undulatus
Schwarzspitzenriffhai Carcharhinus melanopterus
Risbecia pulchella
Tauchen Fujairah

If you want to see sharks and turtles, you should go to the Sharm Rocks. Since three peaks protrude a few feet out of the water, the dive site is also called Three Rocks. The place is known for its turtle population, which are regularly found in 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 colors of the rich fish stocks off the coast of Fujairah will bring a satisfied smile to your face every time you dive.

Pterois miles
Pterois miles
Goniobranchus annulatus
Gymnothorax favagineus

I went diving with The Palms Dive Center. The dive center is located in the Radisson Blu Resort. From here are only 5 minutes by boat to the fantastic dive site Dibba Rock. Two excursions are offered daily. The water is usually clearer in the morning. The guides at the base are friendly and the equipment makes a neat impression.

The Palms Dive Center
c/o Radisson Blu Resort
P.O. Box 12590
Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
Tel.: +971 9 244 9700
Fax: +971 9 244 97777
(October 2016)

Text/Pics: Roger Blum

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Read This Text in German:
Die nördlichen Emirate entdecken

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