“Wreck”reational Diving in Aqaba
The Jordanian port city of Aqaba is a playground for the Middle East’s rich and famous. Aqaba features luxurious resorts, beautiful beaches, a great night life and posh marinas. However, if you’re a scuba diver what excites you the most about Aqaba is the world class wreck diving just off the coast!
Wreck Diving In Aqaba
The Jordanian Royal Family have long held a passion for scuba diving and have created the majority of the wreck dives intentionally. In 1985 King Abdullah ordered the scuttling of the cedar pride vessel. It is now one of the top dive sites in Aqaba. In 2020, a complete underwater military museum was put in place. Most of these purposefully scuttled wrecks have been placed in locations which are easy to access, and available to divers of all levels.
The variety of wrecks that you will see in while scuba diving in Aqaba is truly impressive. Not only will you find sunken boats, you can also dive tanks, planes, helicopters, military jeeps, and much more!
Lets look at some of the most famous wrecks of Aqaba.
Cedar Pride, as mentioned previously, is a purpose sunk vessel, ordered by King Abdullah in 1985. It was a Spanish built cargo vessel which was built in 1964. In 1982 it was anchored in the port of Aqaba when a fire blast ripped a hole in the vessel. The ship remained in the port, half afloat for quite some time, until King Abdullah took an interest, and decided to have it scuttled. The Cedar Pride was cleaned of oil and other chemicals, and eventually sunk on November 16, 1985.
The ship is now laying on it’s side and offers entry into two large cargo holds. In the 37 years since its sinking, the Cedar Pride has had significant coral growth. There are decent size schools of fish which can be seen roaming the wreck.
The depth of the wreck varies between 12m/40 feet and 26m/85 feet, which make it possible for even recreational divers to enjoy.
In 1999 an M42 Duster, an anti-aircraft tank, was scuttled to become another wreck dive on Aqaba’s beautiful coastline. It lays in just 6m/20ft of water on a sandy bottom. Over the 23 years since its sinking, The Tank, has begun growing some hard corals and has become a great habitat for some smaller fish. The tank is only about 6m/20ft in length, which makes it quite small and quick to explore. It’s shallow depth and proximity to another wreck site, make it a perfect spot to explore while completing your safety stop after diving the C130 Hercules Wreck.
The Hercules C130
The Hercules C-130 was scuttled in November of 2017 with much fanfare. This 30m/100ft long aircraft sits in 13m/40ft of water and is accessible by divers of all certification levels. The wreck is actually located only 50 meters or so from shore, so is accessible via a shore dive or aboard a boat.
Lockheed Tristar 1011
The Lockheed Tristar was added to the family of wrecks in Aqaba in August of 2019. This is a much larger aircraft which required the royal family and army to work together in the process. This huge aircraft now sits on sandy bottom and is only accessible by boat. The shallowest part of the wreck sits at 13m/45ft. Any level diver is free to explore the outside of the airplane. To enter the aircraft you must be certified to do so. The back of the plane sits in 28m/95ft of water and offers an exit for the wreck divers.
The World’s Only Underwater Military Museum
Aqaba is home to the worlds first and so far only military museum. In 2019 the process was started where 19 military vehicles were scuttled and placed on the sea floor. There are various tanks, anti-aircraft guns, transports and helicopters. The site is accessible by both shore and by boat. The local officials took great care when choosing the location to make sure that no natural reefs were impacted by the formation of the underwater museum and also ensured all harmful oils and chemicals were removed. The dive sites range from 13m/40ft to 28m/94ft in depth. There are two AH cobra attack helicopters lying at the 28m depth which for many is the highlight of the museum. These sites are accessible by both shore divers and boat divers.
Aqaba is A Wreck Divers Dream
With the wide range of wrecks which have been purposefully placed in areas which are accessible to non-tech divers, Aqaba is truly a dream destination for recreational divers who are interested in seeing various types of wrecks in supreme diving conditions.