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Fantastic dives from UAE

Discussion in 'The Gulf' started by Diver Nicholas, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. Diver Nicholas

    Diver Nicholas Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: UK/Australia

    I'll be visiting relatives in Abu Dhabi in mid December until early Jan, and since I'm really keen to keep at it with my diving hobby (last dive end of March 2018) and I'd like to participate in a few days of diving.

    However, time and the cost of travel limits how far I can travel (so sadly no Red sea dives).
    So it'll likely be down to Daymaniyat islands or Musandam (I'm unsure about the logistics of Musandam) in Oman. Or Fujairah UAE.

    So the situation isn't ideal, plus From what I understand visibility tends to be poor in December due to plankton blooms.

    Based on my constraints and preferences what would you recommend? Or is there another option I've not considered?

    What I'm into: I prefer Nature dives over wreck dives, love muck diving, love the big silvery strong fish like Barracudas Trevally, Tuna. And love the freaky ugly looking things like Stone fish, Groupers, Lion fish, Moray eels, Rays, Octopus, Squids, Nudibranchs, Crustaceans, Flat fish, and colorful corals, Gorgonians, nice landscapes and a variety of flora.

    My certification: Padi OWD with SSI Deep

    My experience: 73 Dives mostly in Asia-Pacific region - Soloman Islands: Guadalcanal, Fiji: Viti Levu, Vanuatu: Coolidge wreck, Queensland Australia: GBR and Yongala Wreck, New Caledonia: Lifou, Amédée island, Indonesia: Komodo island, Bunaken, Lembeh, Derawan Islands, French Polynesia: Rangiroa, Fakarava, New Zealand: Poor Knights island, Spain: Ibiza
  2. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    Plenty of muck diving over on the east coast of UAE, but Abu Dhabi isn't exactly close by with a good 3-4 hr drive depending on what time you set out.

    Vis is normally around 5m but you can get lucky.

    Musandam will need planning.

    Damaniyats is always good, but you will need transport etc to get over the border and you don't need to go all the way to Muscat as the Millennium Hotel at Mussanah is a good place to stay and dive from (Oman Sail and Dive).

    Plenty of good diving from Fujairah International Marine Club (Barracuda Divers for some great nudi sites) or further up the coast with Sandy Beach Hotel, Divers Down or Freestyle.

    I'd suggest staying over at one of the beach hotels for the northern dive sites or in Fujairah if diving with Barracuda (they can arrange discounted rates at some hotels), as it's certainly not day trip stuff from Abu Dhabi.

    PM me if you want more details, although I'll be in Sunny Scotland over the festive season.
    Diver Nicholas likes this.
  3. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dubai UAE
    I agree whith Searcraig

    The Musandam is do able, but its a 3 - 3.5 hr drive from AD to the border. You'll need to book in advance with Either Al Marsa Or Sheesa Beach. Both do Sharing dhows, leave Thursday evening return Sat Afternoon, and both charge around AED 1800

    Sheesa for sure, maybe Al Marsa both do daytrips on fast boats too.

    The main sites these two visit are nice enough, and they do cater to all skill levels. Depending on the skill level on the Dhow depends where they go. Further North in the Musandam proper you can get some wicked currents, down currents aren't unsual on some sites.

    The Vis in the Musandam will be better than Fujariah, but not by much, also in Jan the water is cool (22-23) and the air temps are just as low - so it's wetsuit (or drysuit for some of us)
    Diver Nicholas likes this.
  4. Diver Nicholas

    Diver Nicholas Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: UK/Australia
    Thanks, I'd actually seen you two reply on a few threads I had found concerning this subject so thank you for weighing in.

    I agree on spending a few nights there. I'm thinking I'd depart from Dubai Union Square Bus Station and get the E700 bus, or a shared taxi (if I can figure that out) and spend some time there. There's a fort to see and a small museum so that might be interesting, plus it will be nice to see something different from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Thanks for the operator recommendations in Fujairah as well I'm checking them out.

    I know you can get coaches from Dubai to Muscat, but from Dubai to Musandam i'm not sure about. I'm also not sure about the logistics of crossing the border and having the correct visa as i'm not a citizen of the Gulf Cooperation Council, i'm looking into it through. I've seen online that apparently it isn't a problem to enter Dibba Oman from Dibba UAE on a tourist visa.
    However, I want to be sure. I remember when I was in Vietnam crossing into Laos a Swiss person got their visa's confused and had to go all the way back after spending 10 hours on a coach!

    Diving Dubai do you know if those two operators have a price inclusive of transport to and from UAE? Or even if you have done the route yourself what is a cheap way of doing it?

    Yes I was thinking just fly to Muscat and go from there, I remember seeing return flights at an affordable return rate of £100-130, is Oman Sail and Dive the same operator as SEAOMAN?
  5. Oldbear

    Oldbear Teaching Neutral Diving

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Marshall Islands and Westminster, Co
    While it has been quite a few years since I have been diving in UAE. When I did Gordon (Searcaigh) was a great source of information...and a good night drinking Guinness’s :)

    I was traveling to Dubai monthly and Divers Down turned out to be the best fit for me at that time.
    Diver Nicholas and Searcaigh like this.
  6. Jeepster

    Jeepster Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Texas
    Several years ago, I drove from Dubai in a rental car to a small dive operation on the Oman coast near Shark Island. Lots of interesting things to see, but I don't know if that is still an option. I used Al Boom Diving.
  7. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    Yes same operator, they also operate from a port nearer Muscat at the Wave I think.

    Depending on the dates you are planning to dive, there are a few of us in Dubai that frequently drive over on Fridays and occasionally Saturdays too. I have no clue about taking a bus to Fujairah, although I've seen a Dubai bus there on occasion.

    Al Boom do have a minibus that travels from their office near Satwa in Dubai, but although I use them for servicing and fills I never dive with them.
    Diver Nicholas likes this.
  8. diveUAE

    diveUAE Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Abu Dhabi
    Fantastic diving from UAE? Well I guess it depends.... We do have some good dive sites, but I don't know, if I would call the fantastic (but certainly better than Denmark, Turkey or Greece).

    If it was me, I would rent a car and drive myself, but would you be comfortable renting and driving over to Fujairah? Or maybe your relatives will make the trip with you?

    Driving from Abu Dhabi to Dibba is not that bad - we often drive over Friday morning (about 2,5 hours driving) and return in the evening, but there are also ok cheap places or fab expensive places to stay overnight.
    We usually dive with Divers Down. I don't think they have a shuttle as Al Boom seems to have (we did try diving with Al Boom - 3 times: first, last and only), dive sites are good - most have lots of fish, even though it can be long between the "big ones". Free style divers are also good, and from the Fairmont someone is also trying to set up a dive operation: diving by boat, or just right off the pier (we saw 2 big turtles

    I can see you know the options: Khasab/Musandam: for me, only worth the drive, if you can spend minimum 2 nights. (And if you rent a car, make sure you can bring it into Oman)

    Dibba/Musandam: great to do an overnight dhow tour - there are many great dive sites in that part, and you do not need a visa (although you need to send your passport details in advance to be allowed to cross the border), I'm not sure, if you can cross with a rental car, you would have to ask. Speed boat dives from Dibba north are usually also good.

    Muscat/Daymaniyat: We've actually been to Muscat 5 times for diving - only dived Daymaniyat 2 times due to bad weather, it's a very long boat ride out there. If you decide to fly, make sure you have enough surface interval before your flight.

    Hope you find some diving to enjoy:)
    Diver Nicholas likes this.
  9. Attonine

    Attonine Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: UK
    Dibba/Mussandum: if you are staying in Fuj, you can taxi up to the border. Drive takes about an hour, not crazy expensive. The border system is such that on arrival you park up and call the dive centre/hotel and they send a driver to come and collect you/escort you to the hotel/dive centre. If you do taxi, get the driver’s name and number and you can call him when you want to return.

    I only had the chance to dive Dibba/Mussandum once. Can’t remember the name of the dive centre, Seven Seas? Was OK. Liked the diving.

    In general I would suggest you rent a car for the duration of your trip. It’s very cheap to rent in UAE. Forget the bus, the freedom the car will give you will be worth the cost. Make sure you include Oman i. The insurance and follow the advice to dive the Damanyats! The drive to Khassab is great, really enjoyable if you get there.

    Not sure of others opinions on this one; the aquarium in Dubai Mall allows you to dive. 7 species of shark if I remember correctly. I did it in my last week of living in UAE because, well why not? It was a fun dive.
    Diver Nicholas likes this.
  10. RainPilot

    RainPilot CCR Instructor Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: UAE
    We have a good network of divers here, drop me a PM with your dates and I’m sure we can hook up a ride / guide for you.
    Diver Nicholas and Searcaigh like this.

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