Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jordan Challenge 34: Go Snorkeling in the Red Sea

Despite the brief nature of Leah and Siham's visit, we managed to get in what I like to think of as the Triple Crown of visiting Jordan: Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba.  Aqaba's claim to fame is that it sits on the very small bit of coast that Jordan has, which borders the Red Sea.  This makes Aqaba important commercially as the country's only port, and for tourism as it's only seaside city. But what is most spectacular about Aqaba is what lies beneath in the form of a vibrant coral reef just begging to be explored.

The beaches south of Aqaba are beautiful, and who wouldn't want the occasional camel adding to the scenery?  But the best part is what you can't see: the incredible coral reef just a few meters out from the shore.

Since we only had a day to spend, we headed pretty directly to an area known as South Beach and got fitted out pretty quickly with our snorkeling gear.  Siham wasn't feeling well, so did some sunbathing while Leah and I followed our aptly-nicknamed guide, Shark, through a reef called the Japanese Garden.  It was spectacular! There were corals in all kinds of shapes, sea anemones, starfish, pipefish, jellyfish, and brightly colored tropical fish. 

A dried-up version of the sea urchins we were swimming with.  Our guide, Shark, plucked off a spine and ate it, claiming it was full of minerals.Siham tried one and said it tasted like the ocean.
It really did feel as if I'd been shrunk and was swimming in the most exotic fish tank I'd ever seen. If time allows, I would love to go back and do a "try dive" with oxygen to be able to go deeper.  But for now I'm just grateful to have been able to see this unexpected side of the desert kingdom of Jordan.

Taking in the sun after we did our snorkeling.  I wish there would have been a way to capture the reef in pictures.  The fish were so beautifully colored, and there was a bright purple coral that I wish I could captured on film.

Shark insisted that try on the sea urchin as an accessory back at the dive shop where we rented out equipment.

No comments:

Post a Comment