Since moving to the west coast of Saudi Arabia about 2 years ago, I have been lucky enough to scuba dive in some really amazing coral reefs in the Red Sea. For someone who learned how to dive in the Pacific Ocean off of California, having access to beautiful reef building corals in toasty Saudi waters was very different from donning a 7mm-thick wetsuit and hood to shiver through the green kelp forests that grow off the coast of my home town (see my native vs. Saudi diving outfits below for comparison.)
So as you can imagine, excited/not-cold Aislinn was very keen to take excessive numbers of GoPro videos during her dives in this lovely new environment. I mainly dive in Jeddah and Al Lith, which are in the central and southern parts of the Red Sea (map below).
In Jeddah, which has been a major port city for many years, you can find some really cool shipwrecks that have been colonized by corals, fishes, algae, and all kinds of marine life. Here is a video of one dive I went on, where we found a cavity in the ship full of tiny fish!
Going down south to Al Lith, which has an amazing reef system called the Farasan Banks, I was able to see some beautiful corals, many of which withstood the major global bleaching event of 2015 better than other parts of the world (and the southern Red Sea, for that matter.) Corals in the Red Sea are famous for being resistant to heat stress, but more on that later 🙂 . Here’s a video of a live-aboard trip I took last year, where I spent 2 days living on a boat, eating cake, and diving with friends from my university. Not a bad way to spend a weekend!
And last but certainly not least, WHALE SHARKS!!!! Al Lith is also an area where juvenile whale sharks aggregate for a few months every year, and I went down there to swim with the biggest fish in the sea for the first time in my life. And keep in mind, these ones are kiddie whale sharks, so my next life goal is to swim with the big adults that aggregate in other parts of the world.
These are a few videos of the diving that I get to do in the Red Sea, I hope that you can look past the shaky amateur GoPro footage and enjoy the lovely environment. I realize how lucky I am as a foreigner to dive in this part of the world, since as of now Saudi does not offer tourist visas. This may change in the future, but for now my student visa allows me to be amongst the limited group of people who can travel to this splendid side of the Red Sea. So while I have this privilege, I will keep documenting my time in these warm (sometimes too warm) waters, and there will be more Red Sea diving videos to come. 🙂