Desert Sea Divers sounds like a name from a sci-fi adventure movie. A clever title that puts together terms that are unlikely to make sense. How can there be a sea in the desert or how can one dive for fish in the middle of a sand dune? Well, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this title pertains to a group of real individuals who actually dive in the desert; in the Red Sea off the coast of Jeddah to be more specific.
Jeddah is often referred to as the ‘Bride of the Red Sea’ since it is located along the coast. This is what makes this Saudi Arabian city special and a cut above the rest. Apart from the nightly balmy breeze, the Red Sea provides swimming opportunities for locals in a number of inviting beaches and diving opportunities for foreign enthusiasts in several dive sites located a few minutes off the coast of Jeddah.
The most popular dive site is Chicken Wreck. With visibility ranging to a spectacular 40 meters, Chicken Wreck is drawing in a number of tourists and international divers, since diving is not quite as popular among the locals. The site is named Chicken Wreck after the tons of frozen chicken that got buried under the sea when a cargo ship sunk after hitting the reef.
There are over 50 more dive sites and the best ones are more than an hour away from the shore. Jeddah’s underwater beauty rivals that of the more popular dive sites off the coast of Egypt. Diving in Egypt is more popular than Jeddah diving for now; perhaps mainly for the fact that Egypt is more widely known as a tourist destination, while Saudi Arabia’s international image is more as an oil-rich Muslim kingdom. The underwater attractions and marine life, however, are practically indistinguishable.
Also, there are not many diving operators in Jeddah just yet. The first, oldest and one of the largest is Desert Sea Divers. This well-known diving outfit boasts of its instructors, fleet, services, and equipments.
The dive instructors have been trained and licensed by leading dive agencies in Europe and the United States. Desert Sea Divers is an international group of divers, dive shops and resorts. It is composed of more than 130,000 dive professionals around the world representing about 5,800 shops and resorts.
Visiting divers are whisked into the middle of the Red Sea on board one of the company’s five custom-designed boats. These boats include a spacious cabin cruiser for eight passengers and ideal for family tours, a twin engine dive boat that doubles as a rescue boat and water jet boats that can carry 22 divers at a time.
Desert Sea Divers headquarters is ranked as a PADI 5-star dive center showcasing the most modern and hi-tech dive equipments. It also keeps a computerized inventory to make sure that the color, size and style of each equipment match that of the diver. Available are more than 300 diving cylinders with pressure up to 4,500 psi, some with Nitrox-enriched air. Each cylinder and dive gear had met U.S. standards.