Al Aqah, Fujairah

The East Coast provides some of the best diving available in the U.A.E. Natural coral reefs flourish at coastal dive sites, supporting ample marine life, not only in variety but also numbers. The East Coast dives are completely different to those offered in the rest of the U.A.E. In contrast to the phenomenal wreck dives on the West Coast, the East Coast has diverse coral reefs aplenty, all of which are filled with marine life, from small blennies to black-tip reef sharks. Currents from the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea (Indian Ocean) provide warmer waters and with that comes tropical fish.
Al Boom diving maintains a permanent centre on the east coast at Le Meridien, Al Aqah Beach Resort. The centre is pivotal to the main East Coast sites and is just a 10 minute drive to the local harbour. Al Boom Diving offers a shuttle bus service from the Dubai dive centre on Al Wasl road as well as from the dive centre at the Atlantis The Palm, located in the car park for Aquaventure. The resort is just two hours drive from Dubai and directions are available on the website.
The East Coast Dive Sites
Martini Rock and Shark Island – Often dived as a pair, these sites lie 25 minutes by boat south of Al Aqah, In Khor Fakkan.
One of the best sites in the U.A.E, Martini Rock is a large pinnacle covered in corals. It reaches a depth of 22 metres and rises to 3 metres below the surface. Green Sea Turtles can be seen fairly frequently at Martini Rock where they feed on the coral. The pinnacle is saturated with schools of fusiliers, sergeant majors and bannerfish. The site is a popular area for groups of Niger triggerfish, damselfish and anthias. Colourful hawkfish, Arabian angelfish and timorous cornetfish can be seen regularly at the deeper areas, while moray eels, lionfish and scorpionfish are numerous. Cuttlefish can be seen in pairs while broometail wrasse and parrot fish add a flash of colour. Large starfish, sea urchins and crown of thorns cover the rocks. Coral coverage and diversity is fantastic, with green and purple whip coral, soft pink tree corals, orange and purple teddy bear corals and even some black coral. Black-tip reef sharks, spotted eagle rays and even guitarfish are seen occasionally at Martini Rock.
Shark Island is one of the deeper sites on the East Coast, bottoming out at around 17 metres. Marine life here includes much of the same species as Martini Rock, due to their close proximity to eachother. The west side of the island provides an excellent shallow area for snorkelling. Visibility is regularly very good and the coral life forms are very colourful. Black-tip reef sharks can be seen in these shallows in cooler months as well as turtles and lots of fish life, especially butterfly species. Cow-tail rays have also been seen inhabiting both the deeper and shallower waters around the island.
Inchcape 1 and Inchcape 2 – Dived as a pair for training deep and wreck adventure dives, advanced open water courses and speciality courses, or simply for enjoyment by pleasure divers, both sites were formed by intentional sinking of decommissioned oil rig cargo vessels.
Inchcape 1 remains intact, resting upright on the sea bed at 30 metres depth. After being sunk in December 2001, Inchacape 1 now swarms with sealife year round. Shoals of jack, trevally and yellow snapper hang around the wreck, sometimes making it impossible to see the wreck on descent. Two large honeycomb morays reside on the wreck with smaller individuals hiding in holes, crevices and some of the old tyres. There are a number of porcupinefish, scorpionfish and lionfish around the stern of the boat, all of which reach the larger limits of their species size. Colourful nudibranch species can be seen on the top of the wreck and during the summer months, a seahorse can be occasionally be spotted. Barracuda are also seen, hanging eerily over the bow. This site is suitable for advanced divers only or those with deep adventure dive or specialty training, due to the depth and the strong currents that can occur at the surface.
Inchcape 2 is an artificial wreck similar to Inchcape 1, but the wreck itself is slightly longer and shallower, sitting on the sea-bed at 22 metres. Inchcape 2 sits in fairly close proximity to Martini Wall and because of this, life thrives at the site. Morays, scorpionfish, nudibranchs and boxfish are common. Colourful corals have propagated the ship, looking particularly photogenic over the tyres. Small crabs are well camouflaged. Again, due to the nature and depth of this site, it is only suitable for advanced divers or those with deep adventure dive or specialty training.
Dibba Rock – A marine reserve where fishing and shell collecting is prohibited, Dibba rock provides a variety of different diving conditions. On the west side of the rock, the sea is shallower and is a perfect area to complete open water courses, take specialities such as naturalist or to simply enjoy snorkelling. The corals are truly incredible, definitely some of the best in the U.A.E but the area is still in recovery from damage caused by a red tide in the winter of 2008/2009. Turtles are fairly common here, as are rays and black-tip reef sharks. Small morays can be seen hiding in the coral bed while large porcupinefish and pufferfish hover over the rocks. Parrotfish species feed off the coral beds and groups of schooling bannerfish, damselfish and butterflyfish flit around the rocks and coral beds. Pipefish are not uncommon, although can be difficult to spot and seahorses have been recorded at the site. The east side of the rock drops to around 14 metres in depth and makes for a very interesting pleasure dive. Turtles can be seen resting in crevices in the rock face and lionfish can be seen resting on the sides of rocks, sometimes in groups of up to 5 at a time.
Sharm Rocks – Also known as The Three Sisters or simply Three Pinnacles, Sharm Rocks lies fairly close to shore, just 5 minutes boat ride south of Al Aqah. A set of rocky pinnacles with sandy gullies, the western side is shallower, with typically 3-5 metres depth. The eastern, ocean-side is deeper, with a maximum depth of 12 metres. Black-tip reef sharks frequent the shallower parts and even bowmouth guitarfish have been seen at this site. Turtles can often be seen sleeping on the sand under rocky ledges and the site is home to all the usual suspects you’d expect to see in the Arabian Gulf – porcupinefish, boxfish, moray eels, cuttlefish and other tropical reef species. The shallower section of this site is excellent training dives while the deeper end and intricate gullies offers a more relaxed dive than some other sites for the recreational, pleasure diver.
Thinking of training on the East Coast?
The East Coast can offer some wonderful sites for training, both for entry level divers as well as those wishing to follow further education. For the Adventure Diver, Advanced Open Water or Specialty course students, the east coast can accommodate

  • Deep dives
  • Wreck dives
  • Underwater naturalist
  • Underwater navigation
  • Peak Performance Buoyancy
  • Digital Underwater Photography
And many, many more.
Martini Bay, where Martini Rock originates, is a shallow bay where the water remains clear most of the time, even if visibility further out isn’t so great. With its sandy bottom and shallow waters protected by mountains all around, it is the perfect place to complete open water dives 3 & 4 on the Open Water Diver course or complete a Discover SCUBA Diving experience.
The iconic Snoopy Island is a fantastic site for divers who maybe haven’t dived in a while and wish to refresh skills and practice their buoyancy control in a safe, shallower environment. With depth lying between 4.5-7 metres depending on tide, the coral beds around Snoopy Island provide wonderful conditions for specialities such as Digital Underwater Photography, Underwater Naturalist as well as the AWARE Fish Identification course. Snoopy Island is also a great site to gain your first underwater experience as the site for the open water dive of the Discover SCUBA Diving experience. In addition to the reef fish species common in the Arabian Gulf, small turtles swim around the shallower areas and black-tip reef sharks can sometimes be seen around the sides of the rock.
Snorkelling on the East Coast
Most of the East Coast dive sites are suitable for snorkelers. Some of the best sites for snorkelers are Dibba Rock, with its shallow coral gardens; Martini Rock, over the shallower areas of the pinnacle; Sharm Rocks, towards the shallower areas of the site and around the back of Shark Island. Even on the other sites, snorkelling can still be enjoyed.
Booking your Dives with Al Boom Diving
If you’re ready to take the plunge on the East Coast please call our contact centre on 04 3422 993 or email abdiving@emirates.net and let them know when you want to dive!
Considerations
Before booking your dives with us, please take in to consideration that safe diving and flying procedures stipulate a minimum surface interval of 12 hours after a single dive and 18 hours after multiple dives before flying. This also applies for trips up the Burj Khalifa due to the height at its top.
Al Boom Diving adheres to the PADI recommendation that if Open Water certified divers haven’t dived within 6 months or Advance Open Water divers haven’t dived within 8 months they should complete a SCUBA Tune-up. Al Boom Diving offers SCUBA Tune-ups at our Atlantis dive centre as well as the centre at Le Meridien Al Aqah. Please inform the contact centre at the time of booking if you require a SCUBA Tune-up so a session can be arranged prior to your dive trip.
The dive sites listed are the most popular sites Al Boom Diving runs trips to on the East Coast. Please be aware that other sites may be used depending on weather conditions, boat capacity and diver needs. Diving sites are decided the night before the trips are due to run and may be subject to change on the day, depending on weather and sea conditions.
Contact details:
Bookings: Abdiving@emirates.net.ae or 04-342-2993
Dive centre Contact No: 09-204-4925
Opening hours: 8am – 6pm daily

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