This summer, I found myself in the city of Aqaba in Jordan, enjoying some travels while copi.jpgng with temperatures in the mid to high 40s. For someone who lives in Sweden, these temperatures are a real shock to the system, and it actually struck 49 celsius one day we were there.
Not wanting to stray very far from the shade and a swimming pool, my hotel manager invited me to go snorkelling. Snorkelling? Here? In the desert? You can snorkel in Jordan?
I was dumbfounded.
Little did I know that Aqaba, a coastal city that peers into Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, was home to some remarkable coral reefs and fish life. From someone who’s snorkelled on multiple continents, allow me to repeat; remarkable! The town in fact has positioned itself as a scuba diving and beach resort, is home to over 20 popular diving sites, and is becoming a popular destination travellers from across Jordan, the Middle East, and Europe.
The Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea is home to a variety of coral reefs; many of which begin close to shore, so they are accessible to snorkelers and divers alike. A variety of marine life and sunken treasures await, including a Russian tank and the Shipwreck Cider Pride, a Lebanese freighter that was intentionally sunk in the mid 80’s. Perhaps most interestingly is the startling contrast between the varying shades of desert brown surroundings, and the kaleidoscope of colors that exist beneath the sea's surface.
Such undersea beauty, in a desert region of our globe, is one of life’s little oddities that I am thrilled to have discovered.