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Scuba Diving in the United Arab Emirates
Dive Site: Martini Rock
Location: 25°20'05"N; 56°22'53"E (Al Fujayrah, Indian Ocean side of the United Arab Emirates)
Description: Large rock formation close to shore
Depth: 10 - 22 metres (30 - 72 feet)
Visibility: 5 - 15 metres (15 - 50 feet)
Beautiful dive with lovely rich orange soft coral everywhere and some deep purple and bright yellow soft coral as well. Every other metre you see something interesting, starting with cuttlefish on the sand, nudibranchs, lionfish, scorpionfish, puffer and burrfish, snappers, broomtail wrasse, and geometric and yellow-margined morays. You can dive round the rock, which is supposed to be like a martini glass on its side, starting off at about 12 metres, moving to 20 and then going back to shallower again. On the first dive we saw a turtle as well. Wonderful for photography, even though visibility isn't brilliant. Water was 26 degrees in early April when we were there. We dived with Al Boom diving based at the Meridien Al Aqah Hotel.
Anna Wright, PADI Advanced Open Water
This dive site is located about 40mins south from the Merdian Fujaryrah. Martini Rock is a small reef, allegedly so called due to the shape of the submerged rock formation. The rock has several sandy gullies and is covered in fantastic orange and purple teddybear coral, as well as large starfish and urchins. This is a popular location on the east coast and the variety of life here does not disappoint. Snapper, fusiliers and mackerel team around the rock avoiding barracuda and tuna, whilst the top five metres are teaming with anthias and sergeant majors. Other life includes seahorses, shrimps, turtles, moray eels, angel and parrotfish, triggerfish and clownfish.
What did disappoint me during this dive were the Filipino guides' attitudes towards the marine life, prodding and poking at everything. As a result I would have rather dived with a different centre.
Jenny Pickles, BSAC Dive Leader
We went to Martini rock for our first dive from Al Aqah dive centre in Fujayrah. Trip takes about 25 minutes by boat, and is a submerged rock with depths reaching 21m. Agree with other comments, plenty of marine life including the most lionfish and scorpionfish we have ever seen! We had a very nice day diving here and everything was very professional. Would dive there again.
Having dived in temperatures no warmer than 16° it was nice to dive in 29° with very little weight. There was very distinct thermoclines. The reef struck me as a bit bland compared to New Zealand reefs. The fish life was great especially the clownfish which a really in your face when they feel you are in their space. The viz was only average & very greenish murky. We dropped down the anchor line to see a Turtle by the concrete weight & saw lionfish, cuttlefish & moray eels plus a tapered spotted fish that reminded me of Casper the Ghost. All in all a good dive and my buddy found a complete set of gear less the diver which was duly claimed by a local who had lost it the day before.
So far Martini Rock is the best dive site I've been to.
This site was my first dive on the UAE's east cost. I dived during late March of 2006 and the water temperature was a nice 23 degrees. The marine life is quite abundant as previous comments showed. However, a few things caught my attention:
1- The water was greenish rather than blue. Not nice.
2- We encountered a bloom of red spotted invertebrates, which was so dense they actually reduced visibility.
3- Visibility was limited to 7 metres. Well below the average 15 metres for the area. The weather had been rough the previous week and we were told that was the reason.
4- The corals were quite interesting. The colours were quite different from what I was used to seeing. Oddly, one half of the rock was covered by deep violet corals while the other half was covered by neon yellow corals. Really sweet!
All in all, it was a nice dive, but nothing spectacular. The publicity the east cost had received seems a bit exaggerated. I wouldn't do it again on a one week vacation, especially that the trip from Dubai to Fujeira had me up since 5am...
Dr. Maher Ahdab
I did dive at Martini in April 2008 and it was good. I did it with Seven Seas Diving Center and the instuctor was south african with rich knowledge about the place, I really enjoyed the dive. Rich marine life and warm water.
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