All That You Need to Know About Places to Dive in Eilat
There are so many interesting places for divers nearly all year round throughout the tiny country of Israel. The weather is always favorable–the hot Mediterranean summer is just replaced by a warm Mediterranean winter. The best place for diving in Israel, though, is definitely the resort town of Eilat on the Red Sea at the country’s southernmost tip. The Red Sea is the warmest sea in the world with a water temperature of about 27°C in the summer and 18-19°C in the winter.
Coral Beach and the Japanese Gardens
You can start exploring there with a dive near Coral Beach, which stretches a kilometer and a half from the famous Underwater Observatory to Pipson Beach. The area features 2,500 species of various marine plants and animals along with 270 species of coral. It’s worth visiting the Japanese Gardens, one of the largest and most protected diving sites in Eilat that features 500 meters of coral running parallel to the beach at a depth of six meters or more. The stunning colors of the reef and the life it contains will lure you out to a depth of 16 meters. Bold and experienced divers can venture out further along the underwater sand wall and dive to about 45 meters. While there may not be as many fish there, the coral is still diverse and colorful.
Diving Towards History
If you’ve had your fill of looking at the coral, then you can go see the remains of the Satil, a wrecked missile boat originally called the Sufa that was built in 1969 in Cherbourg, France for the Israeli Navy. It is one of the five missile boats that the Israelis had to commandeer because France had refused to deliver them after Israel had already paid for them. In 1994, the Israeli Navy decommissioned the boat and submerged it in the Red Sea for divers to visit. The vessel’s bow can be found at a depth of 18 meters and the stern at 21 meters. Algae, mollusks, and coral have grown on the boat over the years, and diving to it is an interesting and exciting meeting with history for both beginners and experienced divers. Two monuments have been installed on the Satil—one to a soldier killed in Lebanon and the other to a diving instructor murdered in a terror attack in Netanya.
Beyond the Satil, you’ll find an area called Paradise. This is a diving excursion for experienced divers who are skilled at using a compass for orientation under water. Paradise begins at a depth of 23-25 ??meters and goes out to sea for another 60 meters. There is a lot of coral of different colors, which inspired the name. Between the coral, you can find some empty spaces called amphitheaters.
Attending the University
In addition, you can visit the University, which is a dive site located near the area set aside for experiments conducted by the Eilat branch of Hebrew University. At a depth of 14-17 meters, you will be able to observe plenty of tuna and to have a look at marine experiments, such as artificially-grown coral gardens and coral incubators (5-6 meters deep) as well as experimental soft-coral nets that are inhabited by a variety of reef fish.
The Underwater Mosquito
Behind the University at a depth of 30 meters is the Yatush (“mosquito”), an Israeli Navy patrol boat that was sunk in the 1980s. The boat’s stern is 24-26 meters deep and the bow is 30-32 meters deep (depending on the tide). The boat lies on a sandy slope, overgrown with algae and clusters of coral with its bow pointing east. On your way there, you can expect to encounter moray eels, wrasses, and parrot fish.