Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lebanon: a Scuba Diving destination!

Did you know that LEBANON is also a destination for SCUBA DIVING in temperate waters allowing diving year round, in addition for being a winter ski destination with numerous resorts?

Lebanon has many activities to offer to its residents and visiting foreigners such as: trekking, rafting, skiing, sight seeing and hiking, mountain biking, and of course scuba diving.

Dive sites in Lebanon include:

Souffleur Submarine:
This French Vichy government WWII submarine was sunk by the British in 1943. The allied torpedo ripped her hull and left her in two pieces off of Khalde bay on a sandy bottom. The periscope remains at the ready as it was on her fateful day, in addition you will find one of her torpedoes still within its hull and the other faithfully on her side on the sandy bottom. Many types of fish and rays have taken this submarine as a sanctuary.

Alice B (cargo ship):
This is a large cargo ship that sunk under mysterious circumstances during the Lebanese civil war. The wreck is beautifully preserved and is sitting upright. The Alice B starts at 30 meters and bottoms out at 38 meters. A huge hole remains as a reminder of the blast that took out its engine room. Some of the most notable feature of this site is the ships huge mast that extends right up to 18 meters. An array of fish and other marine life have made this ship their home.

The Lesbian:
This is a British freighter facing Beirut port at a depth of 60 meters after being blown by the French Vichy Navy during World War II .

French torpedo supplier sank during world war II. It lies at a depth of 60M with the Torpedos on its deck.

Oil tanker wreck (toro negro):
This is a relatively large oil tanker that ventured within the range of local artillery during the Lebanese civil war. She carried her wounded body close to the shoreline where she sunk her way down to her final sandy resting place. Sitting on her port side she eagerly displays her insides revealing the massive storage areas and the ladders that lead to the depth of her belly. The sandy cradle allows for various wildlife sightings, particularly rays

Military barge wreck:
As the civil war came to a close, all armed factions were supposed to hand over their military gear to the national army. However, and as is often the case in such cases, some preferred to dispose of these equipments in the welcoming ocean rather than the Lebanese army barracks. One of these ocean guests is a WWII military landing craft (barge), which is similar to those used for the D-day landing. She sits in a dreamy pause of sorts her landing door always open as if recapping all of the different wars, men and machines she helped deploy over the years. Only water and wildlife fill her empty holding space, but she does allow you a glimpse into her modest navigation and engine rooms. Always check for the enormous resident stingray usually resting in the passage way of the open landing door.

Batroun wreck:
This cement carrying ship took its captain with her as a penalty for his decision to take her out on a stormy day. The crystal clear waters make for a wonderful and transparent final resting place for this ship. The Batroun wreck is often visible from the surface where she starts peeking out at 35 M. and bottoms out at 40 M giving advanced and technical divers a wonderful look at her.

Aqua Wall:
Having its base at 60 m its head at 5 and spanning over 500 m. the Aqua wall feels like its holding up the shoreline. Its 2 caves and many protruding boulders add to the exotic nature of this beast. This wall is buzzing with an array of fish and other wildlife that use its awesome might for protection these include: jewfish, cornet fish and octopus to name but a few.

Halat Mushroom:
One of the most beautiful natural dive sites in the Halat area. This huge mushroom shaped boulder is flanked by a reef that seemingly extends for ever in both directions. This rocky reef is bustling with a multitude of wildlife forming a complex and diverse ecosystem whose hallmark is the many cracks which define this reef.

(Adra) Stingray Cave:
This one kilometer ledge starts at 30 and drops to about 60 m. Divers begin their journey by visiting the three statues and end their dive at the stingray cave, the home of some resident and very large stingrays. Keep your eyes out however, a variety of fish and turtles often peer out from within this ledge.

AUB wall (Beirut):
This particular site caters to all levels of divers. It starts at about 5 and eases its way down to about 20 where a very steep wall appears to sink into the abyss. Unfortunately visibility is usually at the mercy of the two currents that are always colliding sandwiching Beirut in the middle. This site is occasionally visited.

Shark Point (Beirut):
If you’re interested in sharks this is your spot, particularly August and September when the water is quite warm. The top of this finger like series of reefs starts at 23 m at its shallowest and drops to a little over 60 at its deepest. Shark point features saints statues sunk by divers as homage, a cavern, families of stingrays and best of all small tooth sand tiger sharks which you usually will meet at the fourth reef (shark island)These pregnant females are accustomed to the bubbly critters that visit their summer home, and they almost always come and check you out. Bleeding divers are especially welcome on this dive just kiddin’…

Volcano crater:
One of the most breathtaking dives in the south of the country; this dormant volcano peaks out at 38 and bases itself at 55 meters. Its diameter is 40 m.. we recommend an inclined approach giving you the best site of the inner walls where large fish will look right back at you and the lobsters will scatter. At its bottom large nurse sharks nestle the sand peacefully ending your dive with the gentle rhythm of their gills.

Barbur (Amchit):
Considered to be one of the most exotic dives in the north of the country; Barbur features two tunnels at around 35 meters which leads the divers to a drop of up to 60meters.

Natural Bridge (Amchit):
This is the Lebanese coast’s answer to the Faqra natural bridge. The Mediterranean carved this bridge out using its currents as a chisel; hundreds of years of gentle carving have resulted in this natural engineering miracle. This dive features both the natural bridge and nestled under it is the opening of the tunnel (48 meters).

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