|True name||Eel Canyons|
|Depth||15m to 25m+|
|Visibility||Very good (15m+ or limited by topography)|
|Platform||Shore and boat|
|Level||Beginner/Advanced to technical|
|Other names used||Eel Garden, Kirk’s Forest (technical dive site at this location)|
After a descent along the bottom or mooring line to 15m, we’ll swim to the marker and enter Eel Canyons, a series of crevices about 5m deep formed by ancient coral shelves. There are two unique reefs close together here, and while wildlife overlaps each has its own special peculiarities.
Right away, you’ll notice the abundance of eels here – garden eels sometimes make the bottom look like a pincushion, and the canyon walls are home to several species of moray, who seem to do particularly well in this area.
Perhaps that’s because fish life abounds, too – whether you choose to dive above or within the reef’s various channels, you’ll be treated to an amazing show with goatfish, lionfish, fusiliers, and other reef fish present in great numbers (especially in and around the many coral overhangs – bring a flashlight for the best experience).
If you’d like to keep a little shallower on this dive, the table corals atop the canyon (which form and grow upon its walls) are spectacular and you’ll find large, branching black corals intertwined with dozens of other hard & soft corals and sponges.
Tuna and jack school and feed above the reef with stingrays and eagle rays rounding out the population. All this activity means barracuda and other larger predators often make an appearance, though (like all of Aqaba) shark sightings are uncommon.
Let’s head down a little further, though – really get in there. Winding through the open coral passageways, we’ll pass over some seagrass beds between 20-25m, where the carefully-buoyant (and very observant) will encounter a Thorny Seahorse or two.
There’s a lot to see here, enough for several dives, and there’s a great swimthrough in one of the larger coral heads that those with great buoyancy control will love.
But the undeniable crown jewel of Eel Canyons (apart from the lively eel garden, of course) is a pinnacle that’s more densely populated with reef fish than just about any other natural structure in Aqaba.
At its outer edge, around 25m, we see the reef taper down to seagrass and sand as depth increases. We’ll turn around and take a whole new route through Eel Canyons on our way to a safety stop, either on the mooring buoy line or at a few shallow pinnacles a little further inshore.
If we were on a technical dive, though, we may just continue onward to Kirk’s Forest – an black coral forest highly deserving of its name and home to a small (and, to date, unidentified) shipwreck. This area is packed with deep and sometimes interconnected canyons and is recommended for experienced Tec divers as much exploration and mapping remain to be completed here.
Please, choose one of the reefs to see its location on the map, or browse through all the reefs below