Interesting facts about diving and last news from us.
We have a new place in Aqaba where a large number of military vehicles are being scuttled, there are currently seven guns and tanks down there and there will be several more scuttled in the coming week.
Some have negatively commented that this is just a way to dump unused vehicles. Personally I cannot think of a better place for unused military vehicles, they can never be used in anger again and will provide a fantastic marine habitat for fish and corals. Also of interest to many divers who will bring tourism income to the area. Think of the two most recognised dive havens in the world, warm water Truk Lagoon, cold water Scapa Flow – both full of scuttled military ships.
OK this is small pieces, but I this way offers a variety of different habitats for fish competing for space. The location is all important. First priority is to not damage existing habitat.
This site has been chosen well. There is an important eel grass bed in the shallow areas sloping down to 15m. Then there is a flat sand area slowly sloping to 24m where solid coral reef starts. It is this flat sand area that the military vehicles are being carefully placed.
From past experience when they scuttled an M42 Anti aircraft gun, back in 1999 in the sand are of a site further south. The first thing is that small fish fry start to use as shelter from predators. Then predators like parrot fish, eels, frogfish etc start to make their homes there. Then after a while soft corals will start to grow, these then also give home to feather start and other creatures. Very slowly hard corals will follow adding to the habitat and marine diversity to be found.
The human experience is also positive, as divers come to investigate the new attractions, under the auspices of licensed dive centres with responsible guides, primarily lots of selfie type shots, these get posted on social media and thus further promote the site. The positive side of this is that as the site becomes popular with divers. It automatically starts to become clear of plastic and other trash as most divers will pick up the offending articles. The most dived sites become the cleanest as regards to plastic and trash. Also sneaking illegal fishing ceases as the offenders are more likely to be reported. So, all in all, very positive for the environment in several ways.
When complete there will be 19 pieces of military equipment scuttled at this site being a big draw for divers and marine life in a place where very few people ever dived. The site is also sheltered from the prevailing northerly winds. It has a very easy shore entrance, sloping sand down to 5m before the ell grass bed starts. I assume there will be permanent boat moorings also put in place to cater for the many dive boats now operating in Aqaba.
Heads up! There will also in August be a Lockheed Tristar aircraft scuttled at a site near the old port which will provide another new exciting place to dive and give habitat to a plethora of marine life. Watch this space.