It’s Summer Time!!! Prepare Yourself for Scuba Diving in Lebanon

Posted by: Ibrahim K. Msallam

Scuba Diving in Lebanon 

Lebanon has many activities to offer to its residents and tourists, such as: trekking, rafting, skiing, sightseeing and hiking, mountain biking, and of course one of our special summer activity “Scuba Diving”.

Did you know that Lebanon is also a destination for Scuba Diving in water temperate that allow diving all year round? Well, let’s discover the most exciting diving sites in Lebanon.

1- Shark Point (Beirut) – AUB tower: 

Interested in diving next to the sharks!!! All you have to do is visiting this spot between the months of April and September, when the water is quite warm. The top of this finger like series of reefs starts at 23 meters at its shallowest and drops to a little over 60 meters at its deepest. Knowing that divers should be minimum “Advanced Open Water” or CMAS divers, which means that this site is suitable for experienced advanced divers.

Small-tooth Sand tiger Shark

Shark Point

From spectacular drop off (400 meter down), facing the AUB tower about 200 meters from the shore: this point is called Shark Hall, the under water scuba divers call this place: ‘‘Shark Point”. Small-Tooth Sand Tiger Shark and the Gray Nurse Sharks are observed in summer time every year from July to October following some mysterious migrating patterns, small-tooth sand tiger sharks (a harmless species related to the grey nurse shark) gather in the area.

Shark point area consists of 5 reefs, where the 1st reef to the other towards the North is sand beds in between  making the passages look like huge corridors. At the  3rd reef Lebanese Saint Statue sunk by divers as homage, a cavern, families of stingrays, moray eels, Eagle rays, groupers and Octupus can be observed there. Crossing to the 4th Reef, comes the site of a vertical  wall, with a rugged profile full of fissures, inlets and crevices to explore. While the owner of this site the “Small-Tooth Sand Tiger Sharks” and the “Gray Nurse Sharks” are observed at the 5th reef, (shark island). These pregnant females are accustomed to the bubbly critters that visit their summer home, and they always come and check you out. Bleeding divers are most welcome at this diving site – just kidding!!! But divers are advised to never touch sharks, remember all sharks are inoffensive unless provoked, what divers have to do is to stay calm and enjoy watching the sharks.

Access: By boat

Currents: Strong wind, waves and currents all  possible

Marine Life: Various

Visibility: Underwater visibility averages between 10 and 25 meters. Could be affected by currents and plankton.

What do you know about Small-Tooth Sand-Tiger Sharks?

Smalltooth Sandtiger

Small-Tooth Sand Tiger Shark

greynurse1

Grey Nurse Shark

Small-Tooth Sand Tiger Shark is found in the  Mediterranean, the east Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific (Madagascar, South Africa,  Australia, Japan, Hawaii and California), and its scientific name is Odontaspis Ferox (Risso, 1810). Other common names for this shark are: Raggedtooth shark, Herbst’s Nurse Shark, Requin Féroce (in French), and Solrayo (in Spanish). It usually lives in deep waters or near the sea bed, between 15 and 420 meters  deep. This shark has a robust body and a long, conical snout, it has two dorsal fins: the second dorsal, pelvic and anal fins large, and its eyes are moderate large. Its tail is heterocertal, but with a  developed bottom lobe. The teeth consisting of large with long, narrow cusps and with two or more pairs of lateral cusplets on each tooth. The coloring is medium grey to brown dorsally and paler to white on the belly, and sometimes dark spots scattered on body. Small-teeth shark are ovoviviparous, little known of reproduction but could exhibit. The size of this shark at birth is over 105 cm, while a mature female sizes over 350 cm, and a mature male sizes 275 cm and above. Small-tooth tiger shark known to feed on small bony fish, squid and shrimp, and thus this shark has never been accused of attacking people.

2- Shark Point (Beirut) – Sporting club : 

It is located about 1.5 km offshore of the Sea Rock (Raouche) and the sporting club of Beirut.

It is composed also of  5 reefs (Sharks Reef)  next to each other, ranging from a depth of 25 to 35 meters, with drop off from 40 to 50 meters. Divers should be minimum “Advanced Open Water” divers. A good level of experience is required.

The site is washed by Southern currents bringing abundant marine life (including sand-tiger sharks), and constantly renewing its waters. Those currents could be strong and hence one could made drift dives. Marine life is best between April and September. You will notice 3 statues are raised on 3 different reefs (Virgin Mary, St. Charbel & Jesus), which makes it an amazing dive site. Underwater visibility averages between 10 and 25 meters. Could be affected by currents and plankton.

Location: 1.5 km offshore of Raouche – Beirut

Depth: 25 – 35 meters

Diver Level: minimum “Advanced Open Water”

Visibility: 10 – 25 meters

Sea Rock (Raouche)

Sea Rock (Raouche)

Jesus

St. Charbel

St. Charbel

Virgin Mary

3- AUB Wall /AUB CANYON (Beirut): 

It was called “Sharks Hole” by fishermen during the 60s and the 70s as sharks were encountered and captured (fishermen used to catch sharks from the deep end of the canyon). Nowadays sharks doesn’t exist on this spot.

AUB Wall diving site is also known as AUB Canyon, the location of this particular site is facing American University of Beirut Beach , caters to all levels of divers. It starts at a depth of 25 meters and drop to more  than 300 meters, 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, and for good visibility it is advised to visit this site can be visited from October till June, and it is excellent spot for night diving when visibility is good.  AUB Wall is full of small caves and you can observe a huge old anchor laying at 43 meters. All marine life out of the rocks feeding found at this spot including Flute Fish, Sting Rays, ,Spanish Dancers, Jelly Fish concentration in July and August, making the site  hazardous quality of marine life, diverse; Moray eels, Octopus and Groupers, Lobsters in  April, and even at 60m in the darkest areas Spiny Butterfly Rays (Aka Carpet Rays) are always at the AUB Wall.

AUB Canyon

Divers might find this area a magnificent and extremely interesting  site, while they should have good diving experience and a dive leader familiar with that site would be an advantage for a great experience. In addition to your diving equipment, having a dive light will make your dives on that site much more interesting.

Access: By car to reach the shore entry from AUB beach or from Cornish, then by boat you can reach this diving site. This site is rocky bottom but easy entry. Some wind and waves possible, sea urchins on entry are observed so watch out!!

Depth of dives: Rocky bottom starts at 5 meters, drop-offs  down to more than 300 meters

Level: This site is suitable for all standards of  divers, beginners to technical but more preferably if divers have good diving experience

Some of the various marine life observed at AUB Wall diving site:

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Sea Urchin

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Octopus

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Spiny Butterfly Rays – Aka Carpet Rays

92....

Moray eel

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Grouper

8

Two Banded Sea Bream/Double Bar Bream Fish

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Madeira Rockfish

95...

Lobsters

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Sting Ray

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Sea Turtle

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Spanish Dancer

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Hypselodoris Ghiselini Nudibranch – Sea Slug

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Puffer Fish

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Flute Fish/Trumpet/Pipe Fish

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Jelly Fish

Tell us what you think about this post, your comments and feedback are highly appreciated. Wait for our next posts for diving sites, where you can enjoy diving in Lebanon.

Posted by: Ibrahim K. Msallam
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