By DonaMaria Sfeila
Lebanon lies right in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, and with its wide coastal border, there’s a long list of water activities locals and tourists alike can enjoy. Perhaps one of the most amazing experiences you can get is going diving in the blue waters of the north, south and even the capital Beirut. In a country with a rich cultural heritage and history, you’re bound to uncover some mysteries hidden deep down in the ocean. Ancient ruins and a diverse marine life await you! Grab your equipment from OLX Lebanon and head off for an underwater visit to the following sites:
1- الغواصة الفرنساوية The “Souffleur” – Ras Beirut Area
Back in World War II, a French submarine called “the Souffleur” sank in battle and suffered some damage as it was cut in two. Now located in the sea 12 km south of Ras-Beirut, divers can get to the ship from many different entries although some are tricky. The current, waves and wind are considerable and you can go as deep as 34 to 38 meters. Moreover, divers can spot stingrays, moray eels and plenty of fish. As one of the most famous diving sites in Lebanon, it’s definitely a must-try for the adventurers.
2- AUB Canyon
In the 1960s, this diving spot was called Sharks hole and it was one of the best spots in the country. Fishermen would catch sharks from the deep end of the canyon but sadly they’ve almost completely disappeared now. The walls of the reef are quite steep but if you keep going, you’ll find small caves, fishnets and a very big anchor lying at 43m. The wind and the waves can make the journey a bit less smooth, nonetheless you can dive down to a whopping 300m, maybe even more but you must be a professional. You can even have a night dive and as for marine life you’ll encounter plenty such as: octopus, lobsters (depending on the season), flute fish and Spanish dancers.
3- The Tunnels – Rawche area
Located northwest of Rawche, 100 meters west of the shipwreck “Macedonia ” (another one of Rawche’s many diving spots), are the tunnels. You can get there by boat and it’s pretty easy to find the site. You can dive down to a maximum of 20 meters and the good thing is this site is suitable for all levels. The tunnels are basically made up from a crack in the rocks, they are 7 meters wide and 100 meters long so you feel like you’re passing in between two walls. You’ll probably meet a lot of reef fish as well as moray eels, octopi, and even turtles but beware of the strong currents.
4- The Alice B – Jounieh area
The Alice B shipwreck didn’t exactly sink on its own, the coup was planned in the 80s in order for one of the militias of the civil war to cash in the insurance money claiming it was lost at sea. Nowadays however, it’s a diver’s favorite. It “sank” 1 km north-west of ATCL in Jounieh, and it’s not easy to find it. You should be very experienced and careful if you want to explore this site. You can go down up to 38 Meters and take some great pictures of the ship’s inside. You’ll also be welcomed by a school of tuna, groupers and lobsters too.
5- HMS Victoria – Tripoli area
In order to get to this diving site you have to go all the way to Tripoli. You must be an experienced technical diver to get the most out of this trip and you can go as deep as 146 meters. The marine life is very diverse but what’s more interesting is this ship’s story. Launched in 1887, the HMS Victoria was the flagship in the Mediterranean of Admiral Sir George Tryon. It was sunk in Tripoli in 1893 after a maneuver preceding the anchoring went wrong and the ship collided with another one. Today, HMS Victoria is resting at the bottom in a vertical position with the stern upwards starting at 75 meters. By the way this makes it the world’s only vertical wreck.
6- Cement Wreck – Batroun area
The Cement Freighter Wreck, also known as Captain Michel Boat, was the ship of a Greek sailor sunk near the coast of Batroun, North of Lebanon. The story says that Captain Michel was addicted to alcohol and women. One night in June 1939, they were transporting tons of overweight cement ; and the crew was completely drunk…the sea and waves were too strong, they forgot to close the porthole and sank at a depth of 40 meters. Anyway, 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.
7- The sunken city- Tyre area
Tyre was originally a Phoenician town at the heart of Mediterranean trade with a very important port, in fact it was dubbed the ‘Queen of the Seas’ for its mercantile and seafaring activities. Later under Roman rule, it became one of the first cities to welcome Christianity. Then, under Arab rule it still flourished and its port became an important naval base for the Arab fleet. The arrival of the Crusaders, however, led to the destruction of the city and its prosperity. At about 80m of the shore, ancient ruins, predominantly from the Romans and crusaders, may still be admired underwater. This dive mainly revolves around the ancient harbor where remains of buildings, roads and columns are visible. P.S: prepare to be impressed by the incredible marine life.
There are many more diving spots in the country but we can’t fit them all into one article, so for those who want a full on experience here’s a list of diving clubs you can contact to book your session:
- Narcosis Diving Facility – Dbayeh
- Let’s Dive Academy – Portemilio
- Stingray Divers Lebanon -Bel Azure
- National Institute for Scuba Diving (NISD) – Beirut
- Scuba Nano – Saframarine
- Xtreme Dive Center – Zouk Mosbeh
- Scuba Bubble Diving Club – Sidon
- Dive The Med – Batroun
Before you go running off to uncover the secrets of the Lebanese waters, take a look at what OLX has to offer in the diving section. We’ve got all the equipment you’ll need so that your dip in the deep is fun and safe.
In conclusion, as the father of diving Jacques Yves Cousteau said, “The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish.”
Have fun on your under the sea journey!