After months of diving with 7mm thick neoprene in California, I was in for a pleasant surprise on my first SCUBA dive in Saudi Arabia. A group of us KAUST summer students headed down to Obhur, an area north of Jeddah, to meet with some other KAUST students/staff for some shore diving off one of the small beach resorts there. This was the first time that I was able to see the corals up close and personal on SCUBA, and after hearing everyone else that I talked to moan about how mediocre the reef and diving conditiond were that day, I realized how spoiled I could get if I stayed here any longer.
Just like with our snorkeling trip, there were essentially no large fish on the otherwise healthy reefs, evidence of the intense fishing pressure that the Saudi coastline is under. After a trip to the Jeddah fish market (a huge daily fish market in the city south of this dive site), where everything from huge barracudas to groupers to sharks are on display for consumption, you can see why the only thing that you see around these corals are small reef fish.
Otherwise, the reefs are beautiful and full of color, here are a few shots of my first deeper glimpses of the Red Sea.