Happy New Year everyone! My first post of 2016 is actually a confession that I was too slow to sort through some pictures and videos from the end of 2015 before the year ended. At the beginning of this past December, I went for a live aboard dive trip (a dive trip where you sleep overnight on the boat) on the Farasan Banks out of Al Lith on the south-west coast of Saudi Arabia. This was a) my first live aboard trip that was not a research trip, and b) the first time that I got to dive on Red Sea coral reefs that were far away from the coastline. Getting to dive far away from land in the calm, clear water off of Saudi was such a treat for a girl who logged most of her dives in the shallow coastal waters of Southern California. With virtually none of the surge or turbidity that I normally see in the Santa Barbara Channel, I got a great view of the towering corals and beautiful reef fish. This week I finally got around to compiling some of the videos that I took on the trip, check out the video in this post for a better picture of what I saw.
While still very pretty, the reefs had a noticeable amount of coral bleaching, and like most of the reefs in Saudi, there were almost no large fishes cruising around. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, over-fishing is a huge problem in Saudi Arabia, and the results are very visible when you go for a dive. With the exception of a few small reef sharks and the school of barracuda in the video, I didn’t see any really large fish.
But between the gorgeous corals and the copious amounts of food provided to us by our really wonderful boat crew, it turned out to be a great first live aboard experience. Hopefully I will be able to get a few more weekend trips in while I am in Saudi.