is renowned for its water sports in general and diving in particular,
with the Coral Beach nature reserve and the crystal-clear, wave-free
waters in the Red Sea attracting divers from all over the world. At
this, the northernmost tropical coral reef in the world, there are
hundreds of types of coral and some 800 varieties of sea life including
octopi, stingrays, dolphins, barracudas, groupers, sea snakes, turtles,
parrotfish, angelfish, butterfly fish, sea slugs and sometimes whale
sharks. The reserve is a protected area surrounding a 1,200-meter (3937
feet)-long reef. Visitor numbers are restricted and, while divers are
invited to observe life on the coral reef, they are kept far enough away
to keep this delicate ecosystem thriving.
Copyright: Israel Ministry of Tourism/Dafna Tal
shores are packed with diving sites for every level. There are also
dozens of certified diving schools, snorkeling outfits and places for
snorkel and diving equipment hire.
The best-known dive spots
include the Japanese Gardens, close to the Coral World Underwater
Observatory; the Dolphin Reef, where you can dive and swim with
dolphins; and the Caves, 500 meters north of the border with Egypt, with
two underwater passages and hundreds of fish called sweepers.
Japanese Gardens at the Coral Beach Nature Reserve are among the best
protected diving sites in Eilat and extend over an area of 500 meters,
with the option of a deep or a shallow dive. Neptune's Tables, where old
tables of Acropora corals ranging between 15 to 40 meters (in depth
house varieties of fish and other aquatic life), is also a popular
In addition, two wreck sites attract divers. The
Satil, one of the best-known diving spots in Israel, is named after the
45-meter-long Israeli missile ship that was sunk purposely in 1994 to
bring fish and divers to the area. The Yatush wreck, a United States
vessel that was sunk to a depth of 32 meters and also draws a variety of
underwater sea life, is only for experienced divers.
artificial reef is another popular diving site that was built to promote
marine life, take traffic away from the natural reef and offer a place
for divers to train.
With water temperatures around 21 to 25
degrees Celsius (70 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit), little or no currents and
clear waters with an average 20 to 30 meters (65 to 100 feet) of
visibility, there's a reason tourists return time and again.