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Mideast - Eilat, Israel and the Red Sea

Trip Report:

We had the honor of diving with PADI instructor, dive guide and award winning underwater photographer, Noam Kortler. We chose Noam after seeing his winning entry into the 2007 Our World Underwater competion (two golden seahorses making a heart won first place in the macro category). Upon more research, I found that Noam had also placed first in the macro category in the 2006 Our World Underwater Competition, and first place in Under The Blue 2007.

We spent 3 days shore diving in the Eilat Marine Park. Noam showed us numerous fish and creatures on probably the most pristine and diverse reef colony I have ever seen, all in a very small area.

Emperor Angelfish, Red Sea, Eilat, Israel

I have never seen so many fish and coral species in one place - 5 seahorses of 2 species, pipefish, frogfish, lionfish, clownfish, blue spotted rays, squid, octopus, the strange pegasus fish (sea moth) and spiny devilfish, and many other species of fish and sea creatures. We spent 5 of our 9 dives at a single spot - Moses Rock, a coral bommie about 15 ft tall and 30 ft wide in about 30 feet of water. It was a riot of color and teeming with fish.

August in Eilat is hot - around 100 degrees during the day, but it cools off to around 70 at night. The water is a pleasant 78 degrees, which was just about perfect. Eilat is a beautiful, modern resort city with lots to do, excellent restaurants and great shopping. We stayed at the Hilton Queen of Sheba Resort, which I highly recommend, a little pricey but worth it. It is located just a short taxi ride from the Marine Park, and there are other hotels within walking distance.

Due to an error in our itinerary, we ended up canceling our flight back to Tel Aviv from Eilat and hiring a taxi to take us to the airport on Saturday rather than miss a day of diving. We didn't mind, because on the 4-hour drive through the desert we got to see some amazing scenery, including the beautiful and mysterious Dead Sea.

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