Bander from Nomad Arabia Tours asked if we would like to go on private Diving tour with Blue Reef Divers from Durrat Al-Arous. I said “I would love to but I haven’t got a diving licence and my husband needs a refresher course”. I asked if we could come for the trip as spectators .He said “Yes” So we were very lucky to be able to go with Bander in his car to the meeting spot at Al Arouse Resort Marina, which is 50 km north of Jeddah.
We got up at 5.15am packed our bathers and sunscreen…, gulped down a bowl of cereal and half a cup of coffee then caught a taxi to the meeting point we had arranged with Bander. The road was quiet being a Thursday (weekend). There was a lot of roadwork along the way due to the Hajj coming up, many of the roads are being repaired for the +6 million pilgrims that will be coming into the country. Driving along the main road it is a rather sparsely populated area with flat desert ground. As we go further North on the main road, where it is very low lying, tall metal poles with warning alarms have been installed. Jeddah does not usually get rain, however it flooded in 2009 then again in 2011. The sewerage system was not adequate to cope with all the water. A lot of damage was done to buildings and lives were lost. Since then they have upgraded the pipes and sewerage systems. Now they have a warning system in place in case of such an occurrence again. It has not rained since 2011 here.
We arrived at Durrat Al-Arous where we had to give in our Icama’s to the Marine Harbour Admin staff for the duration of our trip.
There was 20 men on board and I was the only women. The Al Arous Resort is beautiful. Many of the Saudi’s and Expats come to stay there in rental properties on the weekends. There are shops and restaurants all around the Corniche. People are free to wear normal clothes because it is within a resort. There is lots of activities such as jet ski’s, speed boats, boat hire and fishing charters. It has a lovely island atmosphere and apparently comes alive after 5 pm when many young ones come from Jeddah to visit.
After a brief introduction to a few of the guys and head count, checking that we had everybody and everything, we were on our way. The weather was perfect for boating. A gentle cool breeze was blowing and the water was flat and calm like a mill pond. The colour of the water was light blue/green and so clear you could see the coral and fish at the bottom.
Russ and I got on the top Deck as all the guys had their diving gear below. Plus I wanted to make sure they had some privacy getting changed into their diving gear. I didn’t want any shocks! (if you know what I mean) Most of the men were Saudi’s, a couple of Indians and some Lebanese. All had shorts or bathers and T shirts. It was strange to see them without their Thobes. Most of them were young men. They were a friendly, happy close knit bunch of guys. The Captain of the boat was the Dive Master. It was a great day out and gave an incite into what Saudi men living in Jeddah do on their days off.