Scuba diving in Red Sea: Family adventure finds new depths

For years, Jeddah has been a favorite destination for divers. (AN photo by Muhammed Yaheya Ishfaq)
Updated 27 January 2019
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Scuba diving in Red Sea: Family adventure finds new depths

  • Building trust is one point that has been reiterated by many, mothers and daughters, fathers and their children, and the disconnect from the distractions of daily life helps in building the bond

JEDDAH: For years, Jeddah, the bride of the Red Sea, has been a favorite destination for divers looking for a thrill underwater. Exploring the wonders beneath the surface, you are transported from reality to a different world with a positively ethereal feel. It’s a favored pastime for many, and a popular new shared family activity.
Eighteen-year-old pre-med student Joud Al Dabbagh told Arab News that the newfound love for scuba diving is shared by not only herself, but her siblings, too, the youngest being only 12.
“Listening to my cousin tell of his scuba diving excursions two years ago, I was enthralled and within two days my siblings and I signed up,” said Joud.
After completing the first phases of the training and just before experiencing firsthand diving off the coastline, they didn’t know what to expect.
To their surprise, they were immersed into a new world of wonder just a few feet away from the shores of the city.
“I’ve never felt like this before,” said Joud. “I wasn’t fearful but it was surreal as I didn’t realize how the Red Sea had so many gems. I was in awe and in constant amazement. My siblings and I all felt the same way and scuba diving has brought us closer together, we shared something in common that we all enjoyed and that we look forward to every time we head out together.”
To take diving lessons, you’d need to be at least 10 years of age for the most basic course for the “Open Water Diver” certification. Children under 15 will become Junior Open Water Divers and are allowed to dive down to 12 meters.
A large number of scuba diving centers can be found in the city, but divers are always advised to be vigilant and understand the rules by educating themselves before starting scuba diving courses. It is recommended that they understand the repercussions and penalties to avoid any problems.
Thirty-one year-old behavior analyst Shumaila Jaffrey has been diving for three years in Jeddah and her love for scuba diving is shared with her brother.
“Although I don’t dive with family members, I do have a friend who dives with his wife and another whose wife will be joining soon, as well. I find it really cool and I want my parents to come and try it out as well. They have a fear of the water but it would be a good experience for us as a family to bond together,” said Shumaila.
“Naturally, there are no means of communication underwater except through signs. There doesn’t need to be a verbal communication; it’s the silence and pure peacefulness that I’d want my parents to enjoy. It is very relaxing and it’s sharing the experience that builds the bond.”
Building trust is one point that has been reiterated by many, mothers and daughters, fathers and their children, and the disconnect from the distractions of daily life helps in building the bond. Simple, peaceful and a great family activity in the gem of the Red Sea.


FaceOf: Abdulrahman Al-Harbi, governor of KSA’s General Authority for Foreign Trade

Abdulrahman bin Ahmed bin Hamdan Al-Harbi
Updated 40 min 16 sec ago
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FaceOf: Abdulrahman Al-Harbi, governor of KSA’s General Authority for Foreign Trade

Abdulrahman bin Ahmed bin Hamdan Al-Harbi was appointed the governor of the General Authority for Foreign Trade following a royal decree issued on March 23. 

Previously, he had been the deputy minister of foreign trade since 2016. 

He has held many leadership positions in the financial and private banking sector, the most recent of which was serving as the chief executive officer of Emirates NBD KSA. 

Al-Harbi is a member of several boards of directors as well as local and international committees, including the board of directors of the Saudi Export Development Authority and the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises. He is also the chairman of the Investment Committee, and represents the Kingdom on the board of directors of the Islamic Center for Trade Development.

He holds a bachelor of science in management information systems from the business school at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran. 

The General Authority for Foreign Trade aims to enhance the Kingdom’s international commercial and investment activities. It was established to consolidate Saudi Arabia’s position as a region and global trade hub.

One of the key goals of the authority is to ensure smooth access for Saudi non-oil exports in target markets by removing obstacles.