I last visited Tunisia six years ago, but I never got to go scuba diving there. Actually, I was on a road trip on my motorbike all the way from Gibraltar, touring the country. A few days became free on my work roster at short notice this month, and I decided to use my few days off to book a last minute trip to dive in Tunisia’s waters.
When I looked a few years ago, the only flights I could find to Tunisia was via Paris, but now I had found out from a work colleague that there were a few flights a week departing from Madrid in Spain, not too far away from my home country of Gibraltar. There are flights from Malaga (140km from Gibraltar) to Madrid, but I like road trips, and I decided to drive the 6.5 hours up to Madrid instead. An evening flight of just over two hours, then took me to Tunisia.
Having already visited Tunisia, and researched the best places for diving there, I decided to stay in the more relaxed town of Yasmine Hammamet, about an hour’s drive from the busy and noisy capital of Tunis. I am told by the dive centre the next morning that due to bad weather the past few days, the visibility was very bad and they will not be going out to dive. I instead contacted another dive centre in a small isolated town nearby, they told me they will be going out for some diving, so I book an excursion with them the following day and used my first day in Yasmine Hammamet for some sightseeing and relaxing.
The dive centre is at Cape Bon, in an isolated area where it’s very hard to get public transport to take you, it is also a two hour drive from my hotel. I decide to get a hire car, and using my GPS app on my mobile, I got to the town of Al Huwariyah with no problems. The sea was flat and the sun out, what a beautiful day it was. I arrived at 9AM as requested, and I was invited to a local Tunisian breakfast before the dive. The crew and its clients then departed the dive centre at 10AM, good thing I had a hire car as we had to make our own way to the port where the boat was waiting!
Our first dive is on an underwater ridge, which continues its path from the mountain opposite, it’s an absolutely beautiful underwater landscape. The water was crystal clear and very warm. I was expecting very bad visibility from what I had seen from other divers on YouTube. There was some type of bright green sea grass I had never seen before, it covers most of the rock formations and makes a beautiful garden, contrasting with the bright orange corals and marine life around.
My second dive is on a famous wreck metres away from the port. Here the visibility is average, due to the recent bad weather. The wreck was carrying cement and the sacks of the cargo is still visible today, the wreck is called by locals as the “cementer”! The wreck was explored by members of Jacques Cousteau Crew many years ago.
When we came out from our second dive, the crew had prepared some food for us. A BBQ had been lit and they were cooking some fish that the locals had given to them whilst we were diving. I don’t eat fish so I did not participate in the BBQ.
Overall it was a nice short getaway trip to Tunisia, but I must return to dive the wreck of HMS Manchester which lies off Cape Bon in the deep depths of 80M +. And for anyone travelling to Tunisia with a large camera like mine … be prepare for the long questioning and searching times of the equipment at the airport!