Kuwait's Main Dive Sites

5 Mile Reef Kubbar Island Taylor's Rock Mudayarah Reef Qaruh North Marker and Wreck Qaruh Island Maradim Island and N. Marker Donkey Reef Cuttlefish Reef

Donkey Reef

N 28 37.016' E 048 25.652'

The closest reef to Khiran, Donkey Reef is a small circular reef sitting on a sand and coral rubble bottom at a mere 6 metres depth or so. Despite this rather inauspicious description it is home to an abundance of fish and crustaceans. Resident Turtles and Puffer Fish lurk amongst the coral and large shoals of small Barracuda hunt in the shallow waters around the reef. Rays and Flatheads are often seen on the sandy bottom which abounds with Shrimp Goby pairs and the occasional Jawfish.

The coral is mainly Porites Lutea with a large area of impressive Brain Coral growths on the more exposed Eastern side. Although very shallow, for the divers more interested in the underwater life than going deep this is a favourite site that usually has some surprises up its sleeve!

A resident turtle

Yellowfin Barracuda

Maradim Island

N 28 40.529' E 048 29.213'

This is the closest island to Khiran - just 13 nautical miles. Maradim has some very good table corals but there is much evidence of past anchor damage. Now there are permanent mooring buoys which have reduced damage considerably. It is also a popular dive site for Kuwaiti dive operators out of Khiran but their habit of feeding fish on urchins and scallops has altered the behaviour of the fish. A diver will find himself being pestered by gangs of Blue Angels and Moon Wrasse.

Maradim is a much-visited destination. When the conditions are a bit rough it is close enough to reach in reasonable time and, once there, the island will provide some shelter from the waves.

Old Aerial Photograph of Maradim. The area outlined in red is now a harbour for the Coastguard.

Relaxing on the beach at Maradim in the past. This area is now the Coastguard harbour!

N 28 50.235' E 048 45.826'

There is also a small reef around the island's North Marker which is worth diving if just to see the very large anchor that sits on the seabed just off the reef.

'Qaruh Island'

N 28 48.838' E 048 46.622'

Qaruh boasts the best and most diverse coral colonies in Kuwait and is our favourite location for diving. Here you can see Trigger Fish and Surgeon Fish and there are also a few Moray Eels resident here. Being 22 nautical miles from Khiran conditions need to be good to get here.

Gonipora looks like a soft coral but is actually a hard coral with its polyps permanently extended. It is common on both Qaruh and Maradim.

Aerial photograph of Qaruh Island clearly showing its fringing reef

Qaruh North Marker and The Wreck

N 28 50.235' E 048 45.826'

Like Maradim, Qaruh has a separate reef around its North Marker but this is much better. Jacks and Needlefish, Batfish and Barracuda are regular sightings and it can make a wonderful drift dive on a falling spring tide.

N 28 46.691' E 048 45.362 by estimation

About 2 nautical miles South of Qaruh lies a small wreck in 36 metres. This is the only serious wreck dive in Kuwait.

Sketch of the Qaruh Wreck

Coral growth at Qaruh

Mudayarah Reef

N 28 56.300' E 048 46.300'

Quite an extensive offshore reef this is the furthest of all the dive sites from Khiran at 24 nautical miles. The shallowest parts of the reef are around 5 metres and beyond the reef the seabed quickly shelves to 30 metres or more. However coral only grows down to about 15 metres. Its exposed situation can lead to strong currents and conditions need to be very good as the reef itself affords little protection from the weather. Hence it is seldom visited. The fish do not seem to be as numerous as around the islands but individuals tend to be larger.

Taylor's Rock

N 29 01.149' E 048 34.540'

Similar to Mudayarah Reef but not as extensive, Taylor's Rock rises sharply from the seabed at 35 metres. Depth on the top of the reef is about 5 metres. Its exposed position makes it prone to strong currents. Large shoals of Barracuda are often seen here. Again it is exposed and is more often visited by the dive organisations that operate out of Fahaheel.

Kubbar Island

N 29 04.133' E 048 29.888'

There is more vegetation on Kubbar than on either Qaruh or Maradim. It also lacks a coastguard station. It is very popular with pleasure boaters out of Fahaheel and the coral has suffered from anchor damage over the years. We seldom visit Kubbar for diving because, at the same distance from Khiran, Qaruh is so much better!

Aerial view of Kubbar and its surrounding reef

Colourful Nudibranch pictured at Kubbar Island

5 Mile Reef

N 28 59.831' E 048 15.787'

Five Mile Reef lies not far from the coast just South of Fahaheel and is regularly visited by dive operations from there. It boasts Kuwait's second diveable wreck, an old barge lying in 12 metres alongside the reef. This makes Five Mile Reef an interesting dive combining reef and wreck. It is also popular for night dives out of Fahaheel when Sand Sharks are sometimes found sheltering under the hull. Sea Pens can be found at night and one of our members has twice seen an Octpus on a night dive!

N 28 59.918' E 048 15.764'

Tucked into the side of the reef, just below the "triangle" marker, there is a small landing craft. It sits in around 8 metres and is skirted by coral at around 3 metres. There are mooring buoys there.

Cuttlefish Reef

N 28 48.155' E 048 20.401'

It is similar in many ways to Donkey Reef but larger and a little deeper - 8 metres or so. Again, lots of fish life here. It is said that old bottles of whiskey can still be found here from when a boat smuggling whiskey up from Bahrain was cornered by the Coastguard and threw the evidence into the sea. It is said, though, that the contents are undrinkable as the seawater has got in.