Kempinski Hotel Ajman Building,
PO Box 3025
Ajman, United Arab Emirates
Dive Schools Join Forces to Break Depth Record and Spotlight Aqaba as Haven for Technical Diving.
Months of preparation paid off on Friday, July 29, when the 166.point6 Dive Team set a new record for depth in Jordanian waters by diving to 167 meters. The previous record stood at 144 meters. The dive team was led by Mark Ellyatt, the world record holder for depth, and Rod Abbotson of Dive Aqaba, with support from technical divers, including George Ionita, Thaer Juqman, Duncan Baillie, and Jake Link.
The divers descent took three and a quarter hours, and passed without incident, thanks to comprehensive training and the invaluable experience and advice of Mark Ellyatt.
Mark commented how impressed he was with the way in which the team came together, focused on the goal, and adhered to all safety regulations. “It’s all about planning and preparation,” he said.
According to Jake Link, one of the deep safety divers, the expedition went so smoothly, “We all gave each other high fives under the water!”
The 166point6 Dive Team comprises of key representatives of Jordan's diving industry, international dive industry specialists, and former Australian, British and American servicemen working in Jordan. They hope to encourage the sport of scuba diving, especially technical diving, in Jordan and the region. They also hope to draw international attention to Aqaba, as a prime venue for first-class recreational diving and to boost regional and international awareness of the importance of the protection of the coastline and coral reef environment.
William Sawalha, of Sea Star Watersports, one of the main sponsors of the record breaking event, expressed his delight at the project’s success. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to highlight the beauty of Aqaba’s underwater riches, and the amazing topography which lends itself to technical diving.”
Rod Abottson, of Dive Aqaba, a partner in the venture added that he hoped that Aqaba’s dive centres would see an increase in the number of technical divers as a result of the team’s hard work.”
To support the preservation of Aqaba's fragile marine environment, the 166point6 Dive Team auctioned off a Breitling dive watch, generously donated by Jaffar Jewelry, the proceeds of which will go to support the work of the Royal Marine Conservation Society (JREDS) in Aqaba as well as Project AWARE. The auction took place following the dive at a reception hosted by the Kempinski, Aqaba in the hotel's Black Pearl Lounge to congratulate the divers and to thank the numerous Jordanian and international sponsors of the dive.
Marc Guenther, General Manager of the Kempinski, Aqaba said that he was delighted to support the 166.6 Dive Team because they were highlighting “the beauty of Aqaba’s marine life and the potential to increase the technical diving industry which is positive news for all local businesses.”
Numerous Jordanian and international businesses, community institutions and individuals have made the dive possible through generous sponsorship, including: the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, the Aqaba Development Corporation, Kempinski Aqaba, Sea Star Water Sports, Dive Aqaba, Aramex, ViaGlobal, Royal Jordanian and PLAY 99.6 FM.
On the eve of the dive, Aqaba Development Corporation CEO Mohammad Turk wished the divers good luck.
"These divers have found a unique way to show case our beautiful city to the world, and the ADC is very pleased to support this unusual and fun event," said Turk. "On behalf of everyone at the ADC, I wish the divers the best of luck and look forward to congratulating them on a new record and for what will certainly be a personal accomplishment for each of them."