Scuba diving, kayaking, sailing and more ways to have fun in the sun
Time Out Bahrain staff
Board sports Whether you want water skiing, wake boarding or knee boarding (similar to wake boarding but you kneel on the board with a wider strap so it’s a bit easier to get your balance), you’ll pay about the same for each. Al Bandar Hotel & Resort costs BD12 for 15 minutes and BD18 for half an hour. At Art Marine at the Ritz-Carlton Marina it’s BD15 for 15 minutes. Coral Bay charges BD20 for 30 minutes and BD35 for an hour if you already know what you’re doing with an extra BD10 for lessons which can be booked in packages. Apparently most people manage to get upright within the first hour, after that it’s simply a case of staying there. Al Bandar (17 701 201), Art Marine (17 580 636), Coral Bay (17 312 700).
Boat trips/hire From short trips out for a spot of dolphin watching to full days island hopping, swimming, picnicking, fishing or diving Al Bandar, Art Marine, Bahrain Yacht Club and Coral Bay also have a good range of boats for hire for parties from two people upwards. Bahrain Yacht Club (17 700 677).
You can also take leisure trips from Al Dar, the island off the coast of Bahrain, which is reached by boat from Sitra Fisherman’s Port (17 704 600).
Diving Rude not to since we’re surrounded by water and there are so many places offering courses which lead to internationally recognised PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) qualifications.
Short on time and long on the urge to become a certified diver? The PADI Scuba Diver certification might just be for you. This course requires less time than the PADI Open Water Diver course, covering only the first three of five sections of knowledge development, the first three of five pool sessions, and the first two of four open water training dives, resulting in a limited certification. Particularly useful if you expect to go scuba diving primarily in the company of a dive guide or if you have limited time to devote to scuba certification.
Or there’s the PADI open water course, as above with all the extras thrown in.
The PADI scuba course is available at Al Bandar for BD120 and the open water course for BD200. Coral Bay, a PADI-sanctioned five-star gold facility, runs the open water course for BD270.
They also offer kids’ courses and specialisations such as wreck diving and underwater photgraphy.
Scubamaster offers PADI open water courses for BD195 and Dilmun Divers do the BSAC course, which is a different international qualification, from BD105 but you must become a member of the Dilmun Club to take part.
All of them conduct dive trips out into the Gulf where you’re likely to spot an array of the region’s wildlife and various wrecks. And with Coral Bay you can also take part if you just want to snorkel which is a good way to see lots as the waters here are pretty shallow. Scubamaster (17 292 154), Dilmun Divers (38 881 532).
Jet skis Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no getting away from the fact that jet skis are really, really popular here – you only have to look at Floating City in Amwaj, where every other property has one moored. But if you have neither cash nor inclination to own your own, you can still take to the water for a bit of wave riding as there are a couple of places that hire them out with minimal instruction required. Coral Bay charges BD20 for 30 minutes and BD35 per hour, the jet skis can take two people and the price stays the same. At the Marina Club the price is BD15 for 30 minutes and BD30 per hour (17 291 527).
Kite surfing An adrenalin-fuelled sport that’s brilliant to watch but can be tricky to get the hang of. You can spot the surfer dudes off-shore at Amwaj most weekends. If you fancy joining them call Ryan at Skate Shack (17 697 176). Lessons are about BD80 for one-on-one and it usually takes about six to eight hours to get the hang of it but, once you do, there’ll be no stopping you.
Powerboating Another one for the adrenalin junkies, if you love the water but think sailing’s for wimps open up the throttle and feel the engine roar as you skim across the waves. Bahrain Yacht Club offers lessons starting at BD140 for 12 hours over two days for non-members.
Kayaking This is a sport that’s rapidly growing in popularity being suitable for both accompanied kids and adults. It’s also a great way to work the biceps and triceps while getting out in the open air and needs minimal instruction (though please bear in mind our expert’s safety tips).
You can hire a kayak at Art Marine at the Ritz-Carlton for BD3 per hour for a single-seater or BD4 per hour for a two-seater. Coral Bay charges BD5 for 30 minutes for a single-seater or BD7.5 for a two-seater. Novotel also hires kayaks for BD20 per day. (17 298 008).
There is also a surf-ski kayak club at Amwaj Marina, surf-ski’s a racing style of kayak which requires a lot of balance but they are fast once you get it right and the club’s running lessons in May. Call (36 640 272).
Sailing But if the sound of sails tipping off the mast as your vessel cuts through the waves is more your thing then Bahrain Yacht Club offers a range of courses from beginners upwards starting at BD80 for 12 hours over two Fridays. Art Marine also has qualified instructors teaching at BD25 for two hours for groups of two or more or BD35 for two hours private instruction. A 12-hour course works out at BD110 for groups of two or more and BD150 for one-to-one.
Swimming On an island where every summer brings a fresh crop of drowning, we can’t recommend swimming lessons strongly enough. It took us a while to find them but swimming, water safety and survival swimming courses are available at Sheraton Fitness at BD18 for one session or BD90 for 10 sessions for kids and BD140 for adults. Call (17 533 533).
Wind surfing You’ll often spot wind surfers off the coast at both Amwaj and Busaiteen and, though this is another sport that takes a bit of getting used to, it can be almost as exhilarating as kite surfing. Once you’ve learned you’ll probably want to buy your own board, which is not cheap, but it’s something you’ll probably only invest in once. Bahrain Yacht Club has lessons as does Art Marine. Prices as for sailing.
And the rest If you don’t fancy trying out any of the recognised sports you can always take a pedalloe out or ride a donut or a banana boat with many of the water sports centres offering various light-hearted options.
And if scuba diving’s not on your ‘to-do list’ have a go at snorkeling. The Gulf waters are relatively shallow so there’s a good chance you’ll see something interesting.