One of my favorite childhood memories is of being aboard one of the many glass bottom boats that are so popular this time of year in Eilat, Israel. Not only did I get a peek into the underwater life below the surface, but also, I had the chance to steer one of these things (I can remember being so nervous that I was going to crash the boat when the captain let me have a go with the steering wheel):
A couple of the most popular companies in Eilat for glass bottom boat tours are Israel Yam (see website here) and the Jules Verne Explorer (see further information here). The latter of the two has not only a glass bottom on its boats, but also, glass walls that are submerged beneath the water, increasing your viewing opportunities while cruising the Red Sea.
Positioned on the tip northern tip of the Red Sea, Eilat is home to one of the most beautiful reef ecosystems in the world. If you don't want to get inside the water, you still have the chance to see the ocean floor by riding one of these famous glass bottom boats of Eilat. The 2-hour boat ride includes the Coral Reef and the Japanese Gardens on the Israeli-Jordanian border as well as a fascinating dolphin watch on the Israeli-Egyptian border near Taba.
Eilat is the desert resort oasis of Israel (the Palm Springs or Las Vegas of Israel) with a sea just as spectacular as its desert surroundings. To get there, you will have to drive for hours, however, as Eilat is the southernmost city in Israel. From Jerusalem, it will take about 3.5 to 4 hours of driving through the vast and empty Negev desert, which is an experience in and of itself. Here's what will greet you upon your arrival:
In the glass bottom boat, you will see an abundance of colorful coral and tropical fish throughout the reef system. The Red Sea is said to have some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world:
If riding on a boat still isn't your thing, but you're eager to see the underwater life, there is still hope yet. Eilat is also home to the famous Underwater Observatory Marine Park Eilat (see their website here), seen in the pictures below via the tall white structure. This observatory actually plunges down right into the ocean floor, allowing visitors to "be underwater" without ever stepping on a boat. Here you might see tropical fish, sea horses, sharks, dolphins, stingrays and sea turtles:
Ready to come visit? I should warn you that the current temperature is above 100 F (or 40 C) and rising as summer continues. Think Arizona in the summertime. I happen to love that kind of weather, but I'm an anomaly I guess. If you've never been, it's definitely worthwhile to experience at least one trip to Eilat and specifically, a trip on a glass bottom boat where you can see spectacular underwater reef systems come to life from the comfort of a dry interior.
If you're quick, you can still snatch some recent coupons for Eilat glass bottom boat touring. Please see details at the following link: http://anglodeals.co.il/
Be careful out there and make sure to wear lots of sunscreen! If you make it there, have a blast cruising the Red Sea. I sure hope it makes its way into my itinerary!