The Mediterranean Sea was formed around 5.3 million years ago by the violent movements of the Eurasian and African tectonic plates that gave way to the Mediterranean’s dramatic, topographic landscapes across the seabed. Lebanon’s western coastline, rocky to the north and sandy to the south, stretches 140 miles/225km along the Levantine Basin, a ‘sub-region’ of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Lebanon’s three classified climates are dominated by the Eastern Mediterranean coastal climate, being dry-summer subtropical (Csa). The coastal areas of Lebanon therefore enjoy very mild winters averaging 13C and hot, muggy summers that can be tempered by cool, sea breezes. Rain occurs mainly during the winter months, whereas the summertime, between April and September remains generally dry, reaching highs of 28-29C/82-84F throughout July and August.
Whilst offering year-round diving, Lebanon experiences seasonal water temperature changes with November to April dropping to a cool 15C/59F whilst May through to October the water averages a much warmer 30C/86F. Divers may also encounter rougher seas during the months of October through April, however better visibility is often present during the wintertime due to cooler water temperatures meaning there are less plankton and algae blooms.
Due to a history of prolonged war including Civil War, involvement in the Second World War and additional crises and conflicts throughout the 20th Century, the bottom of the Lebanese Mediterranean Sea is now liberally scattered with both military and commercial vessels including freighters, small ships, submarines, and of course the renowned and remarkable wreck of the HMS Victoria. Flagship of the British Mediterranean fleet during World War I, HMS Victoria is the only recorded shipwreck in the world that continues to rest vertically stern to bow in the water column.
As well as an abundance of wrecks to choose from, the Lebanese coast also presents a fascinating range of underwater attractions including seagrass meadows, shallow vermetid reefs and deep marine canyons. In addition, the natural phenomenon of fresh water springs make for some interesting exploration along the coastline at depths of up to 40m/131ft.
Lebanon’s reefs are characterised by a rich variety of sponges and soft corals, providing a thriving environment for a fantastic display of native Mediterranean marine life and visiting species from the neighbouring Red Sea. Over eight species of whales and dolphins have been sighted and recorded in Lebanese waters as well as loggerhead and green turtles.