With the world’s coral reefs under more pressure than ever, could land-based diving pools help protect them? Sarah Reid plunges in to learn more.

My ears equalize with a succession of whistling squeaks as I sink deeper into the ultramarine abyss. It reminds me a bit of diving Belize’s iconic Great Blue Hole, a vast limestone sinkhole patrolled by unnervingly large (but ultimately uninterested) reef sharks.

But here it feels more like I’m descending into a vertical tunnel drilled through the guts of an apartment tower that has been filled with fresh water. Which isn’t a huge stretch from the truth.

Opened in 2021, Deep Dive Dubai is the world’s deepest and largest diving pool. Housed in a surprisingly elegant oyster-shaped complex—a nod to the UAE’s pearl diving history—the 60-meter-deep (196 foot) pool is just as ‘extra’ as you might expect of one of the newest attractions in a city built on superlatives.