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Bahrain is Arabic for "two seas", referring to the fresh water springs that can be found within the salty sea surrounding it. This phenomenon is believed to be responsible for the unusual lustre of Bahraini pearls, the country's main economy before the discovery of oil. Bahraini natural pearls are considered the finest in the world.
History shows that pearl diving was occurring in Bahrain as far back as 5000 years. Over 400 sq miles of oyster beds flourish in the warm, shallow waters of Bahrain, offering a very unusual diving experience.
Other than reef diving, Bahrain offers a variety of wreck dives, including ships, planes, tugs and barges. Indo Pacific species including clown fish, trigger fish, surgeon fish, turtles, rays, lion fish, grouper, snapper, crayfish and even whalesharks; while tuna, mackerel, trevally and barracuda cruise above.
The sea bottom composition in Bahrain is primarily sand, with extensive rock formations. There is an average underwater visibility of 5 metres (15 feet) inshore and up to 25 metres (80 feet) on the more distant offshore reefs.
The Lonely Planet describes Bahrain as "an excellent introduction to the Persian Gulf" because of its authentic Arab heritage and reputation as relatively liberal and modern.