2. An Underwater Strip Club
A decade ago, when photographer and marine biologist Gil Koplovitz first dived the reefs off Eilat, Israel, his aim was to study sea squirts. He often found himself swimming within view of diners at the underwater eatery known then as the Red Star Underwater Restaurant, Bar and Observatory.
“At the time, a bunch of people from my research lab would moonlight getting hired to hold up ‘Will you marry me?’ signs while scuba diving outside the restaurant,” Koplovitz recalls. “These guys all thought they were very original, but a lot of people did that.”
The restaurant closed briefly, then reopened as the Nymphas Show Bar, an underwater strip club — most likely ending its run as a common site for marriage proposals. It’s unclear how long the underwater site was used for more lecherous activities while fish swam about and corals were rehabilitated outside, but Koplovitz says the joint was accessed via a 200-foot-long staircase from land.
The site has since been abandoned, with nothing but the metallic floor-to-ceiling poles left behind.
Meanwhile, visitations on the other side of the plexiglass windows are on the rise; researchers keep returning to tend to the coral nursery they have established among the quiet reef.
“Israel has just 10 or so miles of coastline [on the Red Sea], and Israel’s most exciting reefs are to the south, so most people go there,” says Koplovitz.
Perhaps the lack of fin, er, foot traffic comes as bad news for business owners trying to make a go in this unique location, but the corals seem OK with the lack of disruption.
Says Koplovitz, “I’ve always liked this reef, and since the club closed, it’s never been healthier.”