Dive into the adventure of the dark, blue world, flying across the undersea. Discover and witness the untouched parts of the Earth where life scatters and floats around you. The extreme sport which helps relinquish the need for experiencing and exploring the peaceful state of the world in solitude is SCUBA Diving.
SCUBA which stands for ‘Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus’, is a cylinder containing compressed air, that helps with breathing while diving underwater. Deepwater Scuba diving will provide you with an opportunity to uncover a whole new world of marine life and some of the best scenic beauty the sub-aquatic territory has to offer. It has evolved into a non-competitive, but exciting adventure sport over the years.
India provides diverse, unexplored and exotic diving locations. Scuba Diving has become quite popular in India with plenty of training facilities and accommodates unique diving sites with a wide range of flora and fauna along with coral reefs and major attractions.
“Beyond the fact of being on holiday in the sunshine, diving in the warm water and observing colourful tropical marine life, the real pleasure of scuba diving is the fantastic sensation of flying over the submarine landscape and feeling completely weightless!”.
Course & Experience
You can experience scuba diving throughout the year in India except for the monsoon months (June to September), this is due to interdiction of disturbing fishes during their reproduction. The water is also not very clear and looks murky.
The best period to Scuba dive in India is from December to April where you can enjoy a variety of fishes and corals in the clear water.
With a vast coastline and two major groups of islands, India gives the opportunity to dive in different places with different seabed, having varied flora and fauna. It also turns out to be ideal for scuba divers of all levels.
Here are some of the main spots where you can practice Scuba Diving:
ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLAND
Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the archipelagos in the Bay of Bengal and is one of the seven union territories of India. The government of Andaman and Nicobar islands generates a major part of its revenue from tourism and adventure sports. Scuba Diving here is better experienced from November to April.
It is a large diving spot open for all the divers, but is well noted for night diving (PADI/SSI certified divers only). This dive spot has 6-18 meters depth and one can find aquatic animals such as Humpback Parrot fish, Manta rays, Octopus, Lobsters and Lionfish along with both hard and soft corals.
- Mac Point-
Dive enthusiasts are driven to this spot to see Dugong, the Serian tusked mammal which is usually found in Australia and Eastern Africa. This spot is also famous for hard corals.
- Barracuda City-
This is the spot where you can meet the turtles! This place is mostly explored by intermediate and expert divers with a depth of 25-30 meters. Here, one can find magnificent turtles, coral reefs, Blue-spotted Stingrays, coral fish, surgeonfish and a range of other fishes.
- Seduction Point-
This spot has ample of unexplored marine life and proves to be a haven for experienced divers as it provides with the opportunity to seek and discover. In this place, one can spot Napoleon fishes and Staghorn corals.
- Margherita’s Mischief-
It is perfect for open water divers with clear and less deep waters. One can find a wide variety of fish such as soldierfish, yellow snappers, pufferfish, angelfish, batfish, dugongs and blue spotted stingray.
- K Rock-
It is easy to dive here due to calm currents and it has a volcanic seabed with variant depths spread out, making it suitable for all levels of divers. This volcanic rock is a habitat for snappers, sweetlips, soldierfish and butterflyfish.
- Bus Stop-
There is a small plateau in the western part of this dive spot leading to an inclination in its sandy terrain, this provides for deeper dive. The eastern part is rather shallow and consists of fringing reefs with garden eels, blue-spotted stingrays and lionfish. This dive spot has a depth ranging from 14-20 metres.
This dive spot is ideal for intermediate to advanced divers and has strong currents, which are ultimately not suitable for beginners. Here, one can spot soft corals, lionfish, Marlin and even reef sharks.
In the capital city of Andaman and Nicobar Islands you can practice scuba diving mostly at The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park in:
In this part of the national park one can awe at the beauty of colourful sea flowers and numerous kinds of corals, such as Fungia, Pocillopora, Acropora and Leptoseris. One can also find whitetip shark, parrot shark, clownfish and angelfish among other diverse marine species.
- Jolly Buoy-
This a rather isolated spot with beautiful marine life waiting to be explored. Jolly Buoy island has clear turquoise waters and fascinatingly colourful underwater life.
North Point, Cinque Island
Water on this island provides a visibility range of up to 80 feet. It is considered among the clearest waters in the world. The seabed here is full of diverse fish species, an abundance of sponges and small corals.
A diver can explore up to 4.5 km sq. area. Bala reef has a variety of hard and soft corals and is the perfect place for training open water divers.
By hearing the word Goa, if you only picture partying then you need to change your mind. Goa is home to many adventure sports, one of them being scuba diving. Scuba diving is very popular in Goa and one can have fun with underwater fish here and may also get to see corals during the right season. Diving is best experienced from October to May.
- Ummagumma Reef-
It is a 14-meter dive spot known for its unique underwater attributes with numerous marine species and hard corals.
- Shelter Cove-
It is ideal for open water training. It has a depth of 8 metres, which makes it suitable for beginners. Here, one can find squid and cuttlefish among other varieties of fish.
- Davy Jones’s Locker-
This dive spot has a depth of 18 metres with the shipwreck of a cargo ship called Gloria resting at its bottom. Among the wreckage, one can find colorful corals, Tuna, Jacks, Barracuda, Bannerfish and even turtles.
- The Jetty-
This spot has a 6- 8 metres dive depth. Corals, Lionfish, Shrimp Gobies, baby mullet and other varied range of fish can be found here.
- The Wreck of Suzy’s-
There are world war 2 metal ruins in the shallow water of this dive spot, with a depth ranging from 3-12 meters. Here, the aquatic creatures are quite diverse and this diversity decorates the marine life in a beautiful way.
The dive sites at Puducherry are exotic but unpopular and over the years, there has been substantial growth in diving activities here. The visibility in the water is up to 5-20 meters and the best time for diving in Puducherry is from January to June. It is suitable for beginners and advanced scuba divers, with diverse sea creatures such as manta rays, whale sharks, jack fish along with natural coral reefs and man-made ridges.
The waters here are unexplored and there are a few diving spots which must be visited:
- Cool Shark Reef-
This is a deep dive spot with a depth of up to 24 metres and as the name suggests this is a location where one can easily find sharks among other diverse marine species.
- Temple Reef-
This is the most well-known spot for diving in Pondicherry with a large variety of species to explore. It has a depth of 5-18 metres, suitable for beginners. One can find a variety of groupers, snappers, lionfish, batfish, shrimps, barracudas, eels, gobies among many others.
- 4 Corners-
This 18 metres deep reef area is best for open water divers or beginners and beautiful marine species such as dolphins, lionfish, torpedoes, butterflyfish, etc.
- The Hole-
This is a deep dive spot for advanced divers and people seeking adventure. The depth of this site starts from 30 metres and the main part of this dive is the deep and dark hole that extends under the rock shelves at the bottom.
This is a flat deep site with a maximum depth of 35 metres. One can find several fan corals among other species such as Groupers, Snappers, Barracudas, Sea bream, Jacks, Trevallies and Sea snakes.
Kovalam, situated in Kerala provides clear waters which are now, slowly gaining the attention of scuba divers. This emerging sport in Kovalam can be best experienced in the months of December and January. One can find shoals of anchovy and silver moony, Bluefin trevally, the odd Moray eel, pufferfish, groupers, boxfish, sergeants, pipefish among other marine species this spot has to offer.
Murudeshwar is a town in Bhatkal Taluk in the state of Karnataka, India. This town has the world’s second-largest Shiva statue. The statue is located on the Murudeshwar beach and looks so magnificent as if it is located between the ocean.
Murudeshwar/Netrani Island is one of the best places in India for scuba diving. Here the coral is so beautiful that you will fall in love with marine life. The diving season in Murudeshwar is October to May. The depth of water is 6 to 40 meters and the visibility ranges between 15 to 30 meters. One can find species such as Turtles, Napoleon Wrasse, Great Barracudas, Cobia, Whitetip sharks, Blacktip sharks, Stingrays and Stonefish.
The archipelago of Lakshadweep consists of about thirty-nine islands, these islands lie approximately 200 to 400 km away from the southwestern coast of India in the Laccadive sea.
Lakshadweep islands have a major island which is known for scuba diving
- Minicoy Island-
Here one can dive at depths of 35 to 40 metres. This spot has 3 shipwrecks along with marine animals such as Sharks, Bull rays, Turtles, School of Jacks, Red Snappers, Black Snappers, Napoleon wrasse, Barracudas, Sweetlips, Humpback parrot fish and Giant sweet lips.
- Kadmat Island-
Clear blue waters of this island has abundant marine life with 20-50 metres of visibility. Lionfish, Lobsters, Tuna, Sharks, Shoaling Jacks, Fusiliers, Sweetlips, Groupers, Manta Rays, Eels and Turtles are some of the water creatures one can find her with colourfully magnificent soft corals.
- Kavaratti Island-
This island with calm blue water is ideal for open water divers and beginners. Turtles, Soft Coral Sharks, Rays and other tropical fish are some of the well known marine life. Other species in accordance with the dive spot in this island are:
- Harbour Mouth- Giant Sea Fans, Giant Triveli, Gorgonias.
- Zing Zing Par- Big Sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays, Barracuda.
- Governors Reef- Attractive coloured Soft Corals.
- Windmill Point- Grey Reef Sharks, Spotted Rays, Batfish, Groupers.
Sports & Events
Earlier the swimmers used hollow reeds to breathe air while going underwater. Persian divers then invented the basic eye goggles out of thinly sliced and polished tortoise shells. By the 16th century, divers could go underwater with more than one breath of air using wooden barrels as diving bells and in 1771, John Smeaton, a British engineer invented the air pump with a hose connecting it with the diving barrel allowing the air to be pumped to the diver. In 1772, Sieur Freinet invented the first self-contained air device which helped recycle the exhaled air in the barrel (rebreather).
The modern and improved diving suit was co-invented by Emile Gagnan and Jacques Cousteau and by 1942 a team invented a demand regulator which would automatically provide the diver with fresh air.
Scuba divers today, have one or more gas tanks strapped to their backs, connected to an air hose and the demand regulator. A demand Regulator helps control the airflow, evening the air pressure of the water and the diver’s lungs allowing them to dive deeper.
Scuba Diving is not a sport made for competition, it is a leisure extreme sport that gives you the opportunity to perceive the seabed and all the fauna and flora that the marine world can offer along with being the tool of work for scientists.
However, a set of individual and group competitive events known as Sport Diving are organised including Scuba diving techniques, skills, abilities and equipment. These events are conducted in a swimming pool and the competitors are judged on the basis of their recreational scuba diving techniques.
Sylvia Earle, holding a record for solo diving at 3280 ft, Eugenie Clark who is also known as the Shark Lady, Dick Rutkowski who popularised the use of nitrox among sport divers, Stephen Frink and Krov Menuhin are some of the inspiring divers who dwelled deeper in this sport of discovery and exploration.
Competitions and Festivals
It’s a recreational sport and there aren’t any competitions per se.
Well, the state government, to promote coastal tourism, organize diving festivals.
Last year the Karnataka Government. organized a two-day Scuba Diving festival in the Paradise Island of Netrani, Karnataka. Freediving, snorkeling, underwater hockey and a lot of other activities were hosted here
Well, the state government, to promote coastal tourism, organize diving festivals.
- Do not dive within 24 hours of landing off an aircraft.
- Pop a pill if you are prone to seasickness or even car sickness and aren’t comfortably puking it all out in a bag.
- Just before the dive, pause, check around and remember the safety briefings and underwater signals to avert from scuba diving dangers.
- Take deep and slow breathes this helps in reducing the consumption of oxygen.
- Never try to hold your breath.
- Move slowly in the water, look around.
- Communicate with the instructor or your partner.
- Post dive stay warm and hydrated.
- Practice and practice unless you can stretch your own limits.
- Practice swimming and yoga a few months before your dive, to increase your comfort and confidence underwater.
Also known as a Scuba tank, is an important equipment that is strapped on the diver’s back. It helps store and transport compressed air or specialised gas mixtures like Nitrox that is required by the divers to breathe underwater, under different pressures. They are mostly made of steel or aluminum.
This is the equipment that helps the diver breathe air from a scuba tank. It converts high pressured, compressed air in the cylinder into a comfortable pressure for the diver to breathe whilst diving underwater.
They are used to help the divers see underwater. A comfortable and high-quality dive mask helps one properly visualise the marine beauty and have a great experience after all, scuba diving is about exploring and discovering the undersea.
They are D-Rings which are placed on the waist belt, shoulder straps, and crotch straps in order to attach the scuba tank, demand valves, pressure gauges, light heads and additional equipment.
Wetsuit, Gloves and Fins
Wetsuit– Wetsuit help protect one’s skin and keep them warm. They are made of neoprene rubber that locks in a thin layer of water alongside the skin, acting as padding. The thickness of the wetsuit depends on how cold the water is.
Scuba Gloves– They act just like the wetsuit, it helps keep the diver’s hand protected and warm. They are made of durable and tough materials that help prevent ruptures while diving.
Fins– This equipment is used by the diver to control their movement and navigate through water with speed and ease. There are different types of scuba fins such as open heel, full foot, blade and split fins.
Depth Gauge, Submersible Pressure Gauge and Compass
Depth Gauge– Records and gives input on the current and maximum depth the diver reaches while diving.
Submersible Pressure Gauge– Displays the amount of gas left in the Scuba Tank.
Compass– Helps a diver navigate while traversing underwater and not getting lost. This equipment especially plays a huge role in low visibility dive spots.
In Scuba Diving, all the above-mentioned equipment would be provided by the scuba diving school and are supposed to be bought only by experienced, advanced level and regularly practicing Scuba Divers.