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Scuba Diving In Andaman
Diving In Andaman
An archipelago of more than 500 islands, The Andaman & Nicobar Islands are perhaps among the most exotic and remote destinations on the planet. While a part of India, this group of islands is geographically closer to Thailand, and boasts some of the best beaches in Asia. There is always a mysterious air associated with Andaman owing to its esoteric culture, aboriginal tribes, mangrove creeks, cool blue waters and legends from mythology that claim that this is the land of Hanuman. For adventure and water sports enthusiasts, Andaman has several treats in store. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Andaman are extremely popular, and you will find some of the world's best dive sites in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Where you can go scuba diving in Andaman Islands
While the azure waters of the ocean are enough to soothe a sore eye, for those who want to go a level deeper, (pun intended), the charm of the underwater life is a huge incentive to take the plunge. The thousands of species of underwater marine life, coral reefs, and even remnants of old ships are sights that one won’t forget too easily. A lot of islands have fringing reefs or some even have hills of volcanic Lava, offering very unusual and unique experiences.
Some of the most sought after dive sites in the Andamans are listed below.
Havelock Island - Easily the most popular spot for scuba diving in Andaman, Havelock, diving enthusiasts will tell you, is the place to go to. The island is located at a distance of 50 km from Port Blair and a short ferry ride will take you there. There a number of dive sites in Havelock including the following:
Mac Point – Known for its hard corals, the visibility here is great, and very often divers have spotted dugongs (a large, tusked marine mammal).
Minerva Ledge – A large dive site, with huge corals, Minerva Ledge is frequented by stingrays, tuna and barracuda. The clear visibility makes it popular among divers.
Campbell Shoal off North Button Islands – Campbell Shoal is known to have the best hard coral formations in the Andamans, and plays host to manta rays, white-tip reef sharks, coral trout and stingrays.
Pilot Reef – This site is located 38 km from Port Blair and is home to large formations of hard coral.
Turtle Bay – If you’re just starting out, you can consider this easy dive at Turtle Bay. It’s an enjoyable dive not more than 14 meters.
Lighthouse – A large dive site that is great for night divers.
Seduction Point – It really does seduce with its wide range of marine life and you can spot some napoleons and stag horn corals.
Barracuda City – A favorite among experienced divers, this one has tons of surprises when it comes to different species of fish and if you’re lucky, turtles.
Aquarium – Great visibility allows you to take in the sights and have a rendezvous with different types of fish.
The Wall – A submerged rock that drops to 55 meters, ‘The Wall’ is teeming with life.
Cinque Islands – With emerald green waters and a visibility up to 80 feet, this is easily among the best dive sites in the world. More suited for experienced divers, this dive may just offer a glimpse of some sharks and black corals. The North Point diving site at Cinque Island has tiny corals and sponges. The Southeast Reef is a great dive site for novices.
Corruption Rock – Located between Rutland Island and Chidiya Tapu, this superb dive site has a dazzling maze of canyons, ridges and channels. Spot some eagle rays, giant napoleons and unicorn fish.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Wandoor – A kaleidoscope of colors, this dive site is home to butterfly fish, bat fish and clown fish among others.
Fish Rock – This dive site near Passage Island has rocky slopes and soft corals in a myriad of colours.
Diving Courses in Andaman
While some people indulge in diving as a holiday activity or for fun, a lot of divers take it a lot more seriously. There are several diving courses by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) that you can choose from during your trip to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Barefoot Scuba is a popular PADI diving resort that attracts divers from all over the globe. You have a range of courses ranging from those for absolute beginners with no prior diving experience, to diving-for-fun courses for those already certified. Make sure you check all the prerequisites before you sign up for a course. Barefoot is located at Havelock Island.
DIVEIndia is another popular one that runs PADI certification courses. You can take these courses at Havelock or Neil Island. Right from “Discover Scuba” to Becoming a Master Instructor, you can take your pick from the numerous courses they conduct.
When to go scuba diving in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The ideal time to visit the Andamans is between December and April. The best time to plan your scuba diving adventure in the Andamans is February and March, since the visibility is superb and there is almost no wind. In Havelock, diving centers normally remain closed between 1st June and 31st July and reopen on 1st August for the next season.
We don’t want an activity that we undertake for our pleasure to cause any harm to the other inhabitants of this planet now, do we? Read on to find out how you can dive responsibly and enjoy your experience.
Don’t touch as far as possible – As tough as it sounds, do not touch the reefs or marine life unnecessarily. Also don’t take anything as a souvenir. Don’t feed the fish human food!
Don’t carelessly anchor – Ensure that you don’t drop anchor on corals.
Don’t litter – You wouldn’t like it if someone littered your home with ciggies and other random stuff, would you? So don’t throw anything into the homes of these lovely creatures.
Improve your buoyancy control – Train well and improve your buoyancy control. Good diving technique is beneficial to you and is in best interest of the corals too! Also, make sure your equipment is fastened securely.
Responsible Photography – Make sure you don’t move anything just because you want the perfect picture (the scenes underwater already make for amazing pictures). When you even lightly touch a coral, its mucus layer can be destroyed, making it prone to infections.