If you’re into your scuba diving, India is the place for you. Slightly easier to get to than other destinations, thanks to the distance and loads of cheap flights on offer, this destination is a must-visit for diving enthusiasts. Without doubt, the best spots for scuba diving in India are the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep. As these sites have extensive coral reefs, they support a host of marine life which makes for exciting dives. There are a few other dive sites like Netrani near Murudeshwar, and Goa, both on the west coast.
Scuba diving can be quite an overwhelming sport, as it opens up a world that you have never seen before – life underwater. Hundreds and thousands of fish scuttle past you in various sizes, colours, shapes and it is as vibrant an ecosystem as can ever get.
In India, one does not have to necessarily know swimming to do scuba diving. Once you have reached the Dive School, they impart a couple of hours’ basic training in shallow waters, after which you go for your dive into the ocean, accompanied by a diving guide. The sport might appear to be daunting from afar, but anyone can do it. For people who wear spectacles, it might be a good idea to carry your lenses if you want to go scuba diving because inside the water, the pressure would cause the spectacles glasses to burst, and hence these are not allowed while diving.
In the Andamans, the best dive sites and schools are located on Havelock Island. You can reach Havelock from Port Blair via ferry. You can either opt for a Diving Certification or just the one dive. For the latter, the charges are approximately RS 3500 – 4000. If you want to have a diving certification, the basic one is a three-day course, and would cost approximately Rs 10,000, and more advanced certifications are available too. A number of resorts have ties with the dive schools so if you are travelling to the Andamans, you can probably try to book your scuba diving with the resort you are going to stay in.
Besides Andamans, scuba diving is also possible in Pondicherry on the East Coast. However, here as well as on any of the seas near the mainland, the water is not as clear and your scuba diving experience would not be as great as that in the islands of Andaman or Lakshadweep.