If you love the water, activities on the beach surely intrigue you. Of these, the thrilling activity of scuba diving is one of the most unique experiences to try anywhere in the world. Well, you need not travel very far to take part in this remarkable underwater activity, since India is home to two of the best destinations for a dive. A trip to Pondicherry or Andamans Island will satisfy the thalassophile (someone who loves the sea) in you. Unique in its own way, these holiday destinations offer the best scuba diving activity, that are both safe for you as well as respectful to the natural environment.
The Scuba Diving Experience
Scuba diving quite literally takes you into another world. Under the sea, marine life is colourful, vibrant and offers an exciting and uncommon view of nature. It’s also a personal challenge for many, a way of conquering fears for some. Whatever your reason scuba diving is sure to change your perspective on the world. Locations like Andamans and Pondicherry promise beautiful dives. To make sure you get the most from your trip, start planning your trip well in advance.
If you want to experience scuba diving in The Andamans…
It’s beautiful. You will dive into deep clean water filled with surreal marine life, that has made this island one of the top destinations for diving. Each island in Andamans offers plenty of diving sites that have a massive variety of marine animals from octopus, angler fish, sharks, and beautiful coral reefs. The corals are also the most vulnerable part of the dive and thus each individual usually has an instructor throughout the diving period, so you’re not left unattended and or left to harm the corals unintentionally.
There are plenty of diving spots such as Aquarium, Lighthouse and Seduction Point, K Rock, Mac Point, Margherita’s Mischief and more.
Alicin, who has experienced diving in the Andamans suggests that diving in Neil Island, which has fewer tourists is a great experience. It allows you to catch sightings of unique marine creatures like dugong, manta ray, sea snakes and turtles. Havelock Island is a popular dive site and is a great site to spot clownfish and corals.
Organisers: Dive India offers certified training courses. The courses can be tailored for beginners, advanced, professional and rescue divers.
If you want to experience scuba diving in Pondicherry…
Get ready for a peaceful dive. Pondicherry is known for its architecture and its cultural history, It’s also home to many diving sites. The water is full of corals, amid which you can spot colourful lionfish, kingfish, moray eels, manta rays, parrotfish, sea snakes and more. Pondicherry’s diving spots include Coral Sharks Reef, The Aravind Wall, The Hole, 4 Corners and Temple Reef.
Organisers: Temple Adventures and Elan Adventures.
Verdict: Both guarantee a colourful experience with a wide variety of marine life to spy on. The Andamans might be slightly different purely because it’s a set of islands, while Pondicherry is a coastal city. Your experience in either place will, therefore, depend on what you’re looking for in the entirety of your holiday.
Also read: The best places to visit in Pondicherry
What About The Budget?
Though scuba diving is a costly activity, it depends on the destination you visit. In the Andamans, at diving sites such as Cinque Island (Port Blair), Fish Rock (Passage island) it cost about 5,000 INR – 10,000 INR per person per dive.
In Pondicherry, at diving sites such as Cool Shark Reef, Temple Reef, The Hole and 4 Corners, the costs range between 6,500 INR – 8,000 INR per person per dive.
What About Safety?
When it comes to safety, both destinations provide quality safety measures. However, don’t forget the basic safety rules for scuba diving:
- You must avoid diving alone. Isn’t it anyway more fun to dive with your friends and family?
- Breathe normally.
- Start with baby steps. Don’t rush to dive too deep.
- Do ensure that your equipment is functioning properly before you dive.
- Obey your trainer/supervisor. They know what they’re doing.
- Avoid polluting the marine flora and fauna.
- Observe the marine environment, but do not interfere or disturb it.
Best Time For Diving
In Andamans, the best time is between November and mid-April. The most memorable dives trips are mostly done in the morning.
Pondicherry surprisingly offers scuba diving activities throughout the year, and the best time to visit is from February to April and September to November.
How To Reach
Pondicherry is just a few hours from Chennai by road or rail. The main dive shop is in the town centre. Instructors usually pick you up for your dives.
You will have to put some extra effort in planning your trip to the Andamans. The best way is to take a flight from Chennai. Havelock Island is about 30 kms from Port Blair. Dive Andamans and Dive India etc are all located on this island.
Andamans Or Pondicherry: Who Wins?
Both Andaman and Pondicherry have plenty of things to offer when it comes to scuba diving. Your ideal destination will depend on factors such as the weather, time, travel duration, budget etc. With all the information given here, you should be able to decide what works best for you. And if possible, why not try both? Tell us in the comments below what your experience was like.