You’re not likely to find India on any list of the world’s best diving locales, but that doesn’t mean you should just shelve it and forget about diving in this colorful country. Diving is perfectly doable in India and we know where to find the interesting places. Here we’ll tell you all about the nooks of the Arabian sea and the Bengal Bay, and share all that’s necessary to know for those who plan on diving in India.
India is a very big country, with the greater part lying within the equatorial belt. The rainy season lasting from June to October and the next period, from October to March, is considered the most suitable for diving. The average water temperature is 27-28 C, but visibility can vary. For example, off the shore of Goa, visibility is about 6-12 meters and can reach 30 meters off the outlying islands.
Goa is a land of western nomads, avid partygoers and those the pursuit of solace or even epiphany. Goa is the smallest but most well-known Indian state. Diving here is very popular among tourists. We should note that shore diving is best suited for beginners and those who just want to refresh their skills because visibility can be low and the marine life isn’t very varied. For transparent water and colorful landscapes, it’s better to go to the islands nearby.
Grand Island lies about half an hour by speedboat from South Goa. A large selection of dive sites and pleasant conditions attract divers of various levels.
Here are some of the most popular dive sites on the island:
Suzy is a 135-meter British ship that sank in 1930. A strong sea storm wrecked the ship on the rocks, and then she went down to the bottom, taking the life of one of the crew members. The ship was carrying railway sleepers, which can still be seen during the dive. Suzy lies on the sandy bottom of a small bay, the depth of the dive varies between 4 to 15 meters. Mussels and small corals cover the outer hull of the ship, and a lot of fish and crustaceans can be found around the wreck.
The UmmaGumma reef is a perfect place for novice divers. The depth is about 15 meters and reef sharks, pipefish, lobsters, and other interesting species can be seen here.
Underwater photos taken here turn out so clear and bright that it’s difficult to believe that all this is India!
Netrani Island, also known as Pigeon Island, is 220 kilometers south of Goa, where it’s hidden from the crowds of tourists. Netrani is a large rocky island, rising from the depths and is gaining popularity among divers. Great visibility (in some places up to 25 meters!), healthy and vibrant corals and an abundance of marine life, from giant groupers to lobsters, can be found in this amazing place. It’s said that even whale sharks have been seen here! However, schools of dolphins that are what’s more likely to be met on most days. The wide variety of dive sites are enough to satisfy beginners as well as experienced divers. Depths start at 8 meters and can reach 30 meters. Netrani Island is considered the best place for diving on the west coast of India.
The unique protected area of the Andaman Islands is located in the Bay of Bengal, 1,400 km from the mainland. The distance from the coast is such, that it’s the distance between islands is the same as from the continent.
Rainy forests, mangroves, tropical beaches (some of the best in Asia), breathtaking flora and fauna, beautiful roads and historical sites are just some of the features of these stunning places. These islands formed through volcanic activity showcase a completely different landscape under the water. Diving off the Andaman Islands is always full of amazing discoveries because this sea is like some perfect aquarium boasting an ideal ecosystem where mantas, reef sharks, groupers, turtles, eels and countless species of corals and fish flourish.
The Wall (O. Havelock)
This site is chosen mainly by technical divers. After an initial depth of 10 meters, the plateau sharply drops down to 55 meters below the surface. A variety of marine life is brought here by the strong currents. This dive point is difficult for novice divers and interesting for the more experienced. Red and orange corals cover the surface of the wall and makes it look like a living carpet. The marine dwellers are come in a variety of sizes; from tiny nudibranchs to huge mantas. Octopuses, scorpionfish, napoleon fish and wrasses all complement this underwater landscape.
In Sanskrit, “Lakshadweep” means “hundreds of thousands of islands” but today only 36 are found on the surface, the rest have disappeared under the water because of natural changes over time. In a geological sense, they are a continuation of the Maldives but aren’t as well-known among tourists. White beaches, coconut groves, clear waters sporting live and healthy corals, and rich marine life; all of this ought finally dispel any misconceptions about diving in India. The islands of Lakshadweep are a national treasure and the absence of noise lends a sense of stillness in time. For this reason, you won’t find noisy bars, discos, or other entertainment that could disturb the peace and serenity here. We should note that the importation and drinking of alcohol is prohibited on almost all of these islands. The three islands of Bangaram, Kadmat, and Agatti are the only ones that are open to foreigners. A coral reef stretches along the islands. Water visibility may exceed 35 meters. Stingrays, sea turtles, dolphins, reef sharks, and barracudas are all present among the marine life. The staff of the dive centers (which are most often located in hotels) will plan dives which will correspond to your level of training. The plankton trapped near the shore after dark shine in the moonlight. It adds even an even greater effect to this paradise place.
To summarise, we want to recite the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
- “There’s not enough room!”
- “The first and only rule of India: There’s always room."
Indeed, there’s room for everyone and anyone in India. Here you can become a part of the crowd, lose yourself on a deserted island or become a part of the ocean. Choosing the right route for you will be the key to a successful adventure. We hope that we’ve managed to open up a few interesting places for you.