1 January 2015
One of the best ways to explore coral life is by scuba diving. It requires more effort compared to snorkeling or sea walk but it gives real feel of the underwater. Swimming is not essential for scuba diving but swimming does give more confidence in waters.
When I arrived at Scuba diving center, a team had already gone for diving. The waiting time was utilized to sign some papers which basically absolve them from all responsibilities in case of mishap. That is the way it works in India and I signed it. While waiting, I also had the opportunity to watch a small drama that was unfolding.
|Shore where we are trained before diving|
A group of three people had signed up for scuba diving and paid a total of 9K. They were expecting something like sea walk but on seeing scuba diving equipment their courage diminished and they decided to quit. The organizer was not ready to return money as the customer had already signed a paper which states there is no refund if money on any circumstances!! It is hard for anyone to digest that they lost 9K without effort!! As settlement, organizer agreed to pay 500 each but other party was not convinced. I was called for diving and hence could not find out how the argument ended!!
|Ready for dive!!|
The important point is to breathe from mouth and not from nose. The nose is blocked and the person has to be breathing from mouth using mouthpiece attached to compressed gas cylinder. We were trained for some time near the shore before they took us to deeper waters. Once inside water, the only way to communicate with the guide is by hand signals. The hand signals are used to indicate to either go up, go down, everything is fine or something is not right. Techniques are taught when water enters into nose or when pressure builds on ears (which happen as we go down).
My experience underwater was simply great. Breathing though mouth became natural as minutes passed inside water. After gaining confidence I started signaling guide to take me down as much as possible. But he seemed to be hesitant after a certain depth. Later he told that for beginners they would not take the risk of getting into deep waters. I would have gone down by 10 meters he told. Quite ok I must say.
One sore point was the water was not as clear as in Elephant beach and Jolly Buoy (In both places where scuba diving is not allowed). I feel that there are better places slightly further from Havelock which offers clearer water. One can do some research before going out.
Anyway, do not miss scuba diving if you are in Andaman Islands. But it is not suited for those who suffer from Asthma, wheezing and any other breathing/heart problem. It costs between 3K-3.5K person session of Scuba diving. Organizers provide all necessary equipment needed.