Go for scuba div­ing!

If you are look­ing for great ad­ven­tures.

Alive - - Contents - by Sudha Har­i­ha­ran

SCUBA (Self Con­tained Un­der­wa­ter Breath­ing Ap­pa­ra­tus) div­ing in In­dia gained pop­u­lar­ity af­ter the Bol­ly­wood movie Zindagi Na Mi­legi Dubara, with An­daman is­lands are be­ing the most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for In­di­ans. The his­tory of scuba div­ing goes way back, cen­turies back in fact, but it took a long time be­fore mod­ern div­ing ac­tu­ally de­vel­oped.

In the days of yore, peo­ple dis­cov­ered sim­ple re­sources they could use to breathe un­der­wa­ter (al­though they weren’t nearly as ef­fec­tive or safe as mod­ern equip­ment). One of the first sto­ries of un­der­wa­ter breath­ing dates back all the way to 500 BC, when a Greek sol­dier sup­pos­edly dived off a ship and used a hol­low reed to breath un­der­wa­ter for hours.

A cou­ple cen­turies later, the philoso­pher Aris­to­tle re­ported that Alexan­der the Great found a way to hide un­der­wa­ter while the siege of tyre was tak­ing place. Ap­par­ently, Alexan­der the Great was able to stay un­der­wa­ter by us­ing a bar­rel as his very own div­ing bell!

Af­ter the 1700s, it seemed that ev­ery­one wanted to find an ef­fec­tive and safe way to breathe un­der­wa­ter. There were many at­tempts to cre­ate what was known then as “re­breath­ing de­vices”. It wasn’t un­til the 1940s, how­ever, that the world fa­mous Jac­ques Cousteau and en­gi­neer Em­i­lie Gag­nan were suc­cess­ful in cre­at­ing a re­breath­ing de­vice that ac­tu­ally worked. A decade or so later, recre­ational div­ing be­came a very pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity. Ev­ery­one wanted to ex­pe­ri­ence ex­plor­ing the wa­ters.

What is lit­tle known is that there are mul­ti­ple dive des­ti­na­tions on the main­land also. The big­gest player on the main­land is West Coast Ad­ven­tures of­fer­ing a va­ri­ety of pro­grammes for begin­ners as well as for ex­pe­ri­enced divers. One of their more ad­ven­tur­ous pro­grams is a 6-day road trip from Goa to Man­ga­lore that stops at their dive cen­ters in Goa, Mur­desh­war and Udupi, where you can com­plete your PADI (Pro­fes­sional As­so­ci­a­tion of Div­ing In­struc­tors) Open Wa­ter course. So, by the time you are done with your road trip you are also an in­ter­na­tion­ally cer­ti­fied diver.

A SCUBA div­ing ex­pe­ri­ence can be relaxing, ex­hil­a­rat­ing and even ther­a­peu­tic, de­pend­ing on the company you have and the en­vi­ron­ment you are in. It’s a great way to ex­plore new des­ti­na­tions, make new friends and is prob­a­bly one of the most so­cial ad­ven­ture sports to­day.

With so many amaz­ing

A SCUBA div­ing ex­pe­ri­ence can be relaxing, ex­hil­a­rat­ing and even ther­a­peu­tic, de­pend­ing on the company you have and the en­vi­ron­ment you are in. It’s a great way to ex­plore new des­ti­na­tions, make new friends and is prob­a­bly one of the most so­cial ad­ven­ture sports to­day.

dive des­ti­na­tions across the world of­fer­ing a va­ri­ety of fish life, to­pog­ra­phy and beautiful co­ral gar­dens, it is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to choose one above all else but read on to check out a se­lec­tion of trop­i­cal des­ti­na­tions where the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture is pleas­ant and the des­ti­na­tions are in Asia. Top Five dive des­ti­na­tions around the world at­tract­ing ad­ven­ture do­ers in­ter­na­tion­ally are fol­low­ing:

Philip­pines

Best time to visit: The best time to visit is dur­ing the dry sea­son be­tween Novem­ber and April when, al­most all the best lo­ca­tions are freely ac­ces­si­ble; this

in­cludes the re­mote ar­eas and is­lands.

How to get there: The quick­est way to get there would be to catch a flight to Manila and then some form of lo­cal trans­port to where you plan on start­ing your ad­ven­tures. Flight tim­ings will be around 9 Hours.

Best Dive Site: Tub­bataha reefs nat­u­ral park - Amos Rock (Depth: 10 – 30 me­ters).

This is one of the more re­mote dive des­ti­na­tions in the Philip­pines, and is only ac­ces­si­ble via a live-aboard be­tween March and June. It is also a UNESCO world her­itage site and boasts of a huge va­ri­ety of fish and corals in­clud­ing 13 whale

and dol­phin species and 11 species of shark. A week would be the bare min­i­mum time you would re­quire to ex­plore the best that this park has to of­fer, make sure not to miss Amos rock which is home to some of the largest reef sharks you will see.

Philip­pines’ Fa­mous Dive Sites

Ani­lao, Batan­gas.

Puerto Galera, Min­doro. Verde Island, off Batan­gas.

Manta Bowl, Ti­cao Pass, Mas­bate.

Monad Shoal, Mala­pas­cua, Cebu. Moal­boal, Cebu. Mac­tan, Cebu.

Five-Star Dive Cen­ters in Philip­pines

Thresher Shark Divers. Save­dra Dive Cen­ter. Sub­mariner Div­ing Cen­ter El Nido.

Egypt

Best time to visit:

Oc­to­ber to April are the best months to be in Egypt. De­cem­ber and Jan­uary are the peak sea­sons for the tourists. It’s good to make a note be­fore you start plan­ning your va­ca­tion.

How to get there: The quick­est way to get there would be a flight which would be ap­prox­i­mately 913 hours in­clud­ing a stopover or two.

Best Dive Site: Thistle­gorm Wreck- Ras Muham­mad (Depth: 25 – 40 me­ters).

SS Thistle­gorm is con­sid­ered to be one of the best wreck dive . This World War II Ship is lo­cated in the north­ern part of the Red

Sea in the strait of Gubal. It mea­sures out to a length of 128 me­ters and sank in 1941 af­ter an air strike from the Ger­man forces. The big­gest at­trac­tion of this wreck are the var­i­ous ar­ti­facts that can be found here, tanks, trucks, jeeps, mo­tor­bikes, ri­fles, and a list of spare parts for cars and planes. This site can­not be done in a sin­gle dive; you will need at least 2 com­plete dives to ex­plore this ship.

Egypt’s Fa­mous Dive Sites

Abu Nuhas reef. Da­hab blue hole. The broth­ers. El­phin­stone reef. Marsa Alam dol­phin house. Fury shools. Abu Dab­bab.

Five-Star Dive Cen­ters in Egypt

Easy Divers.

Big Blue Da­hab.

Viet­nam

Best time to visit: The best time to visit is ei­ther in the spring (Fe­bru­ary – April) or au­tumn (Au­gust – April). There is lesser chance of rain­fall and the tem­per­a­ture is pleas­ant.

How to get there: The short­est one- stop flight takes about 9 hours and goes all the way up to 33 hours, de­pend­ing on the stop- over time which vary from 1 hour to 24 hours.

Best Dive Site: Mo­ray Beach (Depth: 5-20 me­ters).

Mo­ray beach is fa­mous for its huge col­lec­tion of li­on­fish, fly­ing gurnard, clown­fish, Mo­ray eels, Nudi­branchs, sea horses and cap­ti­vat­ing fields of co­ral all of which makes for an awe­some dive for bud­ding un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phers.

Try not to miss Mo­ray Cave; you’ll get a chance to see some Devil Scor­pion fish, ra­zor fish and pipefish too.

The east­ern most part of the In­done­sian ar­chi­pel­ago com­pris­ing of more than 1500 small is­lands, and shoals that sur­round the 4 main is­lands. Raja Am­pat is one of the most di­verse places on earth in terms of the amount and va­ri­ety of life found in these wa­ters. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port al­most 75 per cent of the world’s hard co­ral species live within these is­lands which is home to more than 500 types of co­ral.

Viet­nam’s Fa­mous Dive Sites

Madonna Rock, Nha Trang.

Ho Trau Nam, Whale Island.

Whale Island Bay.

Hon Nhan, Hoi An.

Hon Mo, Hoi An.

Dry Island (Hon Ko),

Phu Quoc.

Nudi­branch Gar­den, Phu Quoc.

Five-Star Dive Cen­ters in Viet­nam

Rain­bow Divers. Blue Co­ral Div­ing. Flip­per Div­ing Club.

In­done­sia

Best Time to Visit: Any­time from May to Septem­ber when it is dry and sunny, ideal for a good

day of div­ing.

How to get there: A flight from Mum­bai to Jakarta can be any­where be­tween 6- 15 hours, de­pend­ing on the stopovers and their du­ra­tions.

Best Dive Spot: Raja Am­pat- West Pa­pua (Depth: 5-40 me­ters).

The east­ern most part of the In­done­sian ar­chi­pel­ago com­pris­ing of more than 1500 small is­lands, and shoals that sur­round the 4 main is­lands. Raja Am­pat is one of the most di­verse places on earth in terms of the amount and va­ri­ety of life found in these wa­ters.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port al­most 75 per cent of the world’s hard co­ral species live within these is­lands

which is home to more than 500 types of co­ral, over a 1000 types of co­ral fish , and around 600 types of mol­lusks.

In­done­sia’s Fa­mous Dive Sites

Manado, Su­lawesi. Ko­modo Na­tional Park, Flores.

Raja Am­pat, Pa­pua. Waka­tobi, Su­lawesi. Pu­lau Weh, Su­ma­tra. Gili Is­lands, Lom­bok.

5- Star Dive Cen­ters in In­done­sia

Geko Dive Bali. Crys­tal Divers. All 4 Div­ing.

Sri Lanka

Best Time to Visit: It’s a com­pli­cated ex­pe­ri­ence in Sri Lanka as the coun­try has two sep­a­rate mon­soon sea­sons de­pend­ing on which coast you visit. The coun­try has a south­west mon­soon from May- July and a north­east mon­soon from Oc­to­ber – Jan­uary.

The best time to visit Sri Lanka would be be­tween Jan­uary – April and Au­gust – Septem­ber.

How to get there: Flights from Mum­bai could take up to 7 hours.

Best Dive Spot: Bull

The best time to visit this site would be be­tween De­cem­ber and April. It is a beautiful reef with plenty of macro life and a haven for un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy. The reef is fa­mous for white eyed mo­ray eels, napoleon wrasse, and the pan­ther floun­der. You could even chance upon the rare crocodile fish in num­bers at this site.

dog Reef- Kal­pi­tiya (Depth10-17 me­ters).

The best time to visit this site would be be­tween De­cem­ber and April. It is a beautiful reef with plenty of macro life and a haven for un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy. The reef is fa­mous for white eyed mo­ray eels, napoleon wrasse, and the pan­ther floun­der. You could even chance upon the rare crocodile fish in num­bers at this site.

Sri Lanka’s Fa­mous Dive Sites

Gor­gonian Gar­dens, Colombo.

Taprobane North Wreck / Perseus, Colombo. Taprobane East Wreck, Colombo. Great Basses, South east coast.

Bri­tish Sergeant, Pasiku­dah.

Five-Star Dive Cen­ters in Sri Lanka

Posiedon Div­ing Sta­tion. Sri Lanka Div­ing tours. Unawatuna Div­ing Cen­tre.

West Coast Ad­ven­tures spe­cial­izes in un­der­wa­ter ex­trav­a­gan­zas. The mod­ern and well equipped div­ing cen­ter has pro­fes­sional PADI cer­ti­fied train­ers. From ab­so­lute begin­ners to dive mas­ters, they of­fer a range of PADI cour­ses for scuba div­ing in In­dia for ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing chil­dren, start­ing from 10 years of age.

A Philip­pines dive site.

The Philip­pines also of­fers some of the most fa­mous sites in the world for whale shark en­coun­ters.

SS Thistle­gorm ship­wreck div­ing site in Egypt.

Wreck Div­ing Trip to SS Thistle­gorm - Ras Mo­hamed, Egypt.

Viet­nam is fa­mously en­dowed with long stretches of un­spoiled coast­line and su­perb dive sites.

Scuba div­ing in In­done­sia.

Div­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in Sri Lanka is great in­deed.

Sri Lankan coast­line too is filled with ad­ven­tures.

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