Deep inside the vastness of the sea, life can be an aweinspiring experience. One can witness pristine corals and reefs, thrilling drift dives, abundant marine life, fascinating shipwrecks and much more.
Words: KRITIKA DHAWAN
Imagine how unworldly it would be to dive in the coral garden, watch the flurry of fish and follow sharks patrolling the ancient shipwrecks. Everyone is well-versed with the fact that two-third of the Earth is covered by water, most of which is still unexplored. Watching this unexplored can be an unparalleled experience as one dives deep into the sea at amazing destinations of southern India to see the world beneath which is more than just corals and reefs.
Grand Island, Goa
Goa is the place to plunge into the vast ocean and graze your eyes with colourful gems on the ocean bed. The magic and surreal sight is worth every penny tourists spend on scuba diving in the state. The Grand Island in Goa is known for one-of-a-kind experience both in scuba diving and snorkelling. The place has some great diving spots with depth ranging from 7 to 20m. The island allows you to swim alongside a plethora of oceanic creatures including fishes, skates, sea turtles, shellfish, dolphins and exotic and colourful corals. Located off the coast to Vasco de Gama, diving spots at Grand Island include Suzy, Umma Gumma Reef, Davy Jones Locker and Sailing Rock. At Suzy, one can find sunken British ships that went down in 1930s. As you dive in the water, you will be mesmerised to see the parts of the cargo and ships covered with corals and mussels. A trained diver can enjoy scuba diving at Umma Gumma Reef. The spectacular sight of underwater species like tunas, sharks, snappers, porcupine fishes, etc., is sure to leave you spellbound. The living ground of large fishes, Davy Jonas is a sunken ship found at the Davy Jones Locker.
Aravind’s Wall, Puducherry
Known for both pristine beaches and tranquil atmosphere, Puducherry also offers a plethora of water sports options for the adventure lovers. The crystal clear water of Puducherry makes it one of the most popular sights for scuba diving. Liberate your soul by swimming with exotic species of fishes while exploring the corals. One of the popular drift diving site, Aravind’s Wall covers a large area and is popular for marine life including groupers, barracuda and sea kraits. The visibility at this site reaches up to 40m and one can find macro life such as nudibranch and beautiful gorgonian fan coral. The water at the site is very clear and allows the divers to see sea snakes, lion fish, butterfly fish and a lot more. Another common site here is whales, eels, parrot fish, crustaceans, etc.
Netrani Island, Karnataka
The island resembles a big rock jetting out of the blue Arabian Sea. It is 19 km away from the temple town of Murudeshwara and is among the best scuba diving sites away from mainland India. One can reach the island within a day’s trip from Murudeshwara. The island is the hub of coral reef with a diversity of corals, Indian banner fish, parrot fish, eels and redtooth trigger fish. Divers have also reported sights of Orcas and whale sharks around the island. The visibility in the water here is between the range of 15 to 30m. At the dive site that is 20m deep, one requires an advanced open certification to go deep into the water. Karnataka is equally famous for its shady palm trees and underwater world. The tropical waters around the coast of Karnataka are home to intriguing diversity of marine life. Dive into the clear tropical water to watch whales, stingrays, great barracuda and turtles in their natural habitat.
Tarkarli in Malvan, Maharashtra
The only place in Maharashtra to dive deep into the world of marine life, Tarakali in Malvan is also home to a scenic and groovy beach. It is situated on the Konkan coastline embraced by the exotic marine life. The hamlet becomes a must-visit place as clear water and pleasant waves are juxtaposed with diverse coral reefs, plenty of exotic fishes and other species of the marine world. The turquoise sea water is also a great option for kids to enjoy diving.
Both scuba diving and snorkelling become a wonderful experience in Tarkali as it not only introduces one to the mesmerising marine world but also helps one learn the importance of conservation. One can undertake dives after learning the basic techniques from scuba camps and training centres in and around the Tarkali beach. Along with the scuba divers, this place lets the tourist explore the underwater beauty of the Arabian Sea.