Disclaimer – Long Post 🙂
I remember it was the summer vacation i was in my first standard and my brother and all the other elder cousins were playing in the river which ran behind my uncle’s home back in Kollam, Kerala. I was the only girl in my paternal side then and i was insisting in going to the water as well. And since none of the cousins wanted to take my responsibility of taking care of me i was just watching them and crying non stop.
Finally my uncle agreed to take me to the water as well. I still remember this crystal clear (i have a sharp memory 🙂 ) my grandmother gave me a piece of advice, she said “When you go into the water remember and the water level reaches your chin, do not take a sudden breath or else you would always be scared of getting into water” . And i finally was in the river playing with my cousins .
Post that whenever we used to go to the beach in Andamans’ i would not be scared to get into water, i would go right up till my chin while am standing straight in water (whatever the height that would be) and jump when the waves would hit me.
Only regret I COULD NEVER MANAGE TO LEARN SWIMMING 🙁 I know i know me being from the islands its shameful and embarrassing to not know swimming but the thing was there never was a swimming pool kind of facility for my parents to send me for classes. If i had to learn swimming it would be going to the beach and my dad teaching me which was not really practical. I was too busy enjoying my dance classes and taking part in other literary competitions. Beaches only meant picnics, getting into water to take bath and just play even though i would always regret not knowing how to swim specially when i saw my other friends getting into the sea and swimming or even the swimming pool for a matter. My job would be to sit by the side and hand them food and drinks when needed.
Years went by , I’ll be 30 this July and i hate to say this but i don’t know swimming even now 🙁 (hoping to learn this summer..which is already here). But one thing was always on my bucket list SCUBA DIVING. It became even more an adventure that i wanted to fulfill anyhow when i had learnt you don’t really need to know swimming to do scuba diving(thanks to Zoya Akhtar and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara). There always is a way if you really want to do something in life 😛
Scuba diving became a popular water sport in the last few years in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and whenever i went home for a vacation it would be just a week or two and mostly i would be home and catching up with family friends and relatives. There was no possibility of me going to the beach and take up diving.
I had not given up hope and had to do scuba diving before my 30th birthday and finally it happened, yes my first ever scuba diving experience and i don’t have words to describe how beautiful that feeling is. It was exactly the #ZindagiNaMilegiDobara moment when Hrithik Roshan takes his first dive and the poem in the background, it was exactly that. Click here to watch
And it happened
On 12th Feb 2017 i did my first scuba diving. All thanks to my friends who joined me in a week long vacation to Andamans and i decided to join them as well as a tourist and see more of my beautiful hometown. We were doing the scuba diving through the BAREFOOTSCUBA. Barefoot Scuba is the first and only PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Resort in the Andaman Islands established in 2004 I knew them personally since it was part of the Barefoot Resorts whose Operational Manager is my brother and also the diving instructors were known to me. My dive instructor was Bunty bhaiya (the one in the first pic and in the video you cant watch below). Other than these also there are Scuba Dive Operators like the Dive India, Andaman Bubbles Scuba Diving .
The Training and the Dive
The 45 minute scuba diving session included 15 minutes of training and then 30 minutes of dive of up to 13-14 meters underwater. For a non swimmer like me 14 meters is a big deal 🙂 We chose the North Bay islands for scuba diving unlike the Havelock where generally tourists do the scuba diving. One because we knew them personally and second the rush is less in North Bay compared to Havelock, so the divers too are not in a hurry.
To start with the training we were told all the hand gestures that we would be using underwater like Ok, not okay , up, down, nose block, ear pain, water getting into the mouth etc. Then you are made to practice to breathe through your mouth wearing the scuba gears. Trust me this is the most difficult part, i had a tough time to get used to breathing through the mouth.
Then the moment arrived, once the trainers checked for all the precautions and revised us through the hand gestures they pulled us along with them inside water. Ideally its one instructor with two people but i got to go alone with Bunty bhaiya, perks of being an islander. I didn’t even realize and i was already underwater. It was beautiful, calm and quiet, it was a different world all together. The only sound i could hear was my heart beat and the sound of me breathing in and out.
I saw some small fishes of different colors, corals, also managed to see a sea cucumber and a sea urchin (which was not new to me, had seen them before also) . It was so beautiful that i stopped breathing in between and suddenly my ears started paining. I think i came up above water twice in the 30 minute dive. I did want to see the Nemo but i couldn’t but i have heard people telling they saw the Nemo, below is one such pic my friend Saketh clicked.
Time flies underwater, before i could get the whole hang of it thirty minutes was up and time for me to say bye to the amazing marine life. I feel so proud to be from Andaman not that i was not before but after the dive i get the whole idea of why people enjoy diving so much and travel all the way to these islands for diving and snorkeling.
As always, leaving you all with few more pics clicked by Saketh :
Here is my scuba diving video to give you a sneak peek of what the underwater life looks like. The BarefootScuba makes sure your memories are captured forever. Also they give us a certificate once we finish our dive which is pretty good
Watch till the end to see the fishes 🙂 (or skip to 1:06)
I am determined to go for even more scuba diving sessions once i learn swimming so that i can become better than my first one in terms of breathing and not letting the claustrophobia hit me which has always stopped me from learning swimming.
Andaman as a Scuba diving destination
The azure waters surrounding the Andaman Islands make it a treasure trove to dive into and snorkel around.
Pristine dive spots and enchanting fish life have ensured that the Andamans are now considered as a diving hot spot and divers from all around the world make their way to these islands simply to scuba dive. Irrespective of whether you can swim or not – as long as you are at least 8 years old, you too can try your hand at diving and get addicted for life!
One can also take up advanced level certification and become a certified diver. Many folks from all over the world actually come to Andaman to take up the diving certifications.
Have you done scuba diving? Where and how was your experience? Is it on your bucket list, if yes then some serious advice – PLEASE DO IT. Don’t think about it even for a second, the moment you get a chance just do it. Let me know if you liked this post (i know this was a long long one).
Happy blogging!!! Live.Love.Laugh <3 <3 <3