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Scuba Diving Andamans

Scuba diving in Neil

By Scuba Diving Andamans

Scuba diving in Neil – All you need to know in 2023

Why should you Scuba Dive in Neil Island? 

Beyond the clutters of modern cities lies a tiny abode for peace, serenity, and tranquility deep within the lap of the pristine oceans – The Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep).

Located in the south of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, this tiny utopia is unique and untouched with massive coral reefs, sparkling sandy-rocky beaches, lush green forests, stunning marine life, and a soothing tropical climate. This tiny island is a concise dose of nature that fits in with a circumference of 10-13km, and it’s just a 2.5-hour ferry ride away from Port Blair. 

Hold on!

It’s different from Goa, Hawaii, or Maldives. 

It’s different. 

Neil Islands is remarkably diverse and distinct from the Populus island destinations of the world because of the lesser crowd and calming silence, and it’s still uninfluenced by tourists. Yes, it’s a cut above the rest when it comes to peace and nature. Speaking of vibes, Neil offers the best of both adventure and comfort. If you just want to lean back on a handmade wooden chair, sip some fresh coconut water and watch the simmering sunset in high definition or venture into thrilling water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving, this is the perfect spot for you. 

Now, if you are an underwater enthusiast and love to dive,

Here are the top 5 reasons why you should dive in Neil Island – 

1. Clear blue waters – 

As soon as you land at Neil, you can notice a spectrum of blue shades surrounding the entire island. Be it Bharatpur, Sitapur, or even Laxmanpur beach, the lively blues are a constant you can never miss. The topography around the island has lower sedimentation runoff. Because of this natural phenomenon, the vibrant blues are untainted by the blacks and browns of the sand. 

 

2. Unexplored coral reefs – 

The vast and massive coral reefs of Neil Island are still unexplored by the masses. It’s fresh, dynamic, and unaffected by population and pollution. As soon as you take a dive and observe them from a distance, you can see the patterns, textures, and picturesque forms they come in. Overall, it’s an art and part of the island’s ecosystem. They live in unison with the aquatic fishes providing them shelter, fodder, and protection. The antique coral reefs extend for several kilometers from the coastal lines to the depths of the oceans with cinematic sceneries and vibrant colors. 

 

3. Marine life – 

Expert divers, researchers, and aqua lovers from around the world visit Neil Island for its diverse and dense marine life. The iconic waters of Neil give us several opportunities to witness rare flora and fauna underwater. To name a few, do not miss the sight of a school of snappers, the flight of a gliding marble ray, unicorn fish piercing through the current, the graceful dance of the turtles, and the goofy movements of the goat fishes. If you are lucky, you can witness the gentle giant in action – Dugong. To sum it up, it has a plethora of options to explore. 

 

4. Less crowd – 

Imagine a dive where you are alone with your group and have the entire dive site just for you. This diver’s dream can happen only in the waters of Neil Island. There are just a few boats on the shore and fewer people on the dive sites. What else does a diver need? With a mix of deep and shallow waters, Neil Island is an ideal option for advanced divers to learn and hone their skills. 

 

5. A partial offline life – 

A video call or maybe a YouTube video in low res is easy in Neil. But if you think of streaming an OTT platform, it’s a big no. The network on Neil Island is not as strong as the mainland’s network. This gives you the luxury of time to finish that favorite book, take a long walk along the sunset, ponder upon valuable memories or make some new memories on the beach. It’s a place just to chill, relax and let the ocean breeze take away all your stress. 

 

Suppose Havelock Island is the heart of Scuba Diving in India. The Neil Island is for your mind’s space. It provides a calm, composed, rich, and less crowded diving environment. You get extra focus and attention for extra fun. 

PS – A soul-string experience awaits you at Neil Island.

Scuba Diving in Havelock

By Articles, Scuba Diving Andamans, scuba diving in india

Scuba Diving in Havelock – All you need to know in 2023 

Why should you Scuba Dive in Havelock Island? 

In the world of adventure in India – 

The Himalayas is famous for Mountaineering. 

Rishikesh and Zanskar are famous for Kayaking. 

Gulmarg is famous for Skiing. 

And for Scuba Diving? 

It’s Havelock Island – The heart of Scuba diving in India and home to millions and billions of dazzling marine life. 

But, ever wondered how Havelock became so popular? Where did this craze for Scuba Diving come from? 

The answer lay in 2003. So, let’s rewind a bit!

The Poayassay brothers – Jackson, Dickson, and Jhonny from the Karen community in Andaman- are one-of-a-kind, born-to-dive professionals in the industry. When they joined hands with Vinnie from DIVEIndia (The Pioneers of Diving in Havelock), they unlocked a whole new world of opportunities for Scuba Diving with their exploratory dives and underwater recces. Gradually, in 2006, they unfolded the 3 iconic world-class dive sites – Dickson’s Pinnacle, Jhonny’s George, and Jackson’s Bar. Over the years, by word of mouth and with the power of social media, the discovery of the 3 sites elevated Havelock’s identity and embedded it in the world’s radar. Today, experts and people who intend to venture into Scuba Diving aim to land at Havelock to experience at least these 3 famous dive sites apart from the surplus options to be explored.

And that’s how Havelock became India’s most demanding hub and a haven for Scuba Diving. 

Coming back to the narrative, nestled in the south east corner of the Great Andaman, Havelock is one of the largest islands in the Ritchie’s Archipelago within the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. This small wonder extends 18 kms long and 8 kms wide, with lush flora and fauna, and has something for everyone. If you have a taste for comfort and luxury, you can find star hotels with exotic packages. If you are a backpacker and an adventure buff, it has affordable accommodations with customized itinerates. If you are not able to decide, settle down for a “workcation” and experience comfort and thrill at the same time. It has all the conveniences of a city and more. 

The entire island is adorned with one of nature’s finest and most intricate underwater architecture, the colossal coral reefs. With a blend of rich green forests, serene beaches, and crystal-clear blue waters, the vibe here offers an enlightening experience to our mind, body, and soul. Apart from the massive number of exotic dive sites, one of the key highlights is the charming Radhanagar beach – renowned for its name as Asia’s best beach. Also, do not miss the lip-smacking and tongue-tingling tasty seafood here. It has a variety of options and flavors to choose from. 

Still curious why you should be scuba diving in Havelock? 

Here are the top 5 reasons to scuba dive in Havelock

1. Controlled conditions – 

The diverse dive sites of Havelock are burrowed and perfectly sheltered between a group of islands, making way for cambelts in and around the landscape. This paves the way for both shallow and deep waters for divers, accessible under controlled conditions offering a stress-free and safe atmosphere. 

 

2. Training Reefs – 

The training reef near the shores of Havelock Island is the ideal key to unlocking the next level of diving. The reef provides access for instructors and students to conduct, practice and learn several integrated courses and skills to begin or even continue your journey as a scuba diver. 

 

3. 20+ dive sites – 

Deep or Shallow. 

Dense or light. 

Compact or open. 

You name the type you want, and you will get it. Havelock is the treasure trove of magical dive sites. Apart from the 3 famous hotspots mentioned above, Havelock offers an array of charming underwater sites. Aquarium, Slope, Turtle Beach, K-Rock, Lighthouse, J-Table, Minerva’s, The Wall, and Vinnie’s Wreck are a few of the never-ending list. Keep your fingers crossed; our dive pros are on the lookout for more. 

 

4. Marine life – 

The marine life of Havelock is similar to Neil Island. If you are diving for the first time, keep your eyes peeled for the roaring lionfish, tiny barnacles playing hide and seek, gothic cuttlefish with tentacles, elegant feather dusters, groups of Tuna moving in sync, and hungry parrot fishes. Neither a single dive nor a 100 would suffice to spot the splendors of these mesmerizing sea creatures and their eco systems. 

 

5. Work-life balance – 

Maintaining a perfect balance between work and life is a herculean task. What if you get a chance to ace it? 

Here in Havelock, with nature at its best, people get some much-needed positive vibes to focus on their work with ease and peace. No matter the stress, the beaches are just a few minutes away. Every day is pleasant, and every weekend is a vacation in Havelock. To make it simple, your search for bliss ends here. 

So, if the oceans are calling out to you or you have an unquenchable thirst for diving and exploring the marvels of marine life, you now know where to go or, better yet, perhaps call a 2nd home.

 

 

Warm regards, 

Havelock 

Which Island Is Better For Diving – HAVELOCK OR NEIL?

By Articles, Blogs, Dive Sites, Scuba Diving Andamans, Scuba diving Courses

Which Island is Better For Scuba Diving?
HAVELOCK (Swaraj Dweep) OR NEIL(Shahid Dweep)?

Another common question we get from our divers is – what is better for diving, Havelock or Neil?
The answer to that, of course, is… it depends.
It depends on what your experience level, the type of diving you want to do and what you are looking for in a vacation spot.

To start with, the 2 islands are very close together, so you are not going to see a significant change in the ecosystem and marine species between the two locations.
However, there are a few significant differences between the 2 locations:

  • Neil does not have the same mangrove cover as Havelock, and so tends to have lower sedimentation run-off. This results in generally better visibility closer to shore.
  • Havelock, by virtue of having the other islands of Ritchie’s Archipelago to the north, has a lot of sites that are sheltered no matter the wind or environmental conditions. This means that there are more shallow/sheltered sites for divers, where conditions allow access year long.
  • The drop-off into deep water is much closer to the southern side of Neil. This means a few more high-octane sites with a greater chance of seeing big pelagics (and we mean BIG).
  • Havelock has an excellent training reef accessible from the shore – a great place to do classes like Rescue Diver, Buoyancy, Navigation, Search & Recovery and more.

In addition to this, the islands themselves are fairly different. Havelock is all grown up now – it is has fiber optic internet, several restaurants and is pretty much a tourist island (albeit only relatively – compared to places like Goa, it is still positively rustic). Neil is still quieter and the package tourist hordes tend to give it a miss (or stay there only a night) – that gives it more of the quiet, “remote island” vibe of the Andamans. Depending on your preferences, you might find yourself gravitating towards one or the other.

Here is the list of top dive sites accessible from each island:

Best Dive Sites in Havelock:   The Wall, Slope, Pilot Reef, Aquarium, Nursery, Tribegate, Jackson’s Bar, Broken Ledge

Best Dive Sites in Neil:   Margherita’s Mischief, Junction, Bus Stop, Nursery (a different one!), Sea Fan City and a few more special ones that are going to be revealed over time.

Wait, wait, wait!

What about the Andaman, you ask – the world-class dive sites like Johnny’s Gorge, Dixon’s Pinnacle, V16, M/V Inchkett and Whitehouse Rock. The good news is – we can access them from both Havelock and Neil.

So as you can see, both Havelock and Neil are very good options. If we had to pick, we’d give Havelock a slight edge for newer divers looking to get some experience in controlled conditions or for divers looking to do some training courses. For advanced divers, we think Neil has the slight edge in terms of dives sites (although that edge is likely to increase in the next 6 months or so).

Scuba diving and Safety during Covid: Ensuring you’re safe.

By Scuba Diving Andamans

Scuba diving and Safety procedures during Covid

 

How do we ensure Safe Diving During COVID-19 Pandemic

As things open up, many people – including us – can’t wait to get back in the water again.     However, while we are all eager to start diving, we feel that some precautions are indeed necessary in these Covid times, both to ensure your safety as well as the safety of the dive professionals who will be taking you diving.

This blog is intended to discuss how to ensure maximum safety when diving.

To set expectations – nothing is perfectly safe.     The only way to be perfectly safe is to be completely isolated at home and avoid contact with others.      However, at this point, most of us are beyond that stage and are doing things like going to work, going out to eat, etc. etc.     So there is a certain “baseline exposure” that we have chosen to accept as part of our daily routines.

The purpose of these precautions is to try to mitigate any additional risk beyond this baseline when you go diving – or even to reduce that baseline level to some degree.

So how do you know the dive shop is safe to dive with, during Covid?

There are 2 main risk vectors when diving – one is risk of transmission from equipment and the other is risk of transmission from people.

As far as equipment risk goes, here are some of steps that responsible dive centers across the world are taking to mitigate it:

  • Sterilizing equipment after every day of use, using methodology recommended by Divers Alert Network or the various scuba manufacturers
  • Ensuring that second stages are not shared by multiple people
  • Changing mouthpieces for every diver
  • Tank filling to be done with the air intake valve kept away from people
  • Use of protective gear (mask, face shield) when filling scuba tanks
  • Regulator and mask to be handled only by the diver using them
  • Minimize handling of any scuba equipment by personnel other than the divers
  • Washed gear to be kept separately and not in contact with other gear
  • Sanitization of all frequent-contact surfaces on a regular basis

 

From a human transmission point of view, the same protocols that we are all used to so far still apply – social distancing, use of masks and frequent sanitization are still the key.      A few additional steps from a diving context:

  • Bring your own bottle for water and get it re-filled
  • Wear a mask/shield on the dive boat for as long as possible
  • Maintain some separation from other divers when on the boat
  • Put on your dive mask and keep it on at all times when on the land or on the boat
  • In the water, if you are going to blow your nose or something similar, do so at some distance from other divers and down current
  • Move from physical classroom time to online classroom
  • Do paperwork electronically, as far as possible
  • Minimize the number of non-divers coming to the dive center

Keep in mind that the risk of transmission works both ways – both the dive center and divers should proactively take steps to care for each other’s safety.    If you feel you have may have been exposed, please isolate yourself.

 

SPECIAL NOTE FOR THE ANDAMANS

The Andamans have a very low COVID caseload.   Havelock and Neil are actually COVID-free.    So in many ways, the risk factor there is higher for the locals and staff, as opposed to visitors – at least initially.

This risk factor in the Andamans is mitigated further.   For starters, all passengers flying in are expected to undergo a COVID test shortly before arrival or upon arrival.      In addition, even taking the ferry requires a recent (within 48 hours) COVID test.    Second, there are regular checks of temperature at every point and also daily checks at the dive center.   Lastly, the open-air nature of the activity and the eco-style rooms also reduce risk.

Footnote: This may also be a good time to buy your own regulator – and if you are interested in buying from us, we are running deals on regulators as well.   Contact us if interested.

Where should you go scuba diving – havelock or neil island?

By Articles, Blogs, Dive Sites, Scuba Diving Andamans

Best Place for scuba diving in India

Where should you go Scuba Diving next?
Havelock Island (SwarapDweep) or Neil island (Shahid Dweep)

Where should you go Scuba Diving next? Here are the best dive sites in Havelock Island and Neil Island to help you decide where you should dive next.

Best Place for scuba diving in India
Havelock Dive Sites:

Dixon’s Pinnacle – Three pinnacles at different depths with abundant soft coral growth on them. Depths range from 17mtrs – 32mtrs. Schooling fish like snappers, fusiliers being hunted by trevally, banner fish, red tooth trigger fish, juvenile emperor angel fish, peacock mantis shrimp, Moray Eel, cleaner shrimps, turtle if you’re lucky. A dive site that is good irrespective of visibility because there’s so much to see. Ideal site for nitrox

Johnny’s Gorge – A gorge with rocks scattered around. Strong currents sometimes at this site. Depth ranges from 18mtrs – 30mtrs. Massive schools of snappers (different types), fusiliers being hunted by trevally, banner fish, White tip reef sharks, occasional turtle, Barracuda school, lovely swim throughs, shit loads of moon jellyfish in summer when waters get warmer…

Jackson’s Bar – Primarily a deep dive site ! A long bar which starts and stays at around 22-23mtrs with the edges dropping down to 30-35mtrs. Lots and lots of sting rays on the bar, soft coral, occasional rays gliding by, huge school of snappers, lots of Moray Eels… I can’t remember much about this site now cuz it’s been that long ?

The Wall – As the name suggests, a reef with one side dropping off to 60mtrs and the other side gently sloping down in the form of huge steps. Soft coral at depth but fish life concentrated between 9 – 15mtrs. Again, massive schools of fish like fusiliers, trevally, snappers, lionfish, angels, octopus, morays, crocodile flatheads, ghost pipefish, scorpion fish and a whole lot more. Easy dive site even if there is a strong current because you can simply hide from it. Perfect for all levels of divers. Except for try divers.

WhiteHouse Rock – Oh boy, where do I even start with this site. My favourite in the Andamans. Coming up from about 60 odd mtrs to as shallow as 8-9 mtrs, this dive site offers everything ! Insane variety of soft coral, fish life like groupers, residential turtles, octopus, Scorpion fish, Barracuda, trevally, rays if lucky. Swimming through the soft ‘black coral’ is like swimming through a forest, then around the corner the type of coral and colours start to change ( I need to look at the names of all those corals, forgot ) perfect site for deep,, Nitrox, fish id specialty dives…

S.S Inchket – Steam Ship Inchket was a Japanese cargo vessel which sank in 1950 (I can’t remember exact date) after hitting a huge rock. It took a long time for the ship to sink and so there were no casualties. The wreck is now an amazing site for all sorts of marine life. Coral, invertebrates, molluscs, reef fish, turtle -all reside here… The ship is broken in two parts and has a couple of narrow swim throughs, however, Penetrating the wreck entirely is not possible. The site ranges from 5mtrs at the bow to the deepest point being at the stern at 18mtrs. Visibility at this site is usually quite low but tends to surprise on some days. Currents if any are quite mild and most often because of thermoclines. A lovely site overall. One of the furthest dive sites from Havelock apart from WhiteHouse Rock, diving these sites requires planning based on the tide to have best conditions.

Best Place for scuba diving in India
Neil Dive Sites :

Junction – called junction because it’s right at the junction of Neil and Havelock ! This is a deep dive site and topography is similar to Jackson’s Bar. Starts off at 23mtrs and goes down to 33mtrs, this dive site has a lot of soft coral and Gorgonian Fan coral in particular. The currents at this site can get really strong and since the life is primarily deep, dives tend to be shorter than others. Huge school of fusiliers feeding on plankton and being hunted by trevally make for an epic dive even if it is short. Strong currents at the junction could be an ideal place for pelagics and so drifting off if you have plenty Air after running low on bottom time could be fruitful.

Bus Stop – Bus stop is a gently sloping dive site with patches of reef and sparkling white sand in-between the reefs. Most often always very clear water at this site. The patches of reef are home to the reef fish and Moray Eels. One particular area where there is a fan coral has around 35 lionfish and can make for quite a site if they are all out in the open and not hiding under the overhang. Sandy bottom is home to a carpet of garden eels facing the direction the current is coming from. This site ranges from 13-22mtrs and continues sloping gently..

Margarita’s Mischief – Another patch reef, this dive site has patches of reef of what is supposed to be volcanic rocks. The way the reef is formed makes the reef patches look like it were some ancient construction with very rectangular shaped rocks placed horizontally and vertically. In between these rocks are invertebrates, morays, sand filled with sting rays, anemones, feather stars, and beautifully colourful Anthias. Surgeon fish, snappers, banner fish, red tooth trigger fish always cloud up the visibility. One section on the reef is where a lot of hunting happens when the current and visibility are just right – most often ! The site is fairly flat and ranges from 12mtrs over the reef patches, to 16mtrs in the sand… Beautiful site for all certification levels.

Fish Slate – Jeeeejus ! Whatasite ! Suitable for all levels of divers from DSDs to experienced certified divers. This site is a reef fringing Neil Island. Has amazing coral life starting at very shallow depths of 5mtrs. Boulder and a variety of branching and table coral make for picturesque views. Visibility at this site is most often clear and schools of fish are massive. Schools of Midnight snappers, chubs, red tail butterfly fish, sweetlips and a whole lot of fusiliers always hovering over the reef are a perfect safety stop. Reticulated Dascyllus and freckled Hawkfish are always above and between the branches of the staghorn coral. If this site really wants to show off, then even a turtle or dugong may show up. The max depth at this site is 12mtrs and currents are mild. A site you should definitely dive at from Neil Island

Busy Buro – A site just out of bounds for open water certified divers in terms of depth. Starts at 16mtrs, this is a flattish reef of volcanic rock. Not too much coral at this site but lots and lots of fish. Schools of yellow snappers at the start, stingrays or marble rays in the sand, lobsters and cleaner shrimp in the crevices followed by white snappers and golden sweetlips at the other end of the rock at 19mtrs make this another site off Neil with different schooling fish. Trevally hunting fusiliers is exciting to watch at this site because of the coordination of the trevally hunting and fusiliers darting all of a sudden.. Currents could be from none to moderate.

K Rock – haven’t dived it much. Only a couple of times so far..

Anchor Line – Another reef fringing Neil Island, a site ideal for DSD and open water course divers. This site has a  Sandy bottom at 6mtrs and reef filled with live boulder and branching coral. Schooling fish doing their thing and the sand bed right by it, makes it a perfect dive site for beginner divers to watch and understand why one gets hooked to diving. Easy relaxing dive site !

Nursery – This site is on the western side of Neil Island and again is a reef fringing the island. Schooling fish, lobsters, stingrays, octopus and cuttlefish are what can be seen here. A site suitable for all levels of divers starting at 6mtrs and upto about 12mtrs.

Dive Site: The Slope

By Articles, Blogs, Dive Sites, Scuba Diving Andamans

DIVE Site: The Slope

DIVE PROFILE

MAX DEPTH: 18 meters | 12 meters, depending on diver certification level
AVERAGE DEPTH: 7-10 meters
BOTTOM TIME: 45 – 60 minutes

About the Dive Site: The Slope

The Slope is one of our favourite shallow dive sites because we’ve known and befriended its residents for many years now. In terms of proximity, Slope is the Wall’s closest neighbour but despite the nearness, the topography could not be more different. Imagine the Slope to look like an amphitheatre with parallel ridges placed like cascading rows of seats gently sloping downwards. The ridges are mostly sandy but interspersed every now and then with large boulders of corals. This is a fairly large dive site and needs to be dived more than once to see all of it. On the flipside, there is a lot that you can see here, even without covering the whole extent of it.

The sandy patches are great places to look for echinoderms (sea stars, cushion stars, brittle stars, sea cucumbers), molluscs and crustaceans. The boulders are where you see clouds of damselfish, fusiliers and cardinalfish. Reef fish are in good diversity and abundance here. Groupers keep territories around here and you can observe this behaviour unfold as you swim over the rocks.
We consider the Slope to be shrimp central. Look here for banded boxer shrimps, Durban dancing shrimps, ambon shrimps, marbled shrimps, glass shrimps, cleaner shrimps and several more. Forgot to mention how this site is also a great place to look for pipefish, scorpionfish, anemonefish, boxfish, giant clams, wrasses, barrel sponges, gorgonians and sea whips. There is the occasional sea turtle, Kuhl’s sting ray, Buford’s crocodile flathead and banded sea krait spotted here as well. To paint the water blue and silver, there are red-toothed triggers and mackerel always passing by.

As we shallow up towards the end of the dive, we pay a quick visit to the submerged pillars of a floating white lighthouse which is home to oysters, peacock mantis shrimps, schooling batfish and different species of lionfish. We like to end our dive at the shallowest ridge which lies at approximately 5 meters deep, best enjoyed during your safety stop!

If you are coming to us to fun dive, do your open water, advanced, underwater naturalist or deep specialities…we can take you to the wall 🙂

Pictures clicked at Dive Site: The Slope, Andamans

Dive Site: The Wall

By Blogs, Dive Sites, Scuba Diving Andamans

Dive Site: The Wall

DIVE PROFILE

MAX DEPTH: 30 meters | 18 meters | 12 meters, depending on diver certification level
AVERAGE DEPTH: 12-15 meters
BOTTOM TIME: 45 – 60 minutes

About the Dive Site: The Wall

This is a dive site for all seasons, all conditions and all diver levels.

The wall is located very close to Havelock Island and takes 10 to 15 minutes to get to by boat from DIVEIndia. It is one of the first dive sites to be discovered around Havelock back in 2004. We love the Wall because of its crazy topography, very unlike any of our other dive sites in the same vicinity.

We descend down to a ridge that lies between 10-12 meters below the surface. The ridge is a mix of coral rocks and sandy beds. Here we look for schooling, territorial or camouflaging reef fish, octopus, cuttlefish and squids, a host of macroinvertebrates, while also hoping to bump into the harem of Napolean wrasses resident at the wall.

The magical drop-off begins almost immediately, the moment you swim east of the ridge. The wall runs parallel to the ridge for about 80 meters and culminates at a cliff-like edge. We swim along the wall, admiring the scene like an art gallery with a variety of coral, hydroid trees, oysters, feather stars and small caves on display. Depending on the direction of the current and how strong it is, we either make our way back along the wall to where we started or we continue to the other shallower side of the ridge while we look for big groupers, snappers, sweetlips, parrotfish, butterflyfish, angelfish, moray eels, lionfish and enormous scorpionfish. But first, we spend a few moments at the cliff because that’s where the big-eye trevallies, giant trevallies and barracudas come in to hunt the schooling fusiliers, scads and mackerel, especially when the visibility is low. A sight to behold!

The wall is great if you are into big, schooling fish but also for those with an eye for macro life, be it molluscs like nudibranchs and snails, crustaceans such as commensal shrimps and crabs, crinoids or polychaete worms. If we are lucky, we might find an ornate ghost pipefish lurking behind one the feather stars along the wall!

December to March marks the octopus mating season here in Havelock, increasing the probability of finding octopuses in action-hunting, courting or mating. We like to give these guys some space so we can see their natural behaviours unfold.

If you are coming to us to fun dive, do your open water, advanced, underwater naturalist or deep specialities…we can take you to the wall 🙂

Pictures clicked at Dive Site: The Wall, Andamans

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Dive Site: Peel Lighthouse

By Blogs, Dive Sites, Scuba Diving Andamans

DIVE Site: Peel, Lighthouse

DIVE PROFILE

MAX DEPTH: 12 meters
AVERAGE DEPTH: 8-10 meters
BOTTOM TIME: 45 – 60 minutes

About the Dive Site: Peel Lighthouse

We discovered this dive site not too long ago, when stormy weather prevented us from venturing out to our sites further out. Our dive team’s fearless leader at the time, Vikas Nairi, decided to explore the seas for reefs that are closer and storm protected. That is how this beautiful patch of reef was found, sitting quietly around a floating red lighthouse ten minutes outside of DIVEIndia.

This reef is circular, surrounded by sand on all sides. It experiences some of the strongest currents we’ve felt, during tide changes around new and full moons. Some of the biggest barrel sponges, fan coral, soft coral and hydroid trees we’ve seen close to Havelock have also been here, thanks to these infrequent strong currents.

Just like with our dive site the Slope, we swim through the pillars of the floating lighthouse to look for beautiful feather duster worms, cowries, slugs, moray eels, lionfish, puffers, crustaceans and schooling fish in the blue.

This dive site is great for long shallow dives as well as drift dives depending on the current affairs.

The sand patch around the reef is a common resting site for Kuhl’s sting rays. In search of sting rays we often come across nudibranchs, flounders and a good diversity of beautiful goby-shrimp partnerships.

The owners of the Full Moon Café contributed their age-old cycle and scooter to this dive site some years ago, as artificial structures to support more reef life. We’ll take you there 🙂

Irrespective of the dive conditions, currents and visibility-wise, there is always a lot to see and experience, for certified divers of all levels as well as folks still learning to dive.

Pictures clicked at Dive Site: Peel Lighthouse, Andamans

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Has Boat Diving Resumed in the Andamans?

By Andaman scuba diving course, Blogs, Scuba Diving Andamans

Is Boat Diving back in the Andamans (Havelock and Neil) Islands?

(Is Boat Diving back in the Andamans? The question everyone has been asking us)

Short version:  Yes, boat diving is on – and has been since early August!

Long version:  All boats have been required to be re-classified.   One of our boats has been done and has been operating since early August.   The others are in queue, and should get done soon.    So yes, we are back to boat diving, albeit with lower capacity than earlier for now.    With the support of the Andamans administration, this process is going to be streamlined even further and we expect to be back to normal operations for good within a few weeks.
Here’s a link to our scuba diving packages!!! 🙂
Boat diving in the andamans
Boat diving resumed in the andaman islands - havelock and neil
Boat diving in the andaman islands - diveindia
Is Boat Diving back in the Andamans
Can you scuba dive if you can’t swim?

Can you scuba dive if you can’t swim?

By Andaman scuba diving course, Articles, Blogs, Scuba Diving Andamans

SCUBA DIVING IN THE ANDAMANS – FOR NON-SWIMMERS

One of the most common question we get from people coming to the Andamans and wanting to try scuba diving (or even from people who want to try diving in their home city) is: “I don’t know how to swim – can i try scuba diving?”

Can you scuba dive if you can’t swim?

The answer is:  yes, you can

To get certified as a diver, you need to know basic swimming (ability to float or tread water for 10 min, swim 200m unaided/300m with mask-fins-snorkel). However, to do introductory scuba diving program such as Try Scuba or a PADI Discover Scuba Diving program, swimming is not required.

So what is the difference and why?

The introductory scuba diving program, be it the very basic Try Scuba or the more immersive/experience-rich PADI Discover Scuba Diving, is designed to give people a taste of scuba.  There is a dive professional in the water with you at all times, who is responsible your safety during the program.

The certification course is designed for people who want to take up this amazing sport in a more in-depth manner, and who want to keep exploring the oceans in different parts of the world – it is designed to create divers who are trained in diving procedures and skills, including safety/emergency procedures, and who can dive without professional supervision.   As such, swimming is a requirement.

So why do people go through all this trouble to get certified?  Can’t they just do more introductory scuba experiences wherever they go!

Well, yes, they can.  Nothing wrong with that and many people do just that.

However, the intro programs are all designed to be just that – intro.   While the instructor does handle your safety in such cases, there are several things that the instructor cannot do for you.   So all responsible dive centers conduct the Intro to Scuba / Try Scuba / PADI Discover Scuba Diving programs in locations where the conditions are benign, predictable and as much within the instructor’s control as possible.

For first timers, these is still a marvellous experience – virtually everyone who tries scuba for the first time comes out having experienced the “wow” factor.

But… the “wow” becomes “OMG I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT WOWOWOWOW!!!” when you get certified:   it is yet another level of amazing when you are able to go deeper.   That’s when you get to have experiences that match what you see on Nat Geo.   And for that, certification is indeed required – as is swimming