Till a few years ago, Prahlad Kakkarfs Lacadives was the only establishment in the city that offered certified scuba diving courses from international organisations like PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). Back then, learning the basic course meant taking a week to 10 days off and heading to the Lakshadweep. Now, Lacadives and Anees Adenwalafs Orca Dive Club can teach you the basics in city swimming pools. This helps save you both, time and money, as you donft need to waste time on a remote island taking an exam or getting familiarised with the equipment.
Professional diving instructor, Adenwala, who has had many forays into Bollywood (his most recent being making the all-star cast of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara comfortable underwater), says, “It makes a lot of sense to learn your theory in the city, before completing the course in the open sea in places like the Andaman Islands and the Lakshadweep. Since we conduct the sessions over the weekend, it doesn’t get in the way of work.”
Jurgen Van Duffel, partner and instructor at Lacadives, agrees, saying, “If you have money and time at your disposal, it’s logical to learn diving in one place, be it Thailand or the Maldives. But our club helps you finish the essentials at a cheaper cost. That way you maximise your diving time in the open sea during the second stage of the course.”
Van Duffel, who quit his job as a banker in London seven years ago, also emphasises that the tranquil undersea experience is something one shouldn’t miss out on. “Since gravity is less apparent, it’s like being an astronaut in space. I love the serenity and calmness that’s so removed from everyday life.”
Ask diving enthusiast Vikram Gupta, 30, who’s made trips to Indonesia’s Sulwesi, South Africa, Lakshadweep and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, what he loves about the sport, and he says, “Not only is it a constructive hobby and recreation, it’s excellent for eco-consciousness too. Also, if you’re a regular diver, it keeps you fit since you’re swimming in the water for up to an hour.”
Also, there is no weight criterion, which means that anyone can participate. That makes this Adenwala signs off adding, “As long as you’re reasonably fit and know how to stay afloat and swim, you’re good to go.” Orca Dive Club has trained 100 divers int the past three years. Lacadives sees about 20 people a month at their centre in the city.
Keep this in mind before you dive:
What it costs:
# The basic two-day course on diving theory costs approximately R 15,000 at Lacadives and Orca Dive Club. R 5,000 of which is the PADI fee.
# To complete the PADI open water certification, you will need to spend anything between R 20,000 to 50,000 depending on the location.
Most popular diving location:
# Tarkarli in the Malwan region of Maharashtra
# Netrani island off the Murudeshwar coast in Karnataka
# Kadmat island in the Lakshadweep
# Havelock island in the Andamans