Where can I go scuba diving and bungee jumping in India?
Mohit Garg, New Delhi
Scuba diving in India can be done in Goa, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar islands. For Goa, check out Barracuda Diving (www.barracudadiving.com) and Goa Diving (www.goadiving.com). For Lakshadweep, the dive operators are Lacadives (www.lacadives.com) and Bangaram Island Resort (www.lakshadweepislandtours.com).
Goa Diving also operates in Lakshadweep. For the Andamans, contact Dive India (www.diveindia.com).
The diving season starts in October and continues till the arrival of the monsoon.
For a beginner, I feel Goa is the best place to go to. The two dive shops in Goa have people who are particularly skilled in helping overcome fear — Karen Gregory of Barracuda Diving and Willie Downie of Goa Diving.
Swimming is not a routine childhood activity in Indian cities. Adults learning to dive sometimes have to overcome the feeling of unease underwater. On the down side, Goa has poor visibility due to iron ore in the water. Lakshadweep is famed for its brilliant waters.
From the monetary point of view as well, Goa is the better option since travel and stay are cheaper there than in Lakshadweep and the Andamans. I usually tell people to get their first taste of diving in Goa and then, if it catches their fancy, go to Lakshadweep and the Andamans to take their interest further.
At the moment, bungee jumping is in a spot of controversy in India over safety considerations. Though there are operators with hundred per cent safety records in India, I would urge you to go to Nepal where you will have the added advantage of doing the world’s fourth highest bungee jump. Check out Bungy Nepal at www.bungynepal.com or call +977-1-4700525.
What sort of sun protection should I use on a high-altitude trek? What is the difference between sunblock and sunscreen? Which is more effective?
First, choose between sunscreen and sunblock. A sunscreen contains chemicals that alter after contact with the skin and keep the ultraviolet (UV) rays from penetrating the skin. Sunscreen becomes effective 30 minutes after application.
A sunblock works by being a physical barrier between the skin and the rays so it is effective immediately after application. If the label says you must wait for 30 minutes before going into the sun, it is a sunscreen.
Second, check whether the product protects against UVA or UVB rays or both. Buy it only if it protects against both. UVA rays cause permanent damage. UVB rays cause temporary damage, that is, tanning or sunburn.
Third, check the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) number. For high altitude, use SPF 30 and above.