Summer is here and the scorching heat is forcing everyone to seek either cooler climes or the closest water body. But the rising temperatures are also a good enough reason to suit up, take a dive and explore underwater paradises within the country or around the world. And Indian travellers seem to be doing just that.
“Scuba diving is gaining popularity with Indian travellers as it adds an element of thrill to the holiday, thanks to activities like underwater photography,” says Vishal Suri, chief executive officer, tour operating Kuoni India. He adds that the sheer variety of the marine life and the crystal clear waters off the Indian coasts promise good scuba-diving experiences.
Sunil Hasija, executive director, TUI India, too agrees that the interest in adventure sports has been on the rise, as Indians are looking at holidays that allow them to explore more. Sheema Mookherjee, publisher, Lonely Planet India, adds, “There has definitely been a rise in both the number of people going scuba diving and the number of companies providing professional diving services.”
For those looking to start off on desi shores, Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox & Kings Ltd, reveals, “In India, the popular destinations include Goa, Havelock (Andaman), Pondicherry, Netrani Island (Karnataka) and Lakshwadeep.”
But if it is international destinations that you seek to test waters, here are a few options-some tried while the others remain untested.
Kurumba, Maldives: There is abundant exotic marine life and millions of years of coral growth to allow divers to slip into an enchanting world.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia: Places like the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Ningaloo in Western Australia, Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, the scenic Clovelly in Sydney and Gordons Bay in New South Wales, shelter a treasure trove of marine life, with more than 4,000 species of fish and the world’s highest diversity of seagrass.
British Columbia, Canada: The province is gorgeous and has the world’s best temperate climate for diving. Witness weird and wonderful creatures like nudibranchs and wolf eels. The Browning Pass Wall is a great spot for a wall dive packed with bizarre marine life.
Manta Ray Night Dive, Kailua Kona, Hawaii: It holds some of the most amazing sights of underwater sea life.
Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt: The park contains 20 dive sites, many of them rank among the Red Sea’s finest.
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil: It is one of the best scuba diving locations in South America. Life below the sea is the main attraction. Sea tortoises, dolphins, albatrosses and many other species are frequently observed.
Melilla, Spain: Located on the African coast, it has wild and untouched seabeds, all thanks to the low level of human exploitation in the area over the ages. Scuba diving in Melilla is both an adventure and a spectacle.
Kos and Corfu, Greece: One of the country’s many hidden sides is its destinations suitable for diving. The main spots are the islands of Kos, Corfu, Zakynthos and Cret.
Rocktail Bay, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa: The spot offers plenty of tropical fish and excellent chances of seeing some really big pelagic species, and is truly a diver’s paradise.
Pigeon Island, Sri Lanka: It is coming up in a big way for the Indian travellers. This island offers crystal waters, shallow reefs, colourful fish, and diving and snorkelling.
Great Blue Hole, Belize: When seen from above, the Great Blue Hole looks like the pupil of an eye. Seen from within, this UNESCO World Heritage-listed ocean sinkhole is a visual treat for divers.
Tutukaka Wreck Dive, New Zealand: Only 10 minutes off the Tutukaka Coast, it is a spot where two ex-Navy ships sank almost 11 years ago. The twin wrecks, the ex-HMNZS Waikato and the ex-HMS Tui, are established artificial reefs with schooling fish, encrusting life and is a total playground for adventure seekers.
Islands of the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand: The islands, from the tip of Coromandel Peninsula to Bream Head offer divers, snorkellers and sightseers an untouched and breathtaking experience of New Zealand. Underwater explorers can catch a glimpse of dense school fish and brightly-coloured invertebrate.