Why Sipadan should be on your dive bucket list

Dive Sipadan with the world’s most unique dive resort, the SEAVENTURES DIVE RIG

Rated number 1 on CNN’s tour of Asia’s most spectacular underwater dive sites, Sipadan is the only oceanic island in Malaysia, rising 600m (2,000 feet) from sea bed. Formed over thousands years by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcano off  the south east coast of Sabah, Malaysia,  Sipadan  is well known for its stunning underwater scenery and large numbers of marine species.

Gaining prominence around early 80s, Sipadan quickly became one of the top dive destinations on every divers must–do bucket list and was the favorite place in the world for Jacques Cousteau, the diving world’s most well-known name.  For Jacques who had more or less dived the entire world in the early days of diving with little pollution and plastics in the oceans, to call this place the best, it had to be really spectacular.

Sipadan is surrounded by very rich reef life consisting of both hard and soft coral as well as all manner of reef fish. Sea turtles and white tip reef sharks can be seen on almost every dive and hammerhead and leopard sharks can also be seen at. Huge schools of jackfish, barracudas and bumphead parrotfish are also seen especially around Barracuda Point, which is the most prime dive spot which gave Sipadan its fame. The unforgettable experience of being completely surrounded by schools of  jackfish or barracuda “tornado” as they change direction is mostly around this dive spot.

It is almost impossible to list all the fish and other sea creatures that you might encounter underwater when diving at Sipadan. Among the species are schools of big-eye trevallies, many turtles, tornado-like formations of barracudas, schools of bumphead parrotfishes, giant mantas, eagle rays, schools of tunas, many species of sharks including schools hammerhead sharks, whale sharks and thousands of other species of fish.

In addition to Sipadan, where the diving opportunities may be controlled to retain the diversity, the other dive sites around Mabul and Kapalai also are a feast to watch with multitudes of converging marine life. Blue skies, clear waters, convenient diving and tropical scenery, but it is below the surface where this island really excels.  One of the island’s unique features is a turtle tomb, an underwater limestone cave that features many narrow tunnels and chambers containing the remains of green sea turtles that have become trapped and drowned. This spot however is not open to novice divers and requires a fair amount of experience before trying it. Divemasters and dive guides make sure the proper training and regulations are followed with safety as priority.

sipadan planet scuba india

Join Planet Scuba India on the Dive trip to Sipadan, April 17-24, 2018

The value of owning your own Scuba equipment


There are many advantages to owning your own dive equipment. Just as in any sport, once you have a personal set of equipment, you tend to use it more often and also get better at what you are doing with it. Familiarity with a personal set of scuba gear means greater comfort and a better dive experience. In a practical sense, being unsure of the quality and fit of the scuba equipment you rent can always be a nagging problem  you may have to deal with time and again. It is a sigh of relief if you dive frequently, and having that level of comfort knowing it is your own gear can make a lot of difference to your dive experience. More importantly, it can help you avoid an emergency situation.

Safety if an emergency arises
From a safety perspective, owning your own gear ensures you know how to manipulate it in an emergency – ditching weights for example. Get to know your gear: practice adjusting it and ask your PADI Instructor for recommendations. By consistently diving with the same equipment you’ll learn how things are “supposed” to feel which will also help you dial in scuba skills such as buoyancy.

If you frequently dive with the same buddy, it’s beneficial for both divers to own their own gear. By knowing your buddy’s equipment, you’ll be better prepared to deal with an unexpected problem. Consider an out of air situation: when seconds matter you’ll want to know whether to go for a yellow second stage, or if your buddy will give you his primary while breathing off a secondary located on his inflator. Another common problem is a readjusting a tank that’s slipped; knowing your buddy’s buckles and releases makes this a lot easier to fix in the water.

Not sure which piece of scuba gear to invest in first?
You probably own your own mask, fins and snorkel. If not, it’s a good idea to get these items first as there isn’t one mask that fits all faces, and who wants to use a snorkel that’s been in someone else’s mouth? Once you have the basics, it’s time to move on to the big stuff: BCD, dive computer, regulator, etc. Of these, the most practical and essential would be the dive computer, as it becomes more essential once you begin to dive regularly. The level of accuracy provided by the dive computer with regards to depths, water temperatures and more importantly the decompression limits definitely makes you enjoy your every dive and keeps you wanting more.

Original article: Sourced from blog @ PADI.com

Aqua Lung Pro HD BCD – A review by Dive India


By Vandit Kalia, Dive India Scuba & Resorts, Havelock Island

The Aqualung Pro HD BCD is a personal favorite of mine.  I owned the previous version of this (Seaquest Pro HD, before they were re-branded) for several years and found it an extremely comfortable jacket-style BCD.    

The air pockets have some structure to them, so the air bubbles doesnt move all over the place (as in some other BCDs) and robust tank support and structure in the back means that the tank stays firmly put, without rolling from side to side.

This BCD has integrated weights and one feature i consider near-essental – trim pockets. These are weight pockets located around your shoulders:  by storing 1-2 kg there, you can move the center of your buoyancy higher up, which allows you to get a better, neutral trim (in other words, you can hold any body position you want – horizontal or inclined – without any issues).    

pro_hd_frontThis system of distributed weights (2 integrated weight pockets and 2 trim pockets) gives you more ditch options:   if you are diving in cold water where you need to plan for the contingency of dropping weights, this gives you more options as compared to a weight belt (which is all or nothing).
The Aqualung Pro HD BCD uses a high-denier fabric, which is more robust, more abrasion-proof and less likely to fade or look raggedy over time. Lastly, the BCD comes with more than enough lift to handle cold water diving as well (13kg of lift for a size M).    

And it has more than enough D-rings and attachment points to hold all your accessories. As I mentioned earlier, I used to own this many, many years ago and sold it because i was diving with a tech harness only.  In terms of price/performance, this is probably one of the best BCDs in the market today, period.
For more information on Aqua Lung Pro HD BCD, please contact us.

Top 12 Dive sites of Maldives – By Scuba Diver Life

Maldives is underwater heaven for divers, naturalists and anyone who loves the sea in its pristine form. More than anything else, it is how the small nation has left its wild free of human interference.  Scuba Diver Life tells us what makes the Atolls so spectacular for divers.

12 Great Dive Sites in Maldives

By Scuba Diver Life


The island nation is one of the tiniest in the world and is famous for its white-sand beaches and spectacular diving. Here are some of the best diving spots.

  • Cocoa Corner

    By Scuba Diver Life

    The best shark sight-seeing in the Male Atoll, Cocoa Corner’s protected marine area has beautiful coral reefs and sharp drop offs making it perfect for wall diving.

  • Kottey Outside

    By Scuba Diver Life

    For intermediate to advanced divers, this dive spot in Addu Atoll is liked for its dramatic landscape and shallow to deep diving.

  • Banana Reef

    By Scuba Diver Life

    The first dive spot to be discovered in Maldives, this popular destination has a varied landscape. Explore caves, cliffs, overhangs all while enjoying the views.

  • British Loyalty

    By Scuba Diver Life

    Maldives’ biggest wreck is 134m long, sitting at a depth of 33m, and is an attractive site for divers who want to explore the ship and the coral formations that have grown onto it.

  • Kuda Haa

    By Scuba Diver Life

    In the North Male Atoll, this tiny thila has many visitors of schools of fish and divers alike. A great site for beginniner divers, its isolation makes for a beauty unlike anything else.

  • Fotteyo Kandu

    By Scuba Diver Life

    This beautiful underwater island is located in the middle of a narrow channel, where divers can swim through and around hidden caves as they spot gray reef sharks.

  • Kalhahandi Kandu

    By Scuba Diver Life

    Nicknamed “Panettone” because of its resemblance to an Italian fruitcake, the diverse coral structures and formations attract tons of angelfish, puffer fish, butterfly fish, scorpion fish and more.

  • Broken Rock

    By Scuba Diver Life

    Through the channel of Ari Atoll’s broken rock, divers can see puffer fish, trigger fish and moray eels and can dive between 40-100 feet when not battling strong currents.

  • Gangehi Kandu

    By Scuba Diver Life

    To the north of Atoll, this site is home to strong currents and great variety of sharks and colorful coral formations. The area is sanctioned for advanced divers.

  • Kudarah Thila

    By Scuba Diver Life

    Perhaps the most popular site in Maldives, divers flock to these “pinnacles” for the myriad marine life, such as trumpet fish, dart fish, oriental sweetlips and gray reef sharks and turtles.

  • Maaya Thila

    By Scuba Diver Life

    All divers are welcomed here (except when currents are awfully strong) for day or night diving, where they’ll encounter octopus, stonefish, white tip reef sharks.

  • Hukrueli Faru

    By Scuba Diver Life

    Commonly known as Rangali Madivaru because of the plethora of manta rays seen here during monsoon season, the depths range from 25-100 feet.

Diving Maldives

It is the most beautiful place in the world to dive. Come, Experience diving in the Maldives with us. And it is not expensive, as people make it out to be. It is cheaper than going to the Andaman Islands

Scuba in the City. Now learn diving in your hometown

(Image courtesy: Planet Scuba India)

Are you ready to take the plunge?

(Image courtesy: iStock)
(Image courtesy: iStock)

Dive centres in the city offer the Open Water Diver Certification course that is certified by the global governing body, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). The course is a three-step programme over 4-5 days, at the end of which you will be certified to dive anywhere in the world.

There are three parts to this program:-

  • Knowledge development
  • Confined Water Training
  • Sea Dives

In Bangalore, PADI Open Water Courses are conducted every weekend by Planet Scuba India. The theory and swimming pool training is held over one weekend and the four mandatory sea dives are held in Goa or a location of your choice on another weekend. Depending on your leave and time available, the program can be customized for you.

In Mumbai, you can learn at the Orca Dive Club from the same instructors who taught Katrina Kaif diving for her role in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Aamir Khan for Dhoom 3. The Orca Dive Club offers a special Junior dive course for divers between the ages of 10 and 15.

 Open Water Diver Certification course

(Image courtesy: Planet Scuba India)
(Image courtesy: Planet Scuba India)

The PADI Open Water course comprises three main phases including Knowledge Development (where you will learn all the theory needed to become a PADI Open Water Certified Diver ), Confined Water Dives (where you and a PADI-Certified Scuba  Instructor will build upon the knowledge you have gained from the theory sessions during 5 sessions in a swimming pool; you will learn all the skills needed to enable you to proceed to the sea) and Open Water Dives, where you will fully experience the underwater world (Your PADI-Certified Scuba  Instructor will lead you on 4  sea  dives over 2 days where you will finally show off the skills you have learned in the pool.

The PADI course requires that participants be medically fit, be able to swim (though some courses will teach you this) and be at least 10 years of age.

Advantages to learning in your city – 30% savings

(Image courtesy: Orca Dive club)
(Image courtesy: Orca Dive club)

Learning scuba diving in your own city saves you up to 30% in terms of cost; the time you save is of course immeasurable and devoid of potential delays and non-completion, if you were  on a beach holiday. The usually limited water skills of most Indians means that you need extra time to become comfortable underwater, something that is either not possible due to prohibitive costs or due to lack of time on a holiday.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I bring with me ?  Swim wear , Sun Screen , Towel , Sun Glasses
  • What if I have a problem with motion sickness ? Speak to your local Pharmacy before your experience , they have various remedies .
  • What if I can’t complete my Dives in the 2 Days ? You have 12 months to complete your course ( charges  apply )

 Best scuba destinations

(Image courtesy: iStock)
(Image courtesy: iStock)

There are plenty of scuba diving destinations in the world. Tropical diving, which is most popular due to the warmth of the water and beautiful reef systems, happens between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, but there is diving wherever there is a sea. The best known destinations in the world are Southeast Asia (Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia), Micronesia and island nations around it in the Pacific, Australia, Red Sea (Egypt) (pictured above), South Africa and the Caribbean. They have a very well-developed infrastructure in terms of boats, safety norms, environmental protection and hotel rooms.

Luxury dive holidays

(Image courtesy: iStock)
(Image courtesy: iStock)

Liveaboards or Luxury Dive Yachts have become a major global trend over the last decade. With the motto – Eat, Sleep and Dive – these Liveaboards reduce a lot of hard work that divers from land-based dive centres have to undertake (carrying equipment, waiting in the boat and walking back after a tiring dive). This is also an ideal solution for quickly increasing room availability in the destinations such as Lakshadweep and Andamans, owing to limited infrastructure and environmental constraints in building new hotels. This has given rise to demand for good infrastructure and new destinations. India is well positioned to capitalise on these.

 Diving centres in your city

Bangalore (Planet Scuba India)

  • Contact: Madhava Reddy

Mumbai (Orca Dive Club)

  • Contact: Anees Adenwala

Delhi (Prafull’s Scuba Diving Academy)

Kochi (Neel Underwater Services)

  • Contact: Gilbert Antony

Hyderabad (Livein Adventures)

  • Contact: Balaram Naidu

Chennai (Chennai Dive Club)

  • Contact: John Aj

Pune (Absolute Scuba)

  • Contact: Siddharth Pujari