Scuba diving in India was closed for the season, what with the rains pouring down here. So, it was an obvious choice that we, at Planet Scuba India, plan a diving holiday to the Maldives. A holiday that we will never forget.
Scuba diving in the Maldives
Here there were whale sharks, manta rays, sting rays, octopus, cuttlefish, turtles, sharks, and also, as the locals call it, UMS or ‘usual Maldivian stuff’. A term that shouldn’t be shrugged off lightly, since it includes the entire range of sea creatures, from cute little clown fish to elusive moray eels and pouty Napoleon wrasses. Truly, scuba diving in the Maldives never ceases to fascinate! And it doesn’t matter how many times you have ‘giant-leaped’ into the crystal clear waters.
The fascinating underwater world
Planet Scuba India’s August 11 – 16, 2018 dive holiday on the Honors Legacy liveaboard was a breathtaking experience. Nineteen scuba divers from India headed to the tranquil waters of Ari Atoll. These included six divers completing their PADI Open Water Diver courses, and four completing their PADI Advanced Open Water Diver courses. Call it beginners’ luck, but dive after dive revealed magical surprises. The hungry whale shark happily feeding its way through the waters off Dhigurah in South Ari Atoll. Majestic manta rays sprucing up at cleaning stations. Cuttlefish getting all territorial about its mate. Turtles languidly swimming past. And then, there was the colorful and varied every day traffic of fish species that had cameras swiveling in every direction, in an underwater photography frenzy.
Night dive at Alimatha
Oh, and the night traffic of nurse sharks, by the dozens, at Alimatha resort house reef, Vaavu Atoll. We saw nurse sharks lazing around, scouring for food in the light of our torches, and scratching their bellies in the sand. While stingrays hovered around trying to grab the limelight. And a hermit crab quietly stole a mollusk shell and trotted away, hoping no one would notice. All the activity made this one of our most exciting night dives in the Maldives.
Scuba divers from India hoist the national flag
Finally, as it has been every year, on India’s Independence Day, Planet Scuba India hoisted the national flag underwater. The tricolour unfurled against the dramatic underwater landscape of colorful reefs and schools of fish, in the hands of fun scuba divers from India, enjoying their magical diving holiday in the Maldives.
Ehsan Niroomand has joined Planet Scuba India as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and Assistant Manager of the upcoming Mumbai dive center this month. Originally from Pune and a swimmer all his life, Ehsan has mastered many skills over the years. He was certified as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor in Malaysia early this year. With 4 years of experience in the Dive Industry, Ehsan has dived in some of the best dive locations in the world, including Sipadan and Mabul Islands. He has more than 800 dives to his credit. His deepest dive has been 57 meters.
With a Bachelors of Arts in History and having dabbled with Hotel Management and Interior design, Scuba Diving was the only logical career choice for Ehsan ever since his father threw him in a lake when he was 6 months old. Directed by his sense of adventure and love for the ocean, he headed to the the pearly sands of the Perhentian Islands where he began his journey underwater. Ehsan has chosen to preach Scuba in India and is working on a platform that takes the intrepid few to exotic dive destinations worldwide.
His qualifications include:
- Open Water Scuba Instructor
- EFR Instructor
- Care for Children Instructor
- Enriched Air Instructor
- AWARE Coral Reef Conservation Specialty Instructor
- Project Aware Instructor
- Peak Performance Buoyancy Instructor
This appointment comes close at the heels of the appointment of Suzanne Coombs as the IDC Staff Instructor for Planet Scuba India’s Andaman Diving Academy. This bodes well for the aspiring dive enthusiasts in the country as they now have a chance to train under two of the most accomplished dive instructors in the industry.
After missing out last weekend due to unforeseen circumstances, we are bringing the DSD sessions back this coming weekend. Bangalore can now continue to experience the thrill of diving underwater right here in town. The sessions start this Saturday, August 6, at the St. Josephs Indian high School pool at 10:00 AM, and bookings are now open! Check out the pretty little graphic below, and contact us for confirmation of your booking. Let’s go dive!
Well, this is certainly an exciting time here at Planet Scuba India!
We have two fantastic dive trips planned in August-September this year, and the response has been overwhelming! We announced a liveaboard trip to Maldives last month, starting from August 7, and within a month, all 22 seats were booked! So vehement was the response, that we were almost forced into planning a second liveaboard to Hanifaru Bay! The second trip is starting from the 22nd of August, and goes on till the 28th. Seats are still open for this trip and you can email Mark for more details like pricing and prerequisites. He’ll be more than happy to help you out with the planning of the trip.
Incidentally, this is the last time the Maldives government is allowing liveaboards and active diving in Hanifaru Bay for fear of the delicate balance being upset. It’s the feeding season for the Manta Rays and you don’t want to miss this feature!
We also have a dive trip planned to Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, starting from the 30th of August. This is not a liveaboard, but rather an all expense paid 5-day dive trip to one of the most pristine dive spots in the world. Some of the world’s best wreck diving happens in these waters, and you get to be a part of this amazing experience. Again, Mark’s the guy for you to get in touch with for more information on this.
In other news, we are thrilled to play host to Mr. Hans Ullrich, the PADI regional manager South Asia, who is visiting Bangalore this week! We are planning a meet & greet party for him, to give him a chance to meet and interact with divers and dive enthusiasts in the city. It’s a BYOB thing, and you are invited! Yes, you guessed it. Email Mark for more info!
Images Courtesy: National Geographic
As promised here is a write-up on drift diving speciality. This will be available on the Maldives Trip and it highly recommended as Maldives is one of the best places to enjoy drift diving.
If until now your experience has been that current are something you fight to swim against; drift diving will give you a whole new perspective. Drift diving grew out of the philosophy, “if you can’t beat them,join them” and is the prevailing practice in many areas with nearly continuous strong currents.
Drift diving can give you a real adrenaline pump. At some drift dive sites,the current rips you along far faster than you could swim, or even cruise with a DPV (Dive Propulsion Vehicle), sailing you along effortlessly. Some divers compare drift diving in clear water to hand gliding or horizontal sky diving but no airplane needed and you don’t have to worry about your chute opening.
Advantages of Drift Diving
- Drift diving usually requires little effort. During the dive, you just go along for the ride, buzzing through the scenery with the current “swimming ” for you.
- Drift diving opens up dive sites that are nearly impossible to visit any other way. In particular, rivers and some reefs are constantly in strong current that precludes non drift dive techniques.
- Since you are floating along in the current, you cover more area and see more on a drift dive.
- Many types of drift diving relieve you of having to return to or look for a specific exit point. The boat travels with you.
All you have to do right now is contact us and book for your drift diving speciality for the Maldives Dive Trip happening this month. Don’t miss out on a great oppurtunity!!