Well, this was something I was hoping from a long time to happen and finally it had to be in Andamans, where else!
Being an adventure freak, I'm game for adventure sports and was more than eager to go scuba diving very well knowing the fact that I do not know swimming and I'm not very comfortable being under water...!
So, when my friend Kesava (http://www.birdwing.in/about-us/) started planning for the birding trip to Andamans, I pestered him to spare a day for scuba and it was booked with Infinity Scuba, Andamans (http://infinityscubandamans.com/) for a session of scuba diving at Chidiya tapu near Port Blair and not Havelock Islands, where most of the crowd tend to do it.
(en route Chidiyatapu... a pit stop for some birdwatching)
Landing at Port Blair on a fine sunny morning, we rushed to our hotel to drop off our belongings and headed straight towards Chidiyatapu for our diving session. I was a little nervous but confident enough that I would be doing it. This session (day) was solely for diving but we had to take breaks in between as the bird life kept on teasing us and Chidiyatapu is one of the hotspots for birding.
(the inviting blue green waters with the hills in the distant background)
The blue green waters, lush green hills in the very distant background, a clear blue sky were very mesmerizing, in short a perfect day for scuba diving and looked like a perfect start for our trip. After a brief introduction of what and how with the instructors, we were off in a boat, a little deeper into the sea away from the shore for our maiden dive.
(under water briefing session... stay together and be alert)
The initial fall into the water and it took a few seconds to calm my nerves and get back to reality that indeed I would be diving in just about few minutes...whoa! Our instructor was a young chap, been diving here for some years now and having loads of experience guiding and diving with people and he would be 'escorting' us down under. Yes, which meant he would be navigating us holding on to us inside and show us the life down under.
Basic set of hand signs were instructed to communicate under water to go down, go back up, ok, not ok kind of scenarios and a few basic exercises were taught for us to feel comfortable deep inside water (you need to let out air through your ears).
With that, down we went hand in hand, very excited and thrilled just to be going down. Soon, a new colorful world opened up before us with a whole lot of reefs, fishes here there and everywhere... in short, a stunning spectacle and the feeling of weightlessness makes it a truly memorable experience.
(a break in between... here with Kesava and the dive instructor)
(Scorpion fish or Lion fish)
(the guiding force... dive instructor)
Following a school of fish or seeing those multiple dazzling different species of them or the smaller organisms that inhabit the under world and those reefs in various sizes, shapes and color make it a grand spectacle altogether.
Having a want to go deeper, but had to cut short due to a blocked ear ended my maiden dive truly thrilled and excited, with a surge of emotion that just can't be described. I came out of the water with a smile, a smile that remained with me for the rest of the day... a smile of gratitude, a smile of thankfulness, a smile of good life.
(what more to say...the sign says it all!)
and yes indeed, I will be back for more :)
* I did not indulge in any underwater photography, all these were taken by a diver with a camera who was along with us.
* Respect underwater life and do not touch/harm any of them.
* Respect the laws of nature and follow what your instructor says.
* Shred the fear... go dive!