Yes, we did it! We went all the way under the sea. We actually did scuba diving! And it was an amazing experience. Yes, I repeat, scuba diving Andamans is something that we would remember for days to come. The fishes darting along, the sea anemones and the corals all seem to flash in front of our eyes even now after we are back from the Andaman trip.
During all these years of travelling together, we have always preferred the mountains. We hiked, trekked and travelled mountains and hill stations. The sea seemed to elude us. But this time, we could not avoid the calling of the sea and with our backpacks headed for the beautiful Andamans.
Being in Andamans is itself a singular experience, but the best thing we discovered at Andamans is the underwater marine life. Nothing could be as exquisite and surreal than going 12 metres down the sea and watching the corals, anemones and the fishes playing by your side.
I always had fear of waters. Even when we visited beaches, I would be happy playing with the sands near the beach and would not prefer to go deep into the sea for having a fun filled bath. I am not particularly hydrophobic. I love the water around me, I am not scared to ride a speed boat, nor do I get sea sickness easily. But I am petrified of the water above my head. I am scared to put my head below the water level! So when I was asked to do scuba diving and snorkeling, I had cold feet and I downright refused to take part.
The scuba diving centres at North Bay Island, Andamans had experienced trainers. He tried to explain me the nuances of diving and continuously tried to allay my fears. After much assurance and encouragement from both my husband and my trainer, I finally was ready to take the plunge (literally)!
Well, let me here give you some facts about both scuba diving and snorkeling. There is a basic difference between the two. In scuba diving, you actually go inside the water to view the marine life, while in snorkeling, you just float in water and view the underwater marine life using your goggles and underwater breathing equipment (known as snorkel). Knowing swimming is not essential for both scuba diving and snorkeling. But if you want to do a PADI certification in scuba diving, then knowing how to swim is required. The Scuba Diving experience is definitely more immersive (at least I thought so).
In scuba diving, weights are put on your waist which will help you to stay underwater. There is breathing equipment (called SCUBA – Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) with air tanks which helps you to breathe underwater. So with weights on me and with the scuba, I was all geared up to dive into the endless sea. I was scared, my heart was beating fast and I was still saying that I will not go down. And then my trainer asked me to put my head under water. I did so with my eyes tightly shut. I was taking the names of all the gods and goddesses I knew…
And then I opened my eyes! I was in utopia. With blue all around me and colourful fishes playing by my side. There were corals of different colours. The sea anemones floated around, and I moved like a fish inside water. I forgot all me fears and apprehensions and was looking at the beautiful creatures mesmerized. Blue, yellow, red – fishes of different colours moved by my side. And then I saw a swarm of fish moving around. It was an exhilarating moment to see the marine life. I touched the corals and sea anemones. I walked on the sea bed. It was all an amazing and life changing experience.
20 minutes down at the sea was a pure bliss. I had never experienced anything like this before. The underwater life is so full of life and variety. I came out of the water with tears in my eyes. All I wanted then is to go back again! Well, I overcame my fear of water to some extent.
Nature’s gift is abundant and it surprises us at every corner. Be it the huge mountains or the endless seas, we are always left open mouthed and amazed at their resources. And at every step, it teaches us something new.
Been to Andamans? Please share your views with us. We will be happy to hear from you.
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