Scuba diving is truly an exciting and heart-pumping water sport in itself and you can experience the most of it in Havelock Island. You need to carry water bottles, wear cozy clothes, cozy footwear and towel. Havelock Island is one of the best places where you can enjoy scuba diving. It is located around 50 km from Port Blair, the capital city of Andaman. You can ride a government operated ferry but it takes more time than catamaran ferry. It is the easiest way to access this island. 

You can also scuba dive to the Lighthouse at night where you can meet a lot of novice and expert scuba divers who gather here all the year round. You can get around soft and hard corals, apart from octopus, humpback parrot fish, lobsters, fusiliers, and lionfish. 

If you are just starting to learn diving or a fresher, you can enjoy scuba diving first at aquarium which is a reef spot. You can find lots of vivid fish species that can easily delight your mind. At the Mac Point, one of the most stunning spots for diving, where you can spot the Dugongs (sea cow) and other underwater creatures. Barracuda City is another great spot to find sea turtles and different varieties of surgeonfish, coral fish and others.  

You can head to Margherita’s Mischief which is a calm and tranquil diving spot with crystal clear waters if you want to spot more marine species like Dugongs, Batfish, Blue-spotted stingrays, Pufferfish, Angel Fish, Yellow Snappers, and Soldierfish. 

Choosing the Best Dive Shops in Andaman

Andaman and Nicobar Islands Scuba Diving is truly a luxury for many of us. But if you opt for the same, be sure to do it right. You can find a lot of dive shops in Andaman on the web. But you should call them or visit them before opting for diving experience. Here are the tips to choose the best dive shops – 


There are different dive shops and centers in Andaman which are affiliated with one of several diving authorities worldwide. A dive association offers different courses, sets different guidelines and provides certification to students so they can dive at any place in allowed depths. The depth limit is determined as per the respective ranks. Some of the diving associations are SSI, PADI, CMAS and NAUI. These diving associations are well known across the world. 

Facilities and Equipment 

These are one of the most important parts of overall diving experience. You can ensure the quality of service by keeping track of standards of infrastructure. You can also check out the ratings provided by dive associations to know their technicalities. Here are the things to keep in mind – 

  • Quality of equipment – Is it in excellent condition and serviced well?
  • Numbers and sizes of gear – Such as tempered masks (for divers with eyesight problems) and fine masks. 
  •  Quality of staff service 
  • Quality of air – Be sure good quality air is filled in the tank. You may not want to breathe contaminated air when going underwater. 

Along with it, you also need to have a set of top quality and well maintained fitting gear to make all the difference. 

  • Basic facilities which should be offered by the operator like shower/changing rooms
  • Area for cleaning equipment 
  • Lockers where you can keep your valuables 
  • Storage and drying space 
  • A store having all the basic amenities for frequent/leisure divers 


A dive center or dive shop should also be well reputed and exude their passion for diving. The facilities offered and staff are some of the important aspects of an ideal dive center. You have got the right operators if they make you feel special and ensure everything for you to have a good time. 

  • You should ask around in the market or simply talk to your fellow travelers about the best dive shops. 
  • Are your queries and doubts being attended properly? 
  • Are they friendly? Do you feel nice to talk to their team? Some dive shops speak different languages to make interactions smoother. 
  • Ask about the sightings and their dive sites to explore their knowledge of the area. 

Dive spots and working structure

Make sure the dive shops are accommodating and organized to assess their working structure. Also consider the following pointers – 

  • They are motivating and convincing 
  • Numbers of boats they have
  • Type of boat you will get to choose from. Visit various dive sites to know the quality of boats they use and how well they maintain the same 
  • Also consider how many divers would dive with you. 

With above information in hand, you can easily decide whether you should go for a particular dealer or not. 

Consider the rates of affiliations 

It is an important consideration to know about a dive shop in a holistic way. Some operators are used to compromise on ratings of their services and don’t follow diving standards that are set by dive associations. They also cut down on dive time. They also charge lower than a dive center which is high rated. Some of the best dive spots in the archipelago are Havelock, Port Blair, Long Island, Neil Island, and other areas. Frequent divers and larger groups can easily access the discounts.  

Best Time to Do Scuba Diving 

Basically, you can enjoy scuba diving in Andaman waters all around the year. The problem lies in the overall weather and visibility underwater. Monsoon lasts quite longer in Andaman as it starts on May and lasts till September. So, the visibility reduces drastically under the sea during rainfall. So, it is better to avoid monsoons for this activity. 

You can find a lot of rare marine species and adventures that can leave you in awe when you encounter the marvels of nature while enjoying several water sports in Andaman. The dugong is one of the lesser-known creatures which inhabits the sea and is herbivorous. The dugong is found mostly in Little Andaman and is the state animal of the islands. It is the only species alive from the Dugongidae family. Its survival is critical and its number is declining rapidly due to several reasons. It is also called the Lady of the Sea with a lifespan of over 70 years. 

These are strictly marine mammals. They are also known as sea cows because they feed completely on seagrass. They become sexually mature from 10 to 17 years. Every 5 to 7 years, a female gives birth to only one calf. Young calves depend on their mother completely for a year and a half. Hence, their population grows slowly. There are just two species of sea cow – Stellar and Manatee. 

These days, dugongs are about to become extinct in Indo-Pacific regions. The current distribution is limited along the west coast, Gulf of Kutch, the Palk Bay region, Gulf of Munnar and Andaman & Nicobar. Dugongs were completely extinct about 60 years ago in Lakshadweep waters. 

Key Features of Dugongs 

  • Herbivorous – Apart from other sirenians, Dugongs are also known as ‘sea cows’ as they mainly feed on grasses. They are the only herbivorous sea mammals with features of a cow. While eating, they ingest the whole plant along with roots. They are docile mammals living in the depths of the sea. There are hardly 50 dugongs in Andaman and their survival is a major concern for the government. 
  • Back Defense – Their back is the protective part of dugong where they deposit most of the blubber. They don’t indulge in fights and they also avoid attacking small fishes. They are calm animals like cows. They can easily avoid the attack as they show only their back to the predators and attackers.  
  • Thawte – They are also known as pani-suwar or sea pigs (Thawte) in the Andaman Islands. These mammals got this name for their bulky size and shape. They are called sea pigs for their eating behavior.  
  • Lekking – It is the process when males protect the area from other males to attract a female partner. There is a season when these creatures practice this thing. They become sexually active and mature from 8 to 18 years. Males are seen with their erupted tusks when they have high testosterone levels. 
  • Reproduction – During the lifespan of females, they give birth to few calves only. They are capable of reproducing only one calf at once. Their gestation period lasts up to 15 months. Newborns weigh up to 30 kg and they are around 4 feet long. They stay closer to their mother for up to 18 months after birth to be nursed and to learn swimming. Infants learn to feed on seagrass. Mothers are very caring to their calves and they protect against other sea creatures. Mothers teach their calves to defend with back, feed and breathe oxygen by coming out from the ocean. 

Why are they extinct?

The dugongs are found only in around 37 countries. They have been hunted for oils and meat for centuries. Due to this reason, their population has declined. Its meat is vital for oil production. Hence, they are vulnerable to human activities as they depend only on seagrasses which are found only in coastal regions. They fall under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and they are near extinction. Loss of their habitat, gill netting, squalor loss, and large scale hunting and chemical pollutants are some of the reasons for their extinction. 

What Indian Government doing to protect them?

Along with the Persian Gulf, most of Dugong also inhabit the Red Sea. There are only 200 dugongs found in the world. India is also trying to encourage its South Asian neighbors to sign UNEP/CMS Dugong MOU. 

Dugongs in the Andaman Islands 

Dugongs are mainly found in Little Andaman along Dugong Creek in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. According to a research, you can find them in several parts of Havelock Islands, Ritchie’s Archipelago of Neil Island, South Andaman (Rutland, Jolly Buoy, and Tarmugli Islands), in Hutbay, middle and North Andaman (along Reef, White Cliff, Mayabunder and Landfall islands), and along the heart of Nicobar Islands. Andaman and Nicobar region has over 50 dugongs but they are hardly surviving due to rise in poaching and declining corals. 

Commercialization is another major threat to the survival of dugong which is an endangered species. In Association with Andaman and Nicobar Environment, the Forest Department and Nature Conservation Foundation are implementing a lot of efforts for the conservation of these creatures. The government is trying hard to create a natural habitat for these creatures so they can live peacefully and reproduce well. The authorities are looking forward to knowing the habitats of such types of rare and mysterious species and to build awareness among the locals like boat owners, fishermen, and others to reduce poaching. It is known to be the first step to preserve these sea mammals. 

Final Thoughts 

All in all, the state animal of Andaman is definitely the rare mammal found across the world due to the threat of commercialization, poaching, and other human activities. Even tourists and locals should take responsibility to generate awareness about this creature and conserve it and its natural habitat. A lot of divers visit Andaman with a hope to spot this sea mammal. Book Andaman Nicobar packages now if you also want to see this animal in its own habitat.