Andaman and Nicobar Islands Scuba Diving – Choosing Dive Shops
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.