Scuba diving in Port Blair is one of the best diving adventures you can experience in India. The Indian Ocean surrounding the Andaman Islands are fresh and clear and its underwater universe boasts wonderful coral reefs, vivid marine creatures and stunning seabed gardens.
The capital of the Andaman Islands,Port Blair is well connected to mainland India and attracts tourists from all over the world. Port Blair is the first stop for everyone coming in to the Andamans, and is truly the perfect introduction to these lovely islands.
The land has a rich culture, immortalized in the many museums and historical sites. It has plentiful silver beaches fringed with swaying palm trees, tropical rain forests and mangroves, on the outskirts of the city. The warm, clean waters offers great visibility making scuba diving in Port Blair is one of the most popular activities.
Chidiya Tapu, a small fishing village, is a 2 hour ride away from Port Blair and is the gateway to a number of dive sites. To access most of the dive sites, you need to take a ferry out into the sea. You can enjoy the feel of the breeze blowing through your hair as you journey there. Dive destinations around Chidiya Tapu include Cinque Island, Passage Island, Munda Pahar beach, Parrot's Rock and Suar Mundi. North Bay, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park and the islands of Rutland are other popular dive locations.
Once under the sea, you'll be swimming with a variety of vibrant fish like bump heads, wrasse, triggerfish, butterfly fish, sweetlips, giant trevally, barracuda, yellow snappers and neon fusiliers. You can spot tons of purple coral and white fan coral gracing the seabed and bobbing around; many parrotfish, dolphins, lionfish, turtles, giant lobsters, schools of bluefin trevally and many more.
Be sure to catch the sound and light show at the Cellular Jail, a colonial prison that stands grim with the tales of its tortured inmates. Port Blair has various museums to explore: the Samudrika Naval Museum and the Anthropological Museum are like a doorway to a whole new world. At Chidiya Tapu, you can walk along the beach and witness spectacular crimson-hued sunsets.
If you're a beginner who is just dipping your toes into scuba diving, then you can sign up for a Try Dive or a Discover Scuba Dive. You don't need to possess any swimming skills and it's perfect for those who do not have the time for a certified course. Find out more about scuba diving for non-swimmers in our blog post, Scuba Diving in Andamans for Beginners.
But, if you're looking to get certified, you can go in for a PADI Scuba diver or PADI Open Water Diver course. Both these courses will get you a PADI certificate, however the PADI Open Water Diver course gives you an advanced skill set and offers more number of dives. You can enroll into a PADI Advanced Open Water Diving Course once you've completed the PADI Open Water Diver course.
The best time to go scuba diving in this Andaman Island is between October and May. During these winter and summer months, the weather is pleasant and the waters are still, hence accounting for excellent visibility.
The climate is tropical with an average temperature between 23-30 degrees Celsius. The monsoon months of May to September brings in moderate to heavy rainfall making the waters choppy; affecting visibility. Only if you’re an advanced diver, you can choose to brave the elements or else it is best avoided.
There are regular flights to Port Blair from major cities of India. Once there, you can use local transport to reach your dive centre. When your dive sites are off-shore, your operator will arrange for a ferry to take you there.
You will be provided with a dive suit needed for scuba diving by your scuba operator. You will have to wear comfortable swimsuit, swimming trunks or bikini underneath the dive suit. Other than that, you will have to wear cotton or quick dry t-shirts/dress, shorts, sunglasses and hats when you're on a boat ride travelling to the dive site.
All the necessary diving equipment and gear including scuba tanks, masks, wetsuit, etc will be provided by the scuba operator. Be sure to carry loose clothes for when you’re not diving, sun protective gear, a water bottle; to keep yourself hydrated and light snacks.
Scuba diving beginners don’t particularly need any preparation; however, it is an added bonus if you’re fit and you maintain an exercise regime. You can perform yoga, some breathing and cardio exercises prior to your scuba diving session (avoid 24 hours before dive) to gain control over your breathing and build stamina. Being fit makes your scuba diving trip that much more enjoyable.
You're not required to carry any scuba diving equipment as the tour operator will provide all the scuba diving gear including oxygen tanks and diving suit. Keep yourself informed and read about what equipment you’ll be using for scuba diving. You should carry an extra pair of clothes, sandals or flip-flops, sunscreen and sunglasses when you won't be diving.
For Scuba diving in Port Blair, you have the choice of choosing from a Try Dive or Discover Scuba Diving. These options are if you’re a beginner and want an introduction to scuba diving. After you’ve had a taste of what scuba diving is, you can decide to sign up for courses that enable you to become certified divers.
PADI Scuba Diver Course or PADI Open Water Diver course can both let you earn a PADI certificate with the latter giving you a wider scope. Eligibility for the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course is gained after the completion of the PADI Open Water Diver course.
During your dive, the operator will provide you with a dive suit. It protects you from cold, sunburn and abrasions from hard corals. Under the suit, you need to wear a swimsuit/bikini/swimming trunks to maintain hygiene. Make sure you're comfortable in whatever you're wearing under the suit.
Not necessarily. Scuba beginners need not know how to swim but if you’re looking to do a PADI course, knowing how to swim is mandatory. You will need to pass a 200 meter swimming and 10 minute floating test.