Port Blair diaries
On 19 June 2014, we went for water sports in Havelock island.
Scuba diving is one of the best experiences you can have in life. And if the place is Islands of Andaman Its heaven. You should seriously try it out. So, we decided to take this opportunity to explore reefs of Bay of Bengal …. the corals, fishes, sunlight through waters and to feel water itself.
There are few ventures that provide different water sports, you can go by yourself and search them out or if you are in a package deal you can opt for one. So, we had our driver’s acquaintance to that scuba diving center and we found the procedure and price reasonable. Hence, we decided to do it.
Scuba diving can be done by people who can’t swim. There are some medical conditions under which you can’t be allowed to do the sport but if you are medically fine you can, irrespective of swimming.
The medical conditions are Heart conditions, pregnancy, epilepsy, lung/ asthmatic conditions, alcohol etc.
The facilities will first explain you all the situation about sport. The requirements, procedure, form filling, waiver form and price. The costume and equipment is provided by the facility and a guide is there throughout the sport.
We were trained for about 1 hour before diving. Trained about how to use oxygen cylinder, how to carry it, to get acquainted with the weight of that equipment, acquaintance with using it all under water and staying under water longer. There is a pipe that carries oxygen to mouth and a rubber attached at the other end which we bite on to hold pipe in place and avoid water to enter in our mouth. The Oxygen is felt moving fast in mouth and we learn to control our nose breathing and start breathing through pipe. We are trained at an area where currents are less.
After training, we were taken on a boat with our guides to the area where corals and sea life approachable in less depth. So, for first timer it is acceptable to feel that pressure of water. They take you to those fixed areas where aquatic flora and fauna is accessible in wide variety with less depth. The guide is with you all through and wanders with you under the sea. Each member of group gets one guide.
There is a provision of underwater photography and videography which is given by facility and included in your package of sport. The underwater session was about 30 to 45 minutes long and we could easily convey our preferences as well as discomfort to our guide during sport. We were well taught the signs to be used and in case of discomfort during sport we could come to surface, take time and go back to water.
The experience under water is amazing. It’s too beautiful to express in words, it’s to be felt. You feel the water in its truest senses. The corals dazzle under the sunlight through crystal clear waters and you see small fishes swimming around, feeding and playing in their natural colors. The glow of aquatic fauna is mesmerizing, it is like watching national geographic live. There are also variety of fishes that can be seen and some might come near you or might be scared and hide in their homes. There is pressure of water that is felt soon after few minutes under water and it can be hard to bear. There is pressure felt on head and ears about which you are taught in training session and a maneuver is to be followed to release the pressure. Your legs don’t feel the earth and eyes don’t see the sky and so your basic image as a mammal is disturbed and is hard to contain yourself entirely in water. It’s disturbing in our basic senses and I signed my guide to take me back up to surface. So, he pumped some air in my oxygen backpack and I popped up to surface. Relieved to see clear blue sky, sun, sea shore at a distant and to feel some air on my skin and my head without water pressure. I looked at blue sky and then I looked at blue water and then I thought of how much difference mediums make. My guide asked me if I was comfortable and could stay or lay on surface until I was comfortable. Soon I was fine and ready to face the water pressure. I dived back, this time water pressure was felt little less as I got acquainted. I stayed next 30 to 40 mins continuously under water and explored reef, saw corals, touched, and felt them, walked on sea bed, saw sunlight reaching to sea bed and shining sand, a fish touched my finger too although it didn’t feel much as my fingers got wrinkled for being long in water. Then underwater photography session happened. All our group was collected at a place in waters and our guide made our videos and pictures. We all made our poses and signs to convey our excitement and joy towards scuba diving.
As good things end early, our guide pumped up air in our cylinder backpack and rose us up to surface. After which I realized that we need not know swimming for this sport, I felt heavy by body and mind, and this oxygen cylinder was damn heavy. After reaching near shore we had to walk carrying cylinders on our back. A tough task I tell you!
And that rubber that you hold on to with teeth, to avoid water to enter your mouth and lungs leaves some strange feeling in mouth reminding that last 30 minutes your mouth was dry and you breathe through mouth, not nose.
After coming out and unloading my equipment and costume, I felt heavy at body and light at mind as with the joy of feeling water and walking on sea bed.
We went back to our cruise of Havelock island in the evening delighted with this experience...
Sun through water