We’ve all created bucket lists in which scuba diving has been a must-do activity. But scuba diving as a sport or an adventure activity is slightly rare to find in our country. Some of you might even wonder who can scuba dive. What the water looks like? Can we see fish and aquatic life as in the films?
Well, we know you’ve got quite a few questions; don’t worry, we’ve got answers for all of them. In this blog, we take you through our underwater diving experience and give you the necessary details to witness aquatic life in all its glory. Let’s dive right in.
Scuba Diving At Netrani Island
Off the coast of Karnataka, a few km away from the Murudeshwar beach, is Netrani Island. Known to be the second-best scuba diving spot in India, after the Andamans, the heart-shaped island is abode to rich marine and aquatic life. Numerous rare species and coral reefs exist underwater.
Like most of you, scuba diving was on our bucket list too. While backpacking across the West coast of India, we came across experienced divers who told us how Netrani Island is the second-best scuba diving site in the country after the Andamans. This statement stirred a sense of curiosity, and we decided to grab the opportunity before us.
Within a few minutes, our phones were out, and we began ringing companies to book our spots. Interestingly, all slots seemed full, but giving up wasn’t an option. We called up a few more places, and bang! We had our reservations and were ready for our first-ever underwater experience.
After stepping into Murudeshwar, we headed straight to the Netrani Adventures’ Office, one of the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) centers. The officials asked us some questions about our health and asked us to fulfill the formalities. We gave our basic details (our contact, address, emergency contact, Aadhar, or any proof of identity), made the payment, and started going toward the beach across the office.
As soon as we hopped onto the boat, we got the life jackets and saw oxygen tanks and a few other diving gears waiting for other divers and us. We received instructions about the day’s agenda, and the instructor even helped us relax as the boat ride us to the diving spot was at least an hour away (19 Km approximately from the shore).
As the boat moved farther into the sea, we were slowly enveloped in the blue landscape, and we couldn’t stop gazing at the sun’s reflection on the water body. We could see anything else when we looked beyond the sparkling blue water near us, and the moment was quite surreal. It almost felt like we were sitting surrounded by a world where everything glitters and shines, and for a second, we thought this was what we felt every time we said the word utopia. Little did we know that just a few feet beneath us, an entire life was thriving and far more magnificent than anything we had ever seen.
As we neared the destination, the instructor gave us a quick recap of the basics of scuba diving, breathing, and other techniques to remember. In fact, the person was quite patient and willingly answered our queries and doubts. When he asked for volunteers for the dive, we were excited as Hermione is in Snape’s class and raised our hands just like her. We prepared for the dive in the next few minutes by wearing the oxygen tank and head mask. Each person was sent into the water with an experienced diver. Woohooo! We were finally underwater.
One glimpse of our surroundings left us stunned. It was almost as if the few moments weren’t nearly enough to absorb the beauty of the animals and the coral reefs. After this, we went further into the sea (up to 12 meters). We saw exotic creatures such as the brittle black starfish, Pompano (Pomfret), catfish, sea snake, and even a blue-colored animal for which we didn’t know the name. While we felt some creatures with our palms, we stayed away from others as they were poisonous. The instructor used the danger signal to warn us about them, and we diligently followed.
The instructors also captured a few of our moments using a GoPro. We danced and posed a bit too. After this, we had some time left as we were the first divers.
So, as the others completed their underwater adventure, we snorkeled, sunbathed on the boat’s rooftop, and even used our drone to capture the heart-shaped island.
Post everything, we chitchatted about aquatic life with the instructors and learned how they had seen numerous octopuses, tortoises, lobsters, and more. We were quite fascinated by how much these divers knew about underwater creatures, their behavior, and even scientific trivia. They inspired us to continue being the curious souls that we are!
As souvenirs, we collected a few shells and promised ourselves that we would explore the underwater world more in the future and go on several other dives across the globe.
PS. This a quick reminder that spotting the fishes and coral reefs are purely based on luck. We saw many rare species and fish; you might not experience the same. But it is definitely worth experiencing on Netrani island.
- Cost: Rs. 3999 for 1 person. Rs. 3499 each when booking is made for a minimum of 5 people, Rs. 2999 each for 10+ people. The cost is inclusive of the boat ride and underwater photography. Additional Rs. 300 will be charged for videography. But the video is very basic.
- Timings: The reporting time is at 9 AM every morning.
- Office Location: Opposite Murudeshwar temple
- Contact: 900431111, 9916554422
- Dive Duration: 30-40 mins
- Round Trip duration: More than half a day, usually depending on the crowd. You’ll return at around 3 PM in the evening, and you’ll have to spare a few more minutes to collect your photographs.
- Photography & Videography: You can copy digital photographs for free. Rs. 300 per person should be paid for the video (optional). GoPro gear, like the underwater cover and floating stick, can also be rented from the office at an additional cost.
Note: Light refreshments like water, fruits, cakes, and biscuits were provided on the boat.
- The boat has an on-board restroom.
- There is a dustbin to throw the waste. Our responsibility is not to pollute the ocean, take back the trash and dispose of it in dedicated bins.
- Changing rooms are available at the office premises.
- You can also do PADI certified scuba diving course at this dive center.
Important Points To Remember
- Wear comfortable clothing or swimwear.
- You shouldn’t have an illness or open wounds, any pain in the eardrums, recent surgeries, heart disease, etc.
- It is necessary to fill out a medical questionnaire before starting.
- There are no upper age restrictions for scuba diving. Both swimmers and nonswimmers should be at least 10 years of age. Kids above 5 years of age can try snorkeling.
- Do not carry any valuables for the dive. This includes jewelry, wallets, etc.
- The activity cannot be done after the consumption of alcohol.
- If you have seasickness, inform them beforehand so they’ll care for you.
- The instructors are well-trained certified divers who can do rescue operations in case of emergencies. So rest assured you are in safe hands.
- Call the office directly and reserve your spot in advance, as the slots get sold out soon, especially during weekends and holidays.
Our first dive is always special and close to our hearts. If you want to scuba dive on the west coast, Netrani island is your best bet. We would personally dive if given another chance without any second thoughts.