Bucket List Ticked Off, Travel

Another Strike-off from my bucket list!

Recently on an office trip to Bangalore with two of my friends and coworkers, I decided to extend my stay for 2 days and explore Bangalore. While searching the internet from end-to-end for what I can do over the weekend, I found Scuba Diving near Puducherry which was only 358 km away from Bangalore. I was on cloud nine or maybe fifteenth. I skimmed through reviews, articles, blogs, and webpages to find out which is the best organisation that offers a Scuba Diving experience and the name that pops up everywhere is Temple Adventures. And it was decided, I was SCUBA DIVING for the weekend!

PADI certification has always been on my list, but I never planned to go diving without learning the technical stuff first, neither I planned on doing it at Puducherry. I am a non-swimmer, and going underwater still panicked me. I had numerous questions in my head. What if I get pulled away by the ocean currents? What if there is a shark attack or I get stung by a Manta Ray (Hollywood movies effect, duh!)? What if I drown? What if I don’t like the experience? Will there be snakes? What if I don’t get to come up? But this time, despite all the contradictions in my head, I just couldn’t stop. I somehow reminded myself to stay optimistic and enjoy the experience.

Temple Adventures has been exploring deep-sea diving in Puducherry and is one of the few Indian scuba diving centres that offer Technical Diving courses. A basic Discover Scuba session costs you only INR 6700/-. With that, you get a pool session with the instructor, a boat ride to the Dive spot, a 30-minutes dive underwater(till 12 metres), some snacks and lots of good memories to cherish. The people at the centre were really cooperative and helped us learn the basics of diving.

I couldn’t contain my happiness when the pool session started at 6 AM. I was all smiles. We changed into our wet suits and got into the pool. After a few minutes, we were learning new skills underwater. Initially, I panicked a little bit, as the mask we wore blocked our nose completely and covered our eyes. I learned that we have to breathe through my mouth which was not very comfortable initially, but after some practise you just get used to it. I was smiling the whole time with happiness and excitement. My colleagues made it their 1st rule of diving not to look at me underwater. When they looked at me, they smiled back, and water got into their mouth. Huh, Amateurs! The pool session ended soon after, and we learnt how to communicate underwater, and other survival skills like cleaning the mask (if water got into it), Equalizing, etc.

Warning: Please Don’t Try This(Smiling) Underwater. It’s Dangerous!
Can you spot the shadow of the fishes in the background?

Then we started for the ocean. We got our life jackets on and were all set for the sail. The ocean seemed a little rougher to me. It was scary at first, but the excitement of what is about to come took over and slowly we lost sight of the beach. After a ride of around 30 minutes, we reached our dive spot. The water was turquoise blue colour and the waves seemed pretty scary. For someone who has never been into Open Waters, this was a big deal!

We wore our gears and were thrown into the water backwards. My instructor, Parthiban, was already waiting in the water and took hold of me once I touched the surface. He made sure I was not panicking and asked me to look inside the water. ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE! What a view it was. Such clear water! I was on my heels when I spotted 4-5 fish near the surface only.

Posing with Parthi for the love of Scuba Diving

As we got deeper and deeper, my ears hurt due to the increase in pressure but my instructor was experienced enough to help me equalise and acclimatise to the change in environment. We had to come up to the surface 2 times and slowly we went down. Then started the most beautiful part. We started spotting fish in the deep. Silver moony, jackfish, bannerfish, fusiliers fish and the artificial reefs. Everything was so amazing. The experience was totally on another level. It’s a different world altogether.

We clicked a few pictures and after a wonderful dive of 30 minutes which passed like a flick of a second, we were done. We returned to the boat. There was a moment of pride for trying something so extreme and a sense of accomplishment in our hearts. After we were dropped at the centre, we showered, received the Discover Scuba certificates and sent postcards to our loved ones.

Discover Scuba Diving Program

Before diving, I used to think of diving as an activity for serious adrenaline junkies but I later realised, there’s more to it. It can actually be a meditative experience. The breathing becomes slower and your sensory organs are most active in that environment. You control your urge to panic and enjoy whatever rewards come along with it.

Now, I just think about those beautiful moments underwater in disbelief and dream about when I will be diving next. It is just the drug to get addicted to. I cannot wait to get PADI certified ASAP and go diving around the world.

So would I recommend scuba diving? DEFINITELY.

Best time to go diving? ASAP.

Trust me, you wouldn’t regret this!


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