Into the blue

Into the blue
There is nothing more refreshing than splashing water on your face. And immersing yourself into a water body works out even better. So it’s not surprising to see a number of young water enthusiasts in the City taking to scuba diving. Though Bengaluru doesn’t boast of a coastline, there are plenty of opportunities for one to learn diving.

Ankit Singh, a wedding photographer, recently finished his first diving lessons at Aquanaut in the City. “One can pursue these classes along with a regular job. During the week, you can attend theory sessions and watch videos and on weekends you are taken to a swimming pool for a diving session. I did mine at St Joseph’s Indian High School,” he says. He finished his course with a dive in Puducherry recently. “Diving has opened up a new world for me. The ocean is mighty and it’s challenging to explore it without proper training. The better the training you get, the more confident you are,” he adds. His advice to new divers is to not panic. “The less you panic, the more control you have over the water. I was apprehensive at first too but then, I started enjoying the experience in my first dive itself, thanks to the people around,” he informs.

For Anusha Phukan, a business manager who had trained in Netrani Island, Murudeshwar, diving is a passion. “It’s catching up in the City and many people consider it a cool thing to do. But more than that, one must realise that it’s all about the passion of exploring a different world. It’s all about the inquisitiveness to learn and gradually, you get hooked. During my first two dives, I felt like I was in a new world. Also the underwater sights you see in Netrani and Puducherry are different from what you see in the Andamans,” she exclaims.

Planet Scuba India, which is the country’s first inland scuba diving training institute, was established in the City in 2008 and has grown over the years. Madhav Reddy, CEO, Planet Scuba, has conducted sessions around the world. “The number of people who have taken to diving has increased and a majority of them are women and children. When we first began, we had three to four people coming in one month. But now we get at least 15-20 students. As long as one knows swimming and doesn’t have major health problems, he or she can learn scuba diving,” he says. The motivation behind starting the centre was to help City-dwellers save time. “When people have to learn diving during a holiday, they want to spend time with their family and explore a new place rather than sit in a classroom to learn the theory of diving,” he explains.

The basic course consists of three parts –  theory, pool session and diving into the sea. “One can learn the first two aspects in Bengaluru and that covers 75 per cent of the sport. Besides, it’s safer to learn in a pool than directly in the ocean,” he says.

Bengaluru is an adventure capital, according to Samuel Pinto, who is a staff instructor at Shark Tales Scuba. Fondly known as Scuba Sam, he started Shark Tale Scuba in 2013 to assist dive centres on the coast. “However, we became operational only last year,” he notes. He feels that very little of the underwater world has been explored so far. “We know more about the moon than about underwater,” he laughs. 

Samuel points out that diving has many health benefits. “It calms you down more than meditation thanks to the effect of water. It’s a brilliant way to fight stress. Of course, one can go trekking or camping but your phone is still reachable during those activities. Here, you are literally forgetting yourself,” he says. Comparing scuba diving to a jungle safari, he adds, “When you go on a safari, you see animals from a distance and you aren’t sure how many you will spot. But in scuba diving, you know you will have swarms of colourful fishes coming right next to you. It’s just a different world altogether.”

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