Metrolife: Scuba diving gaining in popularity

Metrolife: Scuba diving gaining in popularity

A training session at Planet Scuba.

Many in Bengaluru are using the summer vacations to learn scuba diving. Centres in the city organise tours to diving destinations, most of them an overnight drive from here.

Madhava Reddy, owner of Planet Scuba India, says the number of diving centres has increased over the years.

“We see people of 10 years to 60 years come in to train with us. Scuba diving is not only a leisure activity but also a sport people are willing to take up,” he says.

Mazher Ahmed, entrepreneur, first scuba dived in 2006 when he was in the Maldives. He feels the lack of training made the experience bad.

“It took me two years to go to a training centre in Bengaluru and get my license from PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors),” he says.

Diving centres in the city offer basic and advanced training, with the course extending from one day to three days.

Reddy explains, “There are four thrills that excite every diver – the wetsuit, breathing through an artificial source, feeling weightless and seeing life underwater. But before each of these, divers need to pass the theory and practical tests.”

Hairstylist Prarthana Pradutt made a bucket list of things to do when she turned 40 and learning to scuba dive was one of them. Her son was only 10 then. The family did one level of certification with two days of training and headed for the Andaman Islands.

“My son took this up very seriously and ever since, every holiday of ours includes a diving trip. He wants to train in advanced scuba diving to dive at night,” she says.

Her daughter, who turns eight soon, is going to start bubble-blowing training, which is an introduction to scuba diving.

“I learnt how to swim only a year before I started scuba diving. I was definitely scared but I eventually overcame my fear of water. You need to be alert when you’re underwater and remember everything you learnt during training. It’s a good thing that you are not allowed to dive without supervision,” she adds.

Even if you are well acquainted with water, there are certain things you need to keep in mind while diving.

Pooja Arora, certified aqua fitness coach, went to the Maldives for an eight-day diving trip. “I’ve always been a water baby but I wanted to train before the trip. I went with people new to diving as well as others who have dived a couple of times before,” she says.

Pooja was the only solo traveller in the group and says knowing some tips and tricks helped her in a big way.

“You can’t take diving casually and the instructions have to be followed to a T. You need to stick to your diving buddy, know the signs you were taught, help the buddy in case he is losing air, know how to remove the mask properly and so on. There’s a lot of studying that goes into it,” she says.

Scuba diving is an amazing adventure but as you keep going deep, it can get dangerous, she cautions.

Her advice: “You can either buy your own mask or hire one when you get to the destination. Sunscreen, lots of swimsuit and travelling light is a must. Make sure that you do the sizing of your wetsuit before you head out.”

Scuba destinations
Goa, Murdeshwar, Kovalam, Lakshadweep, Mahabalipuram, Puducherry, Rameswaram, Visakhapatnam, Andaman Islands. Among international destinations, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bali top the list.

Diving centres
Dive India: 80012 22206
Planet Scuba: 4157 3939

Wallet factor
Basic training starts at Rs 24,000. Flight tickets, equipment, hotel booking are extra.