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Old 27th March 2012, 12:56   #1
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Default Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

So, I saw my friend's pictures on facebook of him doing scuba diving and I was like - this happens in India?! When it comes to such things, ignorance isn't such a bliss actually. I immediately researched on how/where/when and plans started taking shape.

That friend of mine and as I later found out, our fellow BHPian Samurai had been scuba diving with "Dreamz Diving" - a group that organizes scuba diving at Netrani Island, off Murudeshwar and Palolem, Goa. I discussed the finer details with Mr. Dhirendra, the person running the show. We finalized dive-day to be 25th March '12 at Netrani Island, Murudeshwar, Karnataka.

I studied in Manipal hence know that area very well; as I was heading there with a few friends, we decided to camp in Manipal and head to Murudeshwar on sunday. We reached Manipal on Saturday morning. I took my friends for a good Udupi-style breakfast and past that, took a walk around the MU building. We tried to go to End-pt but whatever has been done to that place by the Udupi Municipal Corp. or whoever has ruined it. Nevertheless, the heat and humidity was very bad so we headed back to the hotel. We went to Kapu in the evening for a nice view off the lighthouse. We got back and called it a day early since we had to reach Murudeshwar by 0830.

Now we were asked to reach Murudeshwar by 0830 sharp and Manipal-Murudeshwar is a good 110kms so we booked a cab. We started at 0600 from Manipal and reached Murudeshwar at 0800. Now, IST kicked in and we realized things wouldn't be moving so quickly. So, we had a good breakfast, hung out with the instructors to learn about the diving equipment etc. Finally, at about 1030, we left their office and headed to the beach where a boat would ferry us to Netrani Island - 20 nautical miles off the coast. There were about 22 people; the equipment was loaded in 2 boats and the participants in the 3rd.

It took us about an hour and half to reach Netrani Island. En route, the instructors gave us basic information and instructions - about the water, aquatic life, diving, equipment, breathing, "equalizing" etc.

First things first - how many of us know scuba stands for "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus" and isn't just a fancy word! None of us knew!

Anyone without a license has to be accompanied by an expert diver and an unlicensed diver can go up to 12 metres below the surface of the water. So, at a time, as many people dived as were the no. of expert divers.

Each of us wore a BCD : Buoyancy Control Device which controlled our depth and our upward/downward movement. The air tank was loaded on to that and there was dry air filled at 200 psi in each tank. We wore eye gear which thoroughly covered our eyes and nose; the eyes and nose were completely sealed : water couldn't enter. We wore a pair of fins on the feet. Since the water in India is pretty much at normal temp (~22 deg C), we didn't have to wear a body suit. We all dived in regular T-shirt/shorts.

Each dive was for about 30mins which included a 5min acclimatization session where we practiced breathing techniques etc. Once we were comfortable, we went under!

And boy, is it beautiful!! Marine life is just wonderfully beautiful and it is amazing to note how each of the fishes go about their own life in your presence if you don't disturb them. What was even more surprising was - there is clear water off India!

For each metre that we went under water, we had to "equalize" : squeeze our nose and try to breathe out thru' the nose, thereby letting the air escape through the ears. The instructor controlled every movement : going up, down, moving around the water.

We didn't touch anything, just watched!

The best sight : watching a school of fishes swimming in one direction and within a split second, each of them changing direction. I could keep watching that sight endlessly.

We saw a variety of fish and other marine life. There were these beautiful fishes all around us. The instructors had an underwater camera and took quite a few pics - of us and everything around us.

Soon, it was time for us to come up. The moment I was up in the boat and de-geared, I simply couldn't fathom the experience I had just had.

Although there's so much to say about the experience, I'm at a loss for words - I just cannot get myself to put the sights into words!

The entire activity was thoroughly professional and everything was well taken care of. It doesn't matter whether you can swim or not, you are in same hands when you take that dive.

After relaxing for a bit, we went snorkelling. It involves wearing a life-jacket and eye-gear. The life-jacket ensures you float on water and the eye-gear ensures your eyes and nose is sealed. You wear a mouth-piece which has a tube coming up. So, you breathe thru' the mouth and although your face is submerged , you get air thru' the tube. We did random fish-sighting for about an hour. We simply couldn't get ourselves to be done with it!

By 1530, we headed back and reached Murudeshwar by 1700. We freshened up and were on our way back.

We stopped over at Turtle Bay (Maravanthe Beach) where the shore and highway run parallel for about 1.5kms to watch the sunset and have snacks. By 2000, we were back in Manipal having had an experience of a life-time!

Details :

Place - Netrani Island, 20 nautical miles off Murudeshwar, Karnataka
Fees - 4k for 1 dive, 5.5k for 2. This includes the dive, equipment, registration, Murudeshwar-Netrani-Murudeshwar boat and refreshments
Organizer : Dreamz Diving. You could check out their FB page by the same name

PS : All the diving pictures have been shared on FB by Dreamz Diving and we have been allowed to download/share these pictures.

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-292580_332545086801983_193703570686136_901021_1031660361_n.jpg

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-380660_332545256801966_193703570686136_901022_2105544584_n.jpg

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-539255_332545780135247_193703570686136_901032_1197024681_n.jpg

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-557917_332559123467246_193703570686136_901149_487938351_n.jpg

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-557410_332556583467500_193703570686136_901129_144004663_n.jpg

Last edited by libranof1987 : 27th March 2012 at 12:58.
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Old 27th March 2012, 13:41   #2
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

Great to find a Scuba diver on the forum. I am also keen on getting a PADI Scuba certificate, enrolled in one dive centre here in Bangalore did their confined water dive classes. Now have to do open water (sea) dive to clear the course and get certificate. The dive centre I been to conducts weekend dives off Netrani.
I was bit hessitant on that since was thinking water may not be clear for spotting marine life. Your experience proves otherwise. Were all these pics taken during your dive itself ?
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Old 27th March 2012, 14:18   #3
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

Very interesting. How much was the cost?

How different is the view vs a good snorkel trip (think Phi phi island) which me/wife completely LOVED!
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Old 27th March 2012, 14:42   #4
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

A awesome find and amazing pictures, this surely looked like worth the money and effort.

Do the do this in Goa as well? otherwise Murudeshwar is ~480Kms from Bangalore, and driving all the way there just for this might not be worth it (or will it be?).

Also the cost of 5.5K for 2 dives, by same person or by couple? and Finally, did you feel its safe?
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Old 27th March 2012, 15:17   #5
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
I was bit hessitant on that since was thinking water may not be clear for spotting marine life. Your experience proves otherwise. Were all these pics taken during your dive itself ?
Water clarity was a concern for us too; but on checking out pictures that my friend posted, I was blown away!

All these pictures were taken during the dive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Very interesting. How much was the cost?
For 1 dive, you pay 4k/person. This includes the dive, the equipment, whatever registration or other fees that might have to be paid, the boat ride from Murudeshwar mainland to Netrani island and refreshments (plenty supply of water, juice, biscuits and snacks).

For 2 dives, you pay 5.5k/person.

There are also discounts during weekdays, if there are more people etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
A awesome find and amazing pictures, this surely looked like worth the money and effort.

Do the do this in Goa as well? otherwise Murudeshwar is ~480Kms from Bangalore, and driving all the way there just for this might not be worth it (or will it be?).

Also the cost of 5.5K for 2 dives, by same person or by couple? and Finally, did you feel its safe?
There's tons of places along that coast : Murudeshwar, Udupi, Manipal etc so if you drive there, there's plenty you could visit! They do conduct this in Palolem (south Goa) as well.

The 2 dives are for the same person

(Safety - I'll answer in a separate post)
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Old 27th March 2012, 15:26   #6
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

I'm deliberating mentioning the below in a separate post so the info is not lost amongst other specific replies.

Safety :

You will be pleasantly surprised with the amount of safety precautions that these guys take.

1) Instructions on how one should breathe and swim under water are given time and again. You can practice as long as you want while you are in the boat on the spare air tank.
2) Instructions are given on how you should react in case the mouth piece comes off or you feel comfortable
3) Instructions are given on how you should cope with the diff. in pressure as you go deeper under water (process is called "equalizing")
4) You CANNOT dive on your own; an instructor holds you the whole time. He takes care of your upward, downward and lateral movement. He will repeatedly ask you if everything is ok.
5) They have the first aid kit ready
6) They take you to a place where the rocks are not very close to the diving site
7) The air tank you carry has 200 psi dry air. For 30mins, on an average you consume 75-80 psi. So, there's plenty air available.
8) Fins, BCDs and eye gear is available in various sizes so you don't have to worry if something is too tight or loose.

There was a girl in our group who couldn't swim and yet she dived for the entire 30mins.

The entire exercise is very well planned and executed and you don't feel unattended or helpless at any time.

Refreshments :

A very healthy supply of refreshments is carried along. There's plenty mineral water, snacks, biscuits and fruits available.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 27th March 2012 at 15:28.
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Old 27th March 2012, 17:54   #7
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

Thanks for sharing libran,

It was an amazing experience, I had an opportunity to do Scuba diving on my trip to Lakshadweep. Wish I had bought an underwater camera at that time, what you see down in Corals is a thing which needs to be experienced. Words simply can't define it.

But one is Karantaka itself, was not aware of it.

Iam glued, keep rolling pics.

Last edited by raghu230506 : 27th March 2012 at 17:55. Reason: Typo
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Old 27th March 2012, 20:02   #8
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

Good going mate!!
Are you aware if these guys also carry out certificate courses, and if yes, what are the charges for them?
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Old 27th March 2012, 20:22   #9
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

So you finally did it. Nice report.

My experience is mentioned here: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ml#post2602480 (Scuba Diving Info)

Last edited by Samurai : 2nd April 2012 at 11:56. Reason: wrong info
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Old 27th March 2012, 21:51   #10
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

Quote:
Originally Posted by raghu230506 View Post
But one is Karantaka itself, was not aware of it.
Tell me about it! Spent years in Manipal and didn't know this was happening so close.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neel385 View Post
Good going mate!!
Are you aware if these guys also carry out certificate courses, and if yes, what are the charges for them?
Yea, these guys do carry out certificate courses; IIRC, it's 20k for a 3-day course.

Last edited by Samurai : 2nd April 2012 at 11:56. Reason: my info was wrong
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Old 28th March 2012, 07:22   #11
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

Yeeessshhhh...you guys keep adding items to my bucket list.

Lovely write up. Could do with more pics.

@Samurai san : You need to get decent underwater photo gear for benefit of the entire forum and go dive again ;-)
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Old 28th March 2012, 09:46   #12
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

Some really funny anecdotes :

- when it was my turn for the dive, my instructor asked me to practice breathing in and out thru' the mouth and then removing the mouth piece and putting it back again under water (to prepare for it in case it happens by mistake). I used to breathe in, put the mouth piece and go under water. And within few seconds, I'd breathe out and pull up. The 3rd time, my instructor asked me not to go up and in return I showed him the thumbs-up sign (the one which is an emergency sign when you want to go up because of some problem). When we were up, he asked why I did so and I was like, I ran out of breath. And before he could reply, I asked again, err is oxygen connected? He's like, DUH! Couldn't help laughing and going under quickly!

- the sign for everything ok is joining the index finger and thumb and protruding the rest. The sign for going up (when there's a problem) is thumbs-up. Now, in day-to-day life, we use thumbs up to denote all well. My friend got amazingly confused each time his instructor asked him if everything was fine under water. He used to show him the thumbs-up sign, then within a few seconds cross his hands as if to cancel the earlier sign and then show the all ok sign!

- while snorkelling, another friend had his mouth piece on. I hand-gestured him to ask when he was coming into the boat. The cartoon spoke while his mouth piece was on and realized only when water went in!

----
Something you should do,

- we found this out only there; underwater cameras (the handycam and P&S types) are available on rent for Rs. 225/- per day in Bangalore (Basavangudi). Someone who'd come for the dive had got it. Wonderful idea, a must-have if you go diving.
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Old 28th March 2012, 10:08   #13
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

Wonderful trip there, have to add to todo list.
We need more pictures.
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Old 28th March 2012, 11:11   #14
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Default Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

Some more :

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-399027_332562560133569_193703570686136_901185_344954262_n.jpg

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-480185_332558133467345_193703570686136_901142_2054607021_n.jpg

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-522507_332555943467564_193703570686136_901124_376780098_n.jpg

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-527208_332544360135389_193703570686136_901011_520707212_n.jpg

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-537160_332557973467361_193703570686136_901141_377402380_n.jpg

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-542705_332556253467533_193703570686136_901126_1725086541_n.jpg

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-555832_332556423467516_193703570686136_901128_1487820147_n.jpg

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-557410_332556583467500_193703570686136_901129_144004663_n.jpg

Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving-527881_332545516801940_193703570686136_901028_2037877794_n.jpg
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Old 28th March 2012, 11:41   #15
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Arrow Re: Swimming with the fishes - Scuba Diving

libranof1987: Great underwater pictures and details of diving. Did'nt know such organized trips happen and we have clear waters!! Opens up possibiliteis.

Some more interesting information, did a diving trip in Vietnam recently:
  • For the eyepiece to fit in with a good air lock, mustache is a problem!! I was forced to shave off the top portion of my trademark mush, still that was not enough, water entered in. A full shave is best if you are serious about diving.
  • One needs to get used to breathing through the mouth, if you breathe through the nose, the class fogs up, if you breathe out with force air lock can give and water can enter!! A scary experience if you're under.
  • The air in the tank is DRY, many people find it difficult to get used to, also need to hydrate well after the dive.
  • People with chronic sinusitis may have flare ups.
The world under is pretty amazing!!


--Ramky
=====
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