After exploring some of the trekking places in the Himalayas, I wanted to experience and explore the world under the sea. From the day scuba diving took place on my bucket list, I started watching multiple videos on YouTube and started reading different blogs on scuba dive in Pondicherry and in other places of India. After getting a fair idea of the same, I decided to proceed with my first dive with Dive The World. The topics I will be writing in this post are:
- Cost of scuba dive in Pondicherry
- Scuba diving sites in the sea
- The training in a pool before the dive
- The dive
- Problems one may face during the dive.
- Barotrauma after scuba diving
Scuba Dive in Pondicherry with PADI
The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is an association with trained diving professionals helping amateurs get diving experience. There are certain diving clubs/organizations with PADI all over the world. After researching scuba diving places, I finalized Pondicherry, being the nearest place to Bangalore with a couple of organizations for scuba diving with PADI. It is important to go ahead with your first dive with PADI open water certified instructors as they know a dives technicalities and can guide you properly.
There are a certain number of diving programs, and you can choose one or multiple. The most famous are the recreational dives and the open water diving programs. The open water dive is a certificate program with 4 days of training in diving. In the recreational dive, you can dive up to 40 feet only once, after completing 45 minutes of swimming pool training given by the organization’s professionals. I opted for the recreational dive as I wanted to experience the dive for the first time.
Cost of scuba dive in Pondicherry
Scuba diving cost in Pondicherry varies for the different diving programs. It also depends on the organization with whom you are diving.
- The cost of recreational scuba diving in Pondicherry ranges from INR 7000 to INR 7500 with tax. This is the most ideal scuba diving in Pondicherry for non swimmers.
- The cost of the open water scuba diving program in Pondicherry varies between INR 30,000 and INR 40,000. Swimming 200 meters without any stops and being able to float for 10 min is mandatory.
These scuba diving packages in Pondicherry include the swimming pool training cost, commute cost to the beach, boat cost from the beach to the dive site and then back to the beach, the cost of diving equipment and costumes. Usually the boats that take you from the coast to the diving sites can be small fishing boats, speed boats or maybe luxury boats. The type of boat on which you will be commuting to the diving site depends on the organization with whom you register for the dive and the number of participants in a slot. These are applicable for scuba dives in Pondicherry. It may differ in other places.
The scuba diving locations in Pondicherry
Usually, the scuba diving locations in Pondicherry lie 4Km to 7Km inside the sea that the diving organizations already mark. Participants will be taken in a boat to the designated areas and the boat will be anchored before the diving program starts. You can dive to a maximum depth of 40 feet, which is safe. The scuba diving in Pondicherry does not take place from any beach or islands.
Pool Training with PADI professionals before the scuba dive in Pondicherry
After deciding on the dive type and the organization, you need to visit the organization’s office. They will make you sign a self-declaration on the risk factors of the dive stating that the organization will not be held responsible for any untoward incident in case it happens to you. You must also submit a photocopy of your identity proof along with the form.
After the formalities are over, you proceed to a swimming pool where a professional on the various aspects of a dive will instruct you. The major points the training takes care of comprises:
- How to wear the diving gear including the oxygen cylinder.
- How to breathe inside the water using the oxygen cylinder.
- How to squeeze out water from your glasses if water goes inside them.
- If water goes into your mouth, how to take it out.
- Equalization of pressure on your ears under the water.
- Hand signals as you can’t speak inside the water.
You will be practicing the above-mentioned points for about 40-45 minutes and the training will be over only when you can do all the things comfortably.
Scuba Dive in Pondicherry- The process
You are ready for the dive only completing the pool training. The actual dive may happen on the same day or a different day based on the slot availability with the organization and your preference. I chose to dive on the same day as the training.
I was transported to a specified beach by their car where a boat was waiting for me and the other participants. The oxygen cylinder, the diving gears and some snacks gets loaded onto the boat and then we started for the diving site. Altogether there were 7 participants, 2 trainers and one boatman on the boat. It took around 20 min to reach the diving site inside the sea where the boat was anchored. The main trainer instructed us on the dos and don’ts, and we were waiting a queue for the dive.
The 2 trainers/professionals will take each one of us one after the other and tour us 40 feet into the sea. Before the participants dived, professional divers entered the water and tied a rope from the boat to the seabed. The string will act as a direction to descend into and ascend onto the boat.
Before the participants dived, the trainer or the professional designated to tour each participant was already in the water with his gears on. The first participant was asked to wear their gears and be mentally prepared for the dive. The participant was asked to sit on the edge of the boat and then a slight push backward and they were is into the water.
Experience of my first scuba dive in Pondicherry
I was enjoying the sequences sitting on the boat and finally my turn came at number 3. I love water and know how to swim, I was confident and relaxed. My trainer was already floating on the sea. The moment I fell in the water, my trainer asked me to hold the rope.
After confirming all was good with me, we started moving deep into the sea along the rope. Since this was my first dive, my trainer held me on my back and regulated my movement.
It is challenging to describe the rest of the scenes in words. Fishes of different sizes and different colors were in front of me. It was just unique and so thrilling. It is a different world under the sea. You keep watching the fishes and do pressure equalization in short intervals. At some point, I let go of the rope and my trainer took me around to watch various fishes. There were lots of jelly fishes and we had to tackle them so that they did not touch our body.
Ascending to the boat
Trainers carry cameras to click photos and videos under the water. They clicked a few pictures and videos and finally it was time to ascend. A gradual and slow ascend is necessary as you move from a very high-pressure zone to a lower pressure zone.
If we ascend rapidly, there are high chances of lung infection and even lungs and ear drums busting. Trainers are very much aware of the same and will guide you accordingly.
I was under the water for almost 35 minutes, every minute was worth it. After I got up on the boat, it was time to relax and imagine what I went through in the past half an hour. It was hard to believe I was physically under the sea and not watching the Discovery or Animal Planet channel on television.
Problems in Scuba Diving
The biggest problem you may face while deep inside the water is pain in your ears. Our ears try to equalize the pressure and since you are exposed to very high-water pressure, your ears tend to hurt. This is the reason we need to equalize by pressing our nostrils and try to exhale through the nose. It generates an opposite pressure on the ears and keep you calm inside the water.
Once you are up on the water surface, you will face ear blockage for some time. In medical terms, Barotrauma is the name of this problem. This is the same feeling you get when you fly high in an airplane. Normally the ear blockage goes away in 2 hours to 3 hours time. But for some, it remains for a more extended period.
Barotrauma after Scuba Diving
In layman’s terms, Barotrauma occurs when tissue damage is caused by the difference in pressure inside and outside the body. This damage occurs typically inside the ear and sometimes in the upper throat tissues (Sinus). It may also affect the lung tissues.
I did my dive 5 days back, still my ears are partially blocked, and stains of blood are seen in my cough. I had to visit my ENT and get some medicines prescribed for a quick recovery from this barotrauma.
My doctor confirmed this is not a serious issue, it happens to one in 100 people after scuba diving. However, I will continue further dives in the sea.
And yes, neither barotrauma nor AMS can stop me from further dives in the sea or climbing the Himalayas.
Some frequently asked questions on scuba dive in Podicherry
Q. Can non swimmers do scuba diving in Pondicherry
A. Yes. The recreational scuba diving programs in Pondicherry are for non swimmers
Q. How deep is Pondicherry scuba diving?
A. The scuba dives in Pondicherry is maximum 40 Feet.
Q. Is beginners scuba diving safe?
A. Yes, scuba diving for beginners or first timers are very safe in Pondicherry with PADI.
Q. Is scuba diving worth in Pondicherry?
A. Pondicherry is one of the best places for scuba diving in India. There are multiple organizations in Pondicherry that conducts scuba with PADI.
Q. What is the cost for scuba dive in Pondicherry?
A. The cost of recreational dives in Pondicherry ranges between INR 7000 and INR 7500. The certificate open water program costs between INR 30,000 and INR 40,000
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To get more information on scuba dive in Pondicherry, please visit Dive The World