Situated amidst the underwater coastal belts enveloping the Andaman Islands, there exists a thriving ecosystem of coral reefs and geological formations that remain unparalleled in their density and beauty. These coastal waters are graced by extensive reef formations, often spanning several hundred meters in width, gently separated from the shores by shallow waters. These aquatic wonders are complemented by the presence of volcanic lava hills, rendering this experience both unique and exceptionally rare. Within these untouched coral reefs reside some of the world's most vibrant and diverse marine life, adding a breathtaking spectacle to the azure ocean waters. Anadaman is a place whereby a person can get first hand experience the various wonders of nature. It has one of the richest coral ecosystems in the world and is also preserved in pristine condition. There are exquisite varieties of sharks which range from hammerhead to nurse and leopard sharks. Manta rays, Silvertips and Oceanic white tips can also be seen in this amazing potpourri of crystal clear sea.
Sites for Scuba Diving:
While the Andaman archipelago boasts ten enchanting islands, each offering over 40 diving locations, the ultimate scuba diving experience hinges upon several critical factors. These include water depth, water clarity, safety, coral and fish populations, water currents, and prevailing weather conditions. Under the vigilant protection of the Andaman Administration, these coral reefs teem with life, often enveloping divers from all directions, leaving them in a state of awe and wonder. Below are some of the finest scuba diving spots in India, where one can witness the underwater beauty of the Andamans.
Havelock Island: It is located 34 miles North East of Port Blair and also has a well stocked main market. There are also formations of underwater rock and it can be discovered in the purity and tranquillity of these islands. Some excellent dive sites which offer the best viewing opportunities and an amazing scuba diving experience are the wall, Barracuda city, Aquarium, Light house, Jackson reef, Mac point, Pilot reef, Seduction point, Turtle bay, and Nemo reef.
The Wall: This particular dive is very much suitable for professionals and amateurs as the site is sheltered between islands. It is located on the southern end of underwater ridge where there is an abundance of aquatic life with fishes of all shapes and sizes like triggerfish, lionfish, snappers, stingrays, napoleons and schools of barracudas.
Barracuda City: This particular dive is actually suitable for professional and amateurs with little experience as there are little current present in the area. This site actually has huge hard corral and rocks intercepted with soft corral that slopes downward to a sandy bottom. The underwater activity is seen to be believed as blue spotted sting ray, large ray, coral fishes, jack fish, surgeon fish and the occasional sea turtle will accompany you in this dive.
Aquarium: This dive is very well suitable for both professionals and amateurs. There are hard corals and rocks that trail downwards to a sandy bottom as this is very popular breeding area for aquatic life. It provides a diverse range of options (comprising of potato groupers, hump-back parrot fish, trevallies, napoleons, sting rays and the occasional dugongs) for travellers.
Light House: This particular dive is best suited to amateurs and professionals alike. This is also popular for night diving as well. The diving experience involves a lot of thrill as one can pass along a sloping corral formation towards a sandy bottom which has a lot of fish life, lion fish and sea cucumbers along side soft and hard corral.
Jackson Reef: For both professionals and amateurs, this particular dive is suitable. This dive consists of potpourri of rocks and hard corral ending with the soft sandy bottom.
Mac Point: This dive is also meant for amateurs and professionals, where the diver will be surrounded by hard corrals. The crystal clear water will provide great visibility, and the dive provides maximum relaxation.
Pilot Reef: This dive too is meant for amateurs and professionals alike. This place is a plateau with hard corral and small ledges which will drop off to a sandy bottom. The chances of seeing white tip and leopard sharks are good there is an abundance of groupers, tuna, jack fish and a lot of critters.
Seduction Point: This dive in particular is very much suitable for amateurs and professionals alike. This rock is full of aquatic life in its full splendour. Stag horn corral and its inhibitors are biggest attraction.
Turtle Bay: This particular dive is very much suitable for professionals and amateurs alike. The dive happens to be a gentle sloping dive to a sandy bottom that is abundant with sand rays and turtles.
Nemo Reef: Nemo Reef in Havelock marks every point on the list for a perfect diving experience and is the best place to dive in Andaman for both new and experienced divers.
North Bay Island: Nestled near Ross Island, North Bay is a diminutive islet that ranks as the second-best diving destination in the Andamans. The island's coastline boasts crystal-clear, cerulean waters and is adorned with a thriving coral population, offering a picturesque diving experience. Its compact size leaves little room for additional sightseeing, making it ideal for those seeking an exclusive diving excursion, willing to devote an entire day to the experience
Neil Island: Renowned for its excellent hotels and resorts, Neil Island also harbors one of the finest underwater dive sites. Although the water here may lack the absolute clarity found in other locations, it still offers a remarkable underwater adventure, thanks to the well-preserved marine life and thriving corals along its shores. With moderate water currents and safe depths, Neil Island guarantees an optimal underwater exploration. Notable dive sites in Neil Island include Busy Burro, Manta Point/ Robin's Bay, Nursery, Aquarium/ Neil Garden, and Lighthouse.
Port Blair: As the capital city of the Andaman Islands, Port Blair also provides a decent diving opportunity. Corbyn's Cove Beach, located just 12 kilometers from the airport, serves as an excellent location for underwater adventure. The live corals near Snake Island (despite its name, devoid of snakes) are well-preserved and abundant, offering clear waters that provide a captivating glimpse of the underwater realm. While marine life may be slightly less abundant compared to other spots, the experience is no less enchanting. Noteworthy dive sites in Port Blair include Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Corruption Rock, Rutland Island, and Snake Island.
Barren Island: Earning its distinction as the sole active volcano in Asia, Barren Island stands as one of India's most unique diving locations. The island itself remains off-limits to tourists for obvious reasons, rendering the surrounding waters utterly pristine. Here, a diverse array of fishes and other marine creatures thrive, providing a rare opportunity for divers to encounter silver garden eels, dolphins, white-tip reef sharks, turtles, and if fortune smiles upon them, colossal manta rays, spanning up to six meters in length. Moreover, schools of barracuda, trevally, dogtooth tuna, and similar species grace the thriving coral reefs, offering a truly exceptional diving experience.