Scuba Diving in Kerala - A Memorable Experience in Kovalam with Bond Safari
Read my scuba diving experience in Kerala with Bond Safari. If you are looking for some adventure with the marine life or just want to explore the underwater world in Kovalam, there is no better place to go.
For me, an ocean usually means endless blue waters, boats, ships and sand beaches. That's it. Well, not true anymore. Thanks to Bond Safari for helping me discover the amazing life under the water through scuba diving.
Even though a lot of amazing marine life has been seen in Discovery channel and in English movies, I was of the impression that they are not reachable for the majority of people due to the efforts and skills involved in going to the deep ocean and exploring the marine life.
Before I share my first diving experience, let me give summarise how it went and what I learned. You can find a lot more details at the official website of Bond Safari.
1. Scuba diving in Kerala is safer than exploring wildlife and other adventure sports. (Conditions apply!!!)
2. You don't need any special skills or swimming knowledge to do scuba diving. You just need to learn the basic breathing practice using the special equipment and it takes a few minutes of practice.
3. There is a lot of marine life even just 100 meters away from the shore and 20 meters below the water level.
4. The marine life you see when you go 100 metres from the shore is far different from the fish and other creatures that you see on the beaches. The underwater marine life is very colourful and is not scared of seeing the human. They will come very close to you and won't swim away when you move closer to them.
My first scuba diving experience in Kerala
I was a bit nervous until I went fully under the water. From the moment I wore the swim dress and fitted the breathing equipment on my body, I was breathing fast and fast as if I will no longer get Oxygen after some time. But the instructor was very cool and made me feel comfortable and we slowly walked into the deep water. Within a few minutes, I completely forgot that I am wearing a swimsuit and I am breathing using the special equipment. I was in a different world altogether - the ocean world with very colourful and strange marine animals swimming around me. Even though I was strictly warned during the preparatory session against touching any of them due to safety of them and us, I felt like grabbing and pampering them. The instructor who was always with me throughout my diving didn't allow me to touch them anyway.
Every moment under the water was an experience. We went slowly exploring various living and non-living things. They had shown a lot of those during the video session prior to the diving and we were able to connect the animals to the video as we saw them. In addition to the moving animals, there were other marine plants and non-living things to explore.
The time went very fast and I completely forgot everything else while exploring underwater surprises. When we started, the focus was on breathing through the mouth using the equipment. But once we sunk into the water, we completely forgot about the breathing part and it became a natural reflex. After a while, the ears were paining a bit but I followed the prior instructions to equalise the pressure and it became normal quickly. A couple of times, drops of water went inside the mask and mouth, but again, there were clear instructions on how to handle that and it worked perfectly.
We eventually came back to the shore and I slowly raised my head above the water and realised those precious moments have memories to remember forever.
Preparing for Scuba Diving
It all started with some technical sessions, which were pretty boring compared to the wonders awaiting us under the ocean. Anyway, it is mandatory to learn the concepts of scuba diving, which include:
1. Getting familiar with the equipment
2. Learn how to breathe under the water (don't worry if you don't learn it from the theory session, you will practice is it again in the shallow waters with the real equipment)
3. Learning the hand signals to communicate with the instructor (did you know you can't speak under the water, no matter how talkative you are!)
4. Tips to avoid risks and stay safe under the water
It took about 30 minutes of time to learn and understand the scuba diving concepts and safety tips. The instructor tried his best to keep it short and precise but I had too many questions, which made it go pretty long.
The next part of scuba diving was a video presentation. Miss Aneesha Benedict, Marine Biologist with an M. Sc in Marine Biology, gave us a detailed presentation with photos and videos of marine life present in the ocean in the Kovalam region. She showed us a lot of rare species of marine animals and I couldn't believe that we are going to see them all so close to the shore during our diving. But we saw a lot of them during our diving and I could connect them all with the specialities of them mentioned during the presentation.
Breathing Equipment and Diving Suite
The next step was to get familiar with the scuba diving equipment. There was a pretty heavy air cylinder that would be tied to our backs. It felt pretty heavy outside the water but under the water, it wasn't a problem. The cylinder is not filled with pure oxygen but is filled with the right mix of purified atmospheric air for comfortable natural breathing.
A special swimwear was provided that help the diving easy and also keeps the body warm when we are under the cold water. We removed our dresses completely and kept it in the locker facility available in their office near the beach and wore the special scuba diving suit.
The Bond Safari office is located about 0.5 km from the diving location. After we changed our dress for diving, they picked us up in their vehicle and dropped on the beach. The instructor and diving experts were awaiting us there. They helped us fit the breathing equipment on us and also helped us practice breathing in shallow water using the breathing mouthpiece. The practice in the shallow water lasted for about 20 minutes and then we slowly moved to the deep waters.
We were a team of divers, each one assisted by a dedicated instructor. Also, there was a cameraman with an underwater GoPro camera for recording every precious moment with the marine life.
About Bond Safari, Kovalam
Bond Safari is the only scuba diving agency in Kerala which arranges real scuba diving in the ocean. They operate from Kovalam, one of the best beach destinations in Kerala. There is another scuba diving agency in Kerala called "Scuba Cochin", which I think is more into freshwater diving, primarily for learning the diving concepts and not for real diving in the ocean.
I met the Bond Safari team. More than a few businessmen, they seem to be a small group of passionate divers who have an impeccable love for marine life. In addition to conducting scuba diving, bond safari and other water sports, they are into various activities to protect marine life including activities to protect marine life, removing plastic waste from the underwater areas of Kovalam and so on.
Review of Bond Safari and Overall experience with Scuba Diving in Kovalam
I would give a 5-star rating for my overall experience with Bond Safari team. Here are the notable points from my scuba diving in Kovalam:
Bond Safari handled the whole program very professionally, starting from greeting us into their office, giving us clear instructions on how to go about the whole program and completing the diving under water, with a focus on exploring the marine life.
There is a lot of marine life underwater, even close to the shore. We don't need to go to the deep ocean to see the colourful marine life that we see in the videos and movies. They are reachable to us. Bond Safari took us close to them and the whole program was really worth.