This Christmas, on our annual break in Goa, I decided to do something completely different, something, none of us had done before – something exciting enough to get us away from being beach and pool bums for at least a day.. and what we decided was, let's do a day of Scuba diving !! Though Goa isn’t really regarded as the best place to go Scuba Diving (primarily because the underwater visibility isn’t too good ), we said, what the hell, we’re here, might as well do it !!
So, we booked ourselves on to what's called an Introductory Scuba Dive experience with a company called Dive Goa, an outfit I’d heard of, but, didn’t really know much about. Their Dive Shop and training facility was in North Goa, about a 45-50 minute drive from our home, and I guess a similar drive away from most of South Goa’s hotels (obviously closer for those at one of the North Goa Hotels). Dive Goa is a small outfit run by a very pleasant husband-wife duo of Ashwini and Ajay, Ajay being a Diving instructor himself, and his better half handling the commercials.
After the initial half-hour of classroom instruction, and signing the mandatory release forms, we got to the pool for the equipment training, and within about an hour, we were all set. The 6 of us (Geeta, the kids, a cousin and his son and me) potential Scuba Divers, along with 3 Dive instructors were on a small boat headed towards Grande Island, just about 8 or 10 miles off the coast. The rest, as they say... is history!! The Diving was great fun, Ajay and his team fantastic, and the kids actually didn’t want to come to the surface almost until they were told that their air cylinders were nearly empty.
A lot of people we’d spoken to, had actually discouraged us against trying our hands at Diving in Goa, glad we didn’t listen to them (sorry friends !)...it was a great experience,even if visibility was only about 10 meters and the Goa waters not really what one would call crystal clear...but, the important thing was, that we hadn’t really gone to Goa for the Diving (if we’d done that, perhaps we’d have been disappointed by the water and visibility levels), but, were in Goa anyway, so, this was a great way to experience diving for the first time.
As a family, we loved it so much, that Geeta and I will possibly do the 4 day Open Water Course next time we are in Goa (again, it might not be the best place to do it, but, for us, its convenient, since we anyway spend about 2 weeks a year in Goa, and its also relatively inexpensive), and guess what, both the kids are going to the Andamans for a Diving Camp this summer.
All in all, I’d say, if you are in Goa anyway, and keen to try your hand at Diving, or even keen to get your PADI/SSI certification, without going to somewhere far away, Goa is a good option.