Scuba Diving around Kolkata in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands

In the modern 21st century everyone loves a weekend getaway to some exotic place which is far from all the hustling noise of the city, somewhere they can relax without that annoying call from their boss bothering them, and one such way to do this is to find a natural ecosystem underwater where people can explore the true wild beauty of coral reefs and underwater marine life via scuba diving. But with our civilization becoming more and more advanced it is becoming more and more difficult to find any pristine untouched natural location for scuba diving enthusiasts where they can truly experience what they are looking for. Welcome to Calcutta (now known as Kolkata).

Kolkata has been a prime location in India for diving enthusiasts to reach a very natural and pristine spot for scuba diving which has retained it’s importance for over a century. Kolkata is a gateway to the truly uncharted waters of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, situated in the extremities of The Bay of Bengal. It is almost a 800km ferry ride to reach the islands, but once you reach there the long ride is truly worth waiting for and anyone can easily count this place as one of the many places they go before they die.

andaman sea

Nicobar Islands by Hrishikesh Karambelkar

To start out with, one can hire the services of various scuba diving and adventure sports centers in and around Calcutta, the likes of PADI and SSI Centre or even The WB Academy of Adventure Sports, or even the Mahatma Gandhi Marine national Park in the Andaman islands. You can begin your diving trip with the first spot for diving being the beaches beside the Umngot River in Dawki (a neighboring state in India) and then explore the coastline along the Sundarbans and then eventually take the long trip to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The diving spot around the coastlines of Sundarbans is a very unique area where the silt rich sedimentary water of the river flows into The Bay of Bengal which creates such bright contrast that it is one of the few geological features that was visible to the astronauts who landed on the moon. This unique mixing of fresh water silt with the salt water ecosystem attracts many different kinds of marine life and hence the underwater floor is estimated to be teeming with at least fifteen thousand different types of aquatic and marine creatures.

Indian coral

Coral Life

Moving on from these beaches your prime and final spot for diving would be in the islands which have already been declared as a World Heritage Site in 2010 by the UNESCO World Heritage. An estimate of more than 4000 species and subspecies of plants both land and aquatic including the likes of Mangroves, Palms and Epiphytes is spread all over and around the 572 islands which are formed by an underwater mountain range which separates the Bay of Bengal from the immediate Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean. Bottom line – there is a lot to see and enjoy around here.

Life is very soothing, smothering and smooth here in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as you will not find that crowd or that annoying salesman trying to sell you souvenirs. Apart from the rich underwater corals there is a ton of other stuff that you can do here in these islands. Andaman and Nicobar Islands have earned a reputation of being one of the most richest and diverse marine ecosystems in Asia. You can also have lunch and dinner in one of the many restaurants that the islands have and spend your day more exclusively than anywhere else on this planet.

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Diving the Black Sea in Bulgaria

Scuba diving has been a sport for many people since a long time, because it offers great joy and relaxation. It is ideal for people, who like exploring the nature. It offers an incredible view of things that most people have not seen in their lives so far and they will probably not.

However, this relaxing and preferred way of spending a holiday, might be considered to be new to Bulgaria. There are many companies in the past few years, which have shown interest in offering their services on the Black Sea. That is because they have seen how much it can offer. For example, on its bottom there are many awesome wrecks such as Merchant vessels, torpedo boats, landing craft and a lot more military boats from World War II. To top it of, submarines can also be spotted. Finally, a very popular ex-communist airliner was sunk into Black Sea, which created a man made reef, perfect for scuba divers to see and enjoy.

u-211 bulgaria black seaThere is a lot of history which is hidden at the bottom of the Black Sea and it definitely offers a really interesting time for those, who like history. On the other hand many divers are more into the marine life and Black Sea has a lot of different marine species to offer. Some of them are jellyfish, local fish and dog shark. Really amazing is that even only 50 meters away from the sand you could find sea horses. The fauna and the corrals have developed independently from their eco systems, resulted by the isolation of the sea and the incoming fresh water from the rivers in Europe.

There might be a good number of dive sites, which you could choose from, when you are about to scuba dive in the Black Sea in Bulgaria, but here are the top three dive sites:

The first one is WWII passenger ship Regele Carol I. This WWII passenger ship managed by Lieutenant Florian Popescu came to its sunken fate in 1941. It had to lay antisubmarine mines in Midia-Tuzla barrage. The task was to be done together with the NMS Amiral Murgescu and NMS Dacia ships. All of that was happening while then undergoing Varna operations. In the same year though, it was sunk and only theories were formed about what happened. Either, when it was leaving the harbor in Varna, fully loaded with a lot of new mines, it hit a mine. It took only thirteen minutes, the fatal number, for it to go to the bottom of the sea. It was around 2 miles from the Galata Burnu lighthouse. Or it is thought that a torpedo attack from the Soviet submarine SC-211 is the reason why it Regele Carol I is now under the water. Why don’t you go to Bulgaria to make up your own mind on your next scuba diving holiday?

Wreck dive in Bulgarian Black Sea

Wreck photo courtesy by blackseascuba.com

The second dive site is the Russian submarine SC-211. It was launched in 1938 and only three years later it was lost near Varna. It is believed that it was mined in Romanian minefield S-18. After that there are a few other torpedoes and tankers sunk until the day when it was found at 25 meters depth near Cape Galata.

The third dive site is the Russian destroyer “Lieutenant Pushchin”. It was deployed in 1904 in the Black Sea near a city which is now in Ukraine. However, its initial name was different. It was “Zadornai”. Soon it was classified as a destroyer. However, during even the first day of the World War II the first the destroyer came into a fight with the Turkish-German battleship and it suffered large damage. However, it was repaired in order to appear in the artillery support of the Russian troops. At the time it took part of the battles, which were near the coast of Black Sea, the Lieutenant Pushchin hit a Bulgarian mine and it was plunged into the depths.

These are just the top three dive sites which can be found in the Black Sea of Bulgaria. If you are a wreck diving enthusiast and a history buff, Bulgarian Black Sea diving is the perfect spot for to curb your scuba diving enthusiasm.

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Posted in Black Sea, Bulgaria, Lieutenant Pushchin, Bulgraia, Regele Carol I, Bulgaria, SC-211, Bulgaria, Wreck Diving | Dive Tags , , , , , , , |