Scuba du-ba-du: Scuba diving is the new pandemic pastime as several divers head to Murdeshwar where it is allowed with new protocols


The pandemic may be driving people up the wall. But a few people from Bengaluru and other states are going under water. To scuba dive.

Netrani Island near Murdeshwar which is a draw for scuba divers has been buzzing in the last few weeks. This tiny coastal town in Bhatkal Taluk is seeing a steady increase in the number of visitors from Bengaluru and also neighbouring states since it reopened a month ago.

Like the rest of the outdoor activities, scuba diving too had to stop after the pandemic outbreak and the lockdown in March.

However since scuba diving activities were allowed to restart by the local district administration from October 24 onwards, there has been a steady increase in the number of visitors, said representatives of scuba diving centres in Murdeshwar.

“We have been having visitors from various parts of the state and also neighbouring states like Kerala, Maharashtra and Telangana since we reopened on October 24.

The clients come during the weekends. We had a very busy Deepavali weekend. In each boat ride to the dive spot, we had about 10 to 15 people,” said Moin Nawaz, a scuba diving instructor.

Nawaz said that in the pre-covid days, around 35 people including the staff would go on a boat to the dive spot, but now due to the new SOPs, only 15 people are allowed.

“We cannot take a full boat now. So we have about 10-15 people and each dive session lasts for about 40 minutes. Since reopening, we have had about 100 clients,” he Nawaz said.

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Ajey Patil of Dive Goa which also offers dives and certified dive courses in Murdeshwar said that weekends see more clients, however some prefer to come over during the weekdays to avoid overcrowding.

He added that a few clients from Bengaluru also underwent a four day-long scuba diving certificate course.

Adhering to guidelines of the Divers Alert Network, the mouth pieces worn by the divers are not shared. Each diver has a new mouthpiece when he goes for a dive.

Besides all equipment is cleaned by Biox Ultrasonic Cleaner liquid after each dive and a diving suit and equipment worn by a diver once is not reused till the next day.

Meanwhile, Planet Scuba India Pvt Ltd, a city based scuba inland diving institute which used to offer diving in a swimming pool has asked the authorities to restart the activities in Bengaluru.

“We will follow the same guidelines which are being adhered to in Netrani or other diving spots which include no reuse of equipment and no swapping of mouth pieces and cleaning the equipment with Biox Ultrasonic Cleaner liquid after each use,” Madhava Reddy of Planet Scuba India said.

In Bengaluru, inland scuba diving and training used to take place at the St Joseph’s Indian High School and Ulsoor Swimming Pool.



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Sagar Biswas

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