Scuba diving. That fascinating experience of seeing undersea world! If you are planning to experience Scuba diving, it is time to pack up and go to Netrani off Murudeshwar before monsoon starts in June.
We didn’t plan this adventure initially. Our plan was to go to Goa during the May day long weekend and finish off some personal work on the way back in Kundapur and Tirthahalli. We knew Dhiren Rawat of Dreamz Diving from a common friend who was encouraging us to try out Scuba diving in Netrani. ( Update – Dhiren and Dreamz Diving have been banned from conducting any Scuba diving in Netrani. )
The best option for anyone interested in Scuba diving in Netrani is ” Dive Goa Agency” who are thorough professionals. See more details here
When we spoke to Dhiren and asked him if there was any chance for us to join the dive on 04 May, he said yes. We told him to block two seats for us. We would join straight from Goa on the way back to Bangalore.
Having arrived at RNS Residency on the previous day – we don’t recommend this place to anyone ( see Poorna’s review of this hotel in Tripadvisor here Review of RNS Residency) – we were up and ready in the morning atDreamz Diving office in the same building. Completing paperwork, we picked up our life jackets and walked to the beach for boarding a boat toNetrani island which is 18KMs away.Kishore, our dive master told us that it will take at least one hour and fifteen minutes to reach the island. We joined a group of other diving enthusiasts numbering thirty in all.
|Lovely sunrise over the hills
|First briefing before moving to the beach
|@ the beach. About to board the boat.
We were split into two boats. Our boat was pretty fast. Kishore started his briefing session. A jovial Nepali, the guy spend eight months in Murudeshwar and remaining time trekking in Nepal. A good briefing wherein he explained how the SCUBA equipment works, do’s & don’ts under water, signs to make as there is no chance to speak etc., made us realise that diving is quite technical. He peppered it with lot of humour helping many in the boat beat the seasickness. By the time he finished his briefing, we could see glimpses of Netrani in the horizon. But it was not before another 20 minutes of boat ride we reached the island.
We had never done such a long boat ride on the sea. It was exciting to see the shoreline fade away slowly leaving you at the mercy of water. You are actually at sea! As the boat chugged on, we could only see the large expanse of water all around us. We were looking around to see if we could spot dolphins. We were not that lucky.
Finally, Netrani was showing up on the distant horizon. We were all excited to do our undersea adventure which is a once in a lifetime experience. Thoughts of entering into an unknown territory brought butterflies in our stomach. It is a small rocky island with fair amount of vegetation. But we didn’t see any sandy stretches on the island. The edges of the island jutting into the water was sharp and slippery. Kishore had clearly advised us not to venture to climb the island as it is risky. However, we could see local fishermen having etched their names on the rocks in the island.
|Netrani……..as we approach it.
|Rocky edges of the island
The boat anchored close to the island. Kishore had told us that we would be transferred to a small boat in which we would be fitted with diving jacket and then jump into the water. Kishore called out for the first three to go. We waited for good swimmers to venture out first. The first three moved to the small boat. The team started fitting them with diving jacket and fins. After having tested and confirmed everything was in place, they were asked to sit on the edge of the boat and were gently pushed. All three rolled over into the sea. Each debutant diver was accompanied by a dive master.
|This is the small boat from which we dived
After half an hour of disappearance under the sea, the three returned with “Awesome” “Mind blowing” “Spectacular” and other adjectives to describe the experience. We opted to go next. The fact that each person was escorted by a master helped us to brave it out. Fitted with diving jacket & fins, we were asked to bite and fix the pipe supplying oxygen. We were made to rehearse breathing technique through mouth and asked to sit on the edge of the boat.
Now there was no escape. With prayers on the lips, we said bye to each other and before we could realise we had rolled over into the sea. We started floating immediately. Kiran and Kishore, the dive masters were already with us. Kiran asked me if i am “All OK” in sign. I said yes. He removed the mask, washed it in seawater and put it back. He asked me to start breathing through mouth. “Take Long breaths” “Relax” “I will be with you, no worries”. Kiran’s words were reassuring. He asked me then to float and see underwater. The water was shallow and i could see the seabed clearly. It was the first WOW moment!
He again asked “All OK” and started leading me away from the boat. I lost bearing as we moved deeper and deeper. The world beneath was looking beautiful. It was like moving in a natural aquarium. I was one among the lovely fishes. Words fail me as i explain the beauty of life under the sea. How can i explain the thrill of spotting a lovely fish passing by you looking at you curiously who the hell this guy is? It is similar to seeing a tiger in wild. A whole family of mother fish followed by her babies surrounded us! A colourful fish in yellow and blue was trying to poke into a coral! Tiny colourful fishes were flashing all around! The colours of these fishes amazingly beautiful. You will be taken by surprise by a lovely fish suddenly coming out from nowhere. We went deeper and now we were on the sea bed. On the rocks, we could see coral formations. Then, the sand banks at the bottom of sea! It was nature at its best. Take a look…..
Diving at midday made sense as the ocean floor was brilliantly lit and the view was crystal clear. The instructors brought us together. We were now moving together pointing our fingers at any new fish coming in our view. The instructors took pictures of us for keeps and we separated again moving with our instructor. We would have loved to remain underwater for more time appreciating the beauty. That wasn’t to be. Slowly Kiran brought me up inflating the jacket. As i came out, i could see bright light and popped out of the depths. After few minutes Brinda also resurfaced on the water.
|We both with the Instructor
|All OK! (This is the sign to be used when we say “All OK”)
We still had lot of time to spend as others were to complete their dive. We made use of the time floating around and trying snorkeling though there wasn’t much to see near the boat. Kishore had clearly warned us not go too far from the boat.
It was time to leave when 15 of us completed the dive. We boarded the boat and started sailing back.
It was a good day spent in the sun. A lovely day spent under the water. The life down under is just amazing. A beautiful world beckons you to visit again. We will come back. For sure.
The tag line of Dreamz Diving said it all “You have not lived if have not dived”!
Postscript – Dreamz Diving has been banned from conducting any Scuba trips with effect from January 2015 due to molestation charges under sea by the Chief Instructor.
Getting ThereBy Air – Mangalore & Goa airports are equidistant from Murudeshwar. Both are well connected to other parts of the country.
By Train – Murudeshwar has a railway station on Konkan railway route and well connected to other places in the country via Mangalore and Vasco in Goa.
By Bus – Murudeshwar is well connected by both Government and Private buses to other parts of Karnataka and Goa.
By Road – Excellent road connects Murudeshwar to Bangalore, Mangalore and Goa.
Unfortunately, the stay options are basic though RNS group has hotels here including a beach resort. Our experience in RNS residency was bad. A new home stay has opened up which is worth trying. It was full when we checked it. Check out this link below
Mavalli Beach Heritage Home
a) This is whole day program. Keep one day dedicated for this if you are planning a dive. It is very safe and the Dreamz Diving team has well trained diving professionals. For more details on Dreamz Diving and their various programs, you may click this link below.
b) Murudeshwar beach is one of the dirtiest and badly managed beach we have come across. The beach itself is very beautiful. If you plan to enjoy the beach go away from the crowd towards north. It is peaceful. The beach also acts as public toilet. Make sure you avoid the shit spots!
|This is the stretch of beach you should move avoiding the crowd. Also avoid the side where the fishing boats are berthed.
c) There is no lifeguard on duty on the beach. No flags either. Be careful and do not take risks. Every Year deaths by drowning in the sea is reported from this place.
d) Visit the Shiva temple and absorb the enormity of Second tallest Shiva statue in the world here. Enjoy lovely sunset and get up early to enjoy lovely sunrise over the hills.
e) If you plan to stay more days, you can also visit the famous temples of Mookambika in Kollur and Ganapathi in Idgunji.
f) It is also worth spending another day visiting lovely waterfall at Apsarakonda near Honnavar and also take a boat ride on spectacular backwaters on Sharavathi estuary.
g) Regarding diving, it is safe as each one is accompanied by an instructor. Unless you have any health problem, you can have this experience. Pay attention to the instructor when he briefs you. Don’t get panicky. There is no need for one to know swimming. Make sure you follow instructions of the instructors while you are on the boat and while diving.
If you are interested in other adventure stories by us, you may read the following posts in this blog
Triund Trek – A Heavenly hike in Himalayas!
Trek to Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand, Indian Himalayas
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