Andaman group of islands in the Bay of Bengal off the East coast of the Indian subcontinent are a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Sun, sand and adventure can be found in equal measure over here, on par with any other renowned beach destination in the whole world. Blessed with a bounty of natural beauty in the form of beaches with powdery white sands and waters so clear you can see the sea floor from above, Andaman is a true paradise on earth.
Did you also know that Andaman’s claim to fame is its enchanting underwater world? The pristine depths of the Bay of Bengal have nourished and preserved a holistic ecosystem of some of the rarest and most exotic species of aquatic flora and fauna. The bright sun shines through the crystal clear waters of the Andaman seas to show you a magnificent panorama of an otherworldly experience as you enjoy some of the most fun underwater activities that can be done here.
Here is a list of some of the best water sports that are available in Andaman.
Andaman islands are home to some of the legendary dive spots in all over the world. Every year, thousands of divers, from novices to professionals, come to the Andaman islands to get a taste of the pristine clear blue waters of the Bay of Bengal and discover the mysteries that lie beneath them. Here you will find exotic sea creatures like turtles, black and white finned sharks, stingrays, mantas, starfish, jellyfish, sea cucumbers and anemones, not to mention some of the widest variety of corals in this part of the world.
Havelock island is the center for most of the diving activity in the islands, although the South Cinque Island is also a good possibility. There are many scuba training schools in Andaman that are SSI and PADI certified. The most renowned ones are DIVE India, Andaman Dive Club and Barefoot Scuba. Some of the best known dive spots are the Aquarium – a novice level dive spot that is so called because of its clear waters and the sheer variety of sea creatures that can be witnessed here, and Jackson’s Bar – a favourite among the more experienced divers who want to try drift diving.
Snorkeling is a much easier underwater sport that you can enjoy without having to go through the rigorous and expensive training process of scuba diving. Snorkeling involves exploring the shallower waters in Andamans, with the help of a mask that has an attached windpipe. Beaches like Elephant beach, Corbyn’s Cove and Jolly Buoy are some of the best places to enjoy snorkeling. Elephant beach is especially great because you can find corals at a depth of just one meter over here. You can rent snorkeling equipment for about Rs. 1500/- from most of the beach shacks in Andamans.
Sea walking is a fun activity that has recently been imported into the Andaman islands from other tropical destinations like Jamaica and Australia. It involves wearing a heavy watertight headgear that resembles an astronaut’s helmet and literally walking on a seabed that has been cordoned using nets for the participant’s protection. Air is supplied to the helmet using long pipes, which allows you to breathe while you are walking underwater. Literally anyone can enjoy this fun activity as prior knowledge of swimming is not a pre-requisite. Once you are underwater, you can revel in the beautiful seascape around you and explore the vast coral reefs of the Andaman. But perhaps the best part is carrying a packet of fish snacks underwater and feeding the fish right out of your hands! A session of sea walking costs around Rs. 3500/-.
Glass Bottom Boat Ride
Imagine gliding over the crystal clear waters of Andaman sipping on a cool drink and looking down at the underwater kingdom through a glass bottom boat. While there are many glass bottom boat rides available in Andaman, the Dolphin glass boat operated by the Andaman Water Sports Complex in Port Blair is a much faster specimen that allows you to get up close and personal with a wide variety of sea creatures and corals without having to get your feet wet. Its a perfect experience for someone who is afraid to get into water but still wants to explore its depths. This experience will surely change their mind about taking a dip into the serene and beautiful depths of the sea.
While parasailing can even be done on land, doing it over the azure waters of Andaman is a different experience altogether. A fast moving speedboat tugs your parachute as you fly over 100 feet above the sea for more than ten minutes before slowly gliding down into the water. Parasailing is an activity that does not require any prior training. It is best enjoyed at the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex in Port Blair.
Andaman’s mangroves are its big little secret – they comprise around one fifth of India’s total mangrove cover. In Andaman they make up a unique and astounding ecosystem that is home to a vast variety of exotic flora and fauna including some amazing species of birds. The best way to explore Andaman’s mangroves is with kayaks and the place for it is Mayabunder. A guide accompanying you will lead the way as you explore the depths of the mangrove forest, and help you spot some beautiful bird and animal species along the way. A kayaking session costs around Rs. 2500 to 3500 depending upon the time.
One of the best ways to explore the 572 islands that make up the Andaman archipelago is by renting a boat and going game fishing. You can look for a wide variety of fishes including tuna, barracuda, red snapper and giant trevally in the Andaman waters while wandering from island to island and taking short breaks to explore them on foot.
Ride in a Seaplane
Adventure junkies will tell you that booking a seaplane ride is an experience you must absolutely have in Andaman. Seaplanes offer a unique flying experience as you take off, not from a runway, but from a water body. The Pawan Hans service operates between Port Blair and Havelock island, and allows you to experience a plane that takes off and lands on the sea surface. Although the ride only last about fifteen minutes, its the thrill of looking out of the window as you glide over the sea water towards a exhilarating landing that makes it worthwhile.
Andaman is literally the home for any and all water based adventures in India. We are sure that you are itching to try at least a few of these exciting activities!
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