Diving in Pondicherry – A diver's POV
If you dive Temple Adventure be ready for some great atypical dive adventure!
Can you imagine diving where the coast line of Indian were standing 10 000 years ago? Well this is what you will be doing in that dive center!
The Great Aravind Wall ( 6 dive sites and drift dive)
One of my favorite dive site is what they call the “Great Aravind Wall” ( named after the Instructor who discover it). It is situated about 15 km of shore and it is 2 km long and according to the great BBC researcher and author Graham Hancock, probably where the cost line was 10 000 years ago when the level of the ocean was about 30 to 40 meters lower. And ye, they bring you there (!), of course you have to be advance diver…. Nitrox is highly recommended, because we go 30 m down and at that depth you are happy to dive Nitrox and get extended bottom time! Amazing diversity of water scape, rocky bottom with cracks, holes, cave, giants steps, drops to 40 meters….beautiful Gorgonian Fan Coral gardens and Whip coral and such an extended marine life : School of Surgeon fish, great yellow tail barracuda, amazing big guy Tuna, Torpedo rays, Banded Sea Krait, Malabar Groupers and other groupers, Moray Eel, Golden Trevally, Lion fish, Damsel and Fairy Basslets, Sweet lips and very pretty ballerina looking blue trigger fish ( known as red tooth trigger I believe?) and another one, not sure which one it is…looks like a Picaso trigger but bigger….and much more….well and yes…it is true… one time ( a year back) I saw with a group of diver a big 7 m from head to tail Manta Ray! That was awesome! We were at 30 meter deep looking at the bottom when Julien ( one of the Instructor) who was hovering with Air divers at 25 meters started to make big signs…and ye, here she was , very curious, she did 3 rounds around us, was very close about 4 to 5 meters and went into the deep!
They do crash course for Nitrox, so don’t hesitate you can pop up, get you Nitrox cert and dive the wall!
The Cudalore Wreck
I was lucky to log 4 dives on that site and I tell you World Class! I dived in a few wrecks in Malaysia and Indonesia and well this one has nothing to envy to those one! It is just 500 meters of shore at shallow depth, bottom at 12 m, you spend most of your dive between 6-7 and 10 meters and get plenty of bottom time! The wreck is 80 meters long and whoooa booming with marine life!!! Well if I do the list, it’s gone take a long time…so I will just give a few teasers: Meet beautiful 6 rings Angel fish, the holy couple of dive sites, plenty of banner fish, 2 very very big Honey comb black and white Moray, Parrot fish, Tuna, Snapers, Groupers, Sweet lips( Magpie and Lined juvenile and adults) yellow ribbon, butterflyfishes…well honestly there is just thousands of fishes and probably a 100 species on that site! Being close to the shore you could get poor vis sometimes but that is not an issue taking in account the shallow depth and even in poor vis there is a constant flow of marine life in front of you mask. Plenty of big holes to look into and the Instructor crew has started to penetrate the wreck, don’t know if they offer it to customers yet.
Hey, for the fish id lovers there is one specie we don’t know yet who they are, big guys, about 15- 20 of them, leaving in the captain cabin, 1 meter long, very quick, silver, with a kind of a snout ….Any idea? Probably an estuary predator?
Those sites are very unusual, situated at 5 km of shore; they are man-made (!) but well what a surprise! It is a local fisherman technique to sink trees and towers made of palm leaves, that create an habitat, refuges and niches where fishes come to hide, rest, reproduce and prey!
At depth starting 12 meters ( top of the towers) to 18 to 21 m ( sandy bottom) you find quiet a surprising marine community. Lodging on the towers, plenty of damsels, dottybacks and what I believe to be lots of cardinal fishes. Also at all dive you meet a few very friendly box and puffer fishes who are very used to divers also a couple of very elegant Lion fishes who won’t forget to display fully their long dorsal and large pectoral fins and some funny yellow juvenile sweet lips who follow you everywhere!
Now the big attraction on those dive sites are the Giant Malabars Groupers which you can approach as close as 1 meters, if you go slow and have a good buoyancy and don’t scare them ( if not take a PPB specialty course!). That’s quiet something to be able to look in the white of the eye of those creatures ( !) , well some of them look as big as a calf ! ( ye, ye I know about the 30 % story…but still!, they are big!). On the same line, there are those days always a school of big Tall-fin Batfishes, very friendly, who let you come as close as 1 meter also.
Finally around the towers and trees plenty of Pelagic come to hunt, school of adult or juvenile barracuda, plenty of snapers, jacks, trevally,sweet lips….
Many thanks to Stephan Fayon for this awesome report about the diving in Pondicherry with Temple Adventures. We could not have said about the diving here in a much better way.