A lot of us are currently locked in our homes, to protect ourselves, our loved ones, the entire community by curbing the spread of COVID19 virus. Sadly, this also means that there is little to no possibility of finding recreational outlets. This time can be particularly difficult for adventure sports enthusiasts like SCUBA divers, who are driven by adrenaline and the need to explore in general. Dear people, we feel ya and we have got you covered for when you get back into the diving groove!? It is a fact that each dive in the quaint little Indo-French town of Pondicherry offers a new and exhilarating experience. With over 20 dive sites to pick from, the truth is that you are spoiled for choices. It is most definitely assured that our dive sites will suit your liking and quirks, be it shallow or deep water sites. But to make it easier for you and not let you ponder too much over choosing the sites, we have handpicked 3 top and famous shallow and deep water dive sites. Read on further!
1. Temple Reef
The good old famed and loved Temple Reef always makes it to the top of the list because how can it not? It is our baby and we are very proud of creating such a phenomenal dive site. This artificial reef site is versatile, as it consists of 4 mini dive spots at a distance of 30 metres from each other: the original Temple Reef, the Parking Lot, the old Temple wreck and the Beer Garden. The most notable and interesting of them all is the manmade small-scale wreck site “Parking Lot”, which is essentially an assortment of triangular metal edifices, a truck, a car and a bike. It houses copious marine life such as groupers, lionfish, snappers, frogfish, trevallies, pufferfish, shrimps and even gets periodic visits from whale sharks! Isn’t this amazing? The depth of 18 metres makes Temple Reef an ideal site to conduct basic recreational courses like PADI Open Water Diver, technical diving courses and for fun diving. Such a spot is also popular amongst Discover SCUBA Divers, who get a chance to see the abundant and colourful marine life even from a 5-metre depth, perfect for experience dives!
2. Danny’s Eel Garden
If you love eels, this is the place to dive! At a maximum depth of 18 metres, atop a ship’s possible ballast live a variety of moray eels. Don’t fret, that is not the only aquatic life you’ll see! This reef is also inhabited by a wide range of crabs, bannerfish, fusiliers, cuttlefish, octopuses and barracudas amongst others. This site is truly one of the best Pondicherry diving has to offer. We can say that our Instructor Danny definitely rediscovered an amazing site, which also incidentally happens to be great for macro spottings! Who doesn’t love to spot frogfish right?
A great story is what this dive site gives us! A couple diving with us, one from Texas and the other from Mexico, discovered the site and hence the term “TexMex”. So explore with us and you might just have a dive site named after you! Unlike the above spots which can be dived any time of the year, TexMex is accessible only from January-March or September to November. This is because of its close proximity to the shore, wherein the visibility is affected when the currents move towards the shore bring the silt back, affecting the visibility. But when it can be dived, there is so much to see and it is totally worth the wait! TexMex is one of our favorites not only for its cute story but also for its beautiful marine life. Keep an eye out for a wide range of alluring gorgonian fan corals along with all-time favorites like groupers, rabbitfish, bannerfish, nudibranch, lobsters, parrotfish and more! The maximum depth is 12 metres which makes it perfect for people with a basic SCUBA certification. We did say our sites will suit your needs!?
4. Aravind’s Wall
Wait, what now? A 40 metre deep dive site? Yes, please!? Discovered by our Master Blaster Aravind, this site is ideal for those holding an Advanced Open Water or Deep Diver Speciality certification. The site does not have a literal wall but has a massive 2.5 km long rock formation that looks like one. It should keep the White Walkers at bay! Did you get the obvious Game of Thrones reference there?? We promise you that a dive here is way better than Season 8. There is also a drop-off on either east or the west side which is so captivating. Just close your eyes and imagine being surrounded by fan corals, fusiliers, bannerfish and even the elusive Manta Ray and just basking in all that beauty at the edge of the drop-off.
5. Fan Garden
Do you want to guess why we call the site “Fan Garden”? Because it is totally gorgonian fan corals galore here! Super big and enthralling, the maximum depth is 34 metres, so get your Nitrox certificate for a longer bottom time! If you are a Marine Biologist/ Ecologist, we are sure that you’ll find this site invigorating. You will also get to spot Napolean wrasses, sea snakes, eels and sometimes Manta Rays! Yay! This site is of course always best dived with Nitrox. Remember to ask us for a nice 30% blend.
6. 3 Roses
3 Roses is an absolute haven for technical divers out there! It was discovered after months of careful planning by using navigational charts, speaking to fishermen and finally locking down on a location. Finding this site was nothing short of hard work, but it paid off so well. We now have this amazing and new 50-metre Tec site with unique corals unlike any other in Pondicherry! In fact, the name of the site comes from one of the corals that looked like a rose. As this is a relatively new site, there is still a lot left to explore. So watch out for updates on social media!
There you go folks, our top 6 dive sites that we love the most! Each site is so diverse, colourful and astonishingly beautiful. There is always a surprise waiting for you. So don’t hesitate to drop us a message or follow us on social media for regular notifications! See you soon, explorers!