Category Archives: scuba diving

Aqua Lung Pro HD BCD – A review by Dive India

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The Aqualung Pro HD BCD is a personal favorite of mine.  I owned the previous version of this (Seaquest Pro HD, before they were re-branded) for several years and found it an extremely comfortable jacket-style BCD.     The air pockets have some structure to them, so the air bubbles doesnt move all over the place (as in some other BCDs) and robust tank support and structure in the back means that the tank stays firmly put, without rolling from side to side.
This BCD has integrated weights and one feature i consider near-essental – trim pockets.   These are weight pockets located around your shoulders:  by storing 1-2 kg there, you can move the center of your buoyancy higher up, which allows you to get a better, neutral trim (in other words, you can hold any body position you want – horizontal or inclined – without any issues).    This system of distributed weights (2 integrated weight pockets and 2 trim pockets) gives you more ditch options:   if you are diving in cold water where you need to plan for the contingency of dropping weights, this gives you more options as compared to a weight belt (which is all or nothing).
The Aqualung Pro HD BCD uses a high-denier fabric, which is more robust, more abrasion-proof and less likely to fade or look raggedy over time.    Lastly, the BCD comes with more than enough lift to handle cold water diving as well (13kg of lift for a size M).     And it has more than enough D-rings and attachment points to hold all your accessories.
As I mentioned earlier, I used to own this many, many years ago and sold it because i was diving with a tech harness only.     In terms of price/performance, this is probably one of the best BCDs in the market today, period
For more information on Aqua Lung Pro HD BCD, Click Here or click here.
Please email sales@diveindia.com to place your order

Mining to blame for islands to sink beneath waves

Two small islands in South Asia’s first marine biosphere reserve have sunk into the sea primarily as a result of coral reef mining, experts say.

The islets were in a group in the Gulf of Mannar, between India and Sri Lanka.

The Indo-Pacific region is considered to contain some of the world’s richest marine biological resources.

The group’s 21 islands and islets are protected as part of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, covering an area of nearly 560 sq km (216 sq miles).

Fishermen had indiscriminately and illegally mined invaluable coral reefs around the islets of Poomarichan and Villanguchalli for many decades, said S Balaji, chief conservator of forests and wildlife for that region of Tamil Nadu state.

“The absence of any regulations prior to 2002 led to illegal mining of the coral reefs, which came to an end when environmental protection laws were enacted,” he told the BBC Tamil Service.

Mr Balaji said rising sea level as a result of global warming was also a factor behind the islands’ submergence.

But this was questioned by Simon Holgate from the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory in Liverpool, UK, who said observations showed that the sea level in the region had been rising slower than the global average.

“I think that global sea level rise had little impact on the disappearance of these islands and it must be due to other reasons, possibly the mining of coral reefs,” Dr Holgate told BBC News.

Though these islets were only 3-5m (10-15 ft) above sea level, their submergence sounded an alarm bell about the danger many more small islands faced in the long run, according to Mr Balaji, who is also director of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust (GOMBRT).

The Gulf of Mannar was chosen as a biosphere reserve by the Indian government in 1989 because of its biological and ecological uniqueness, and the distinctive socio-economic and cultural profile shaped by its geography.

Most of the 21 islands are uninhabited, and the corals were mined for use as a binding material in the construction industry, as they were rich in calcium carbonate.

Rich biodiversity

The biosphere reserve is a storehouse of about 3,600 species of marine flora and fauna.

Many more wait to be studied, said Deepak Samuel, marine biologist and project associate with the Energy and Environment Unit of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).  

“The Gulf of Mannar is a unique reserve with ecosystems like coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass,” Mr Samuel said.

“It is a nursery for shell and fin fishes, which means the entire breeding and juvenile raising takes places in these three ecosystems.”

More than 300,000 fishermen depend on the Gulf of Mannar for their livelihood. It is also the dwelling place for many endemic species, notably the dugong or “sea cow”.

Studies have proved that this gulf is home to 117 species of corals belonging to 37 genera, and 13 out of the 14 species of seagrasses in Indian seas.

The area has also been famous for pearl harvesting for over 2,000 years.

According to marine biologists, a quarter of the 2,000-plus fin fish species in Indian waters are in this gulf, making it one of the region’s most diverse fish habitats.

Most of the islands are uninhabited, and rise just a few metres above sea level

Yet another scuba diving spot

At present, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep Islands provide opportunities for scuba diving.


Netrani is about 10 nautical miles from Murudeshwar

Bangalore: After emerging as a trendsetter in wildlife tourism in the country, the State-owned Jungle Lodges and Resorts is now planning to start a scuba diving camp near the famous Netrani Island.

A popular place for scuba diving in the country, the Netrani Island in the Arabian Sea is located about 10 nautical miles from Murudeshwar. A good destination for snorkelling and diving activities since it has a coral reef, the island boasts of a vast variety of aquatic and avian life.

“We will set up a nature camp at Apsarkonda, near Honnavar, which will act as a base camp for those coming for scuba diving,” Managing Director of JLR N.D. Tiwari, told The Hindu. Apsarakonda, incidentally, also has waterfalls also.

The JLR is planning to provide tent accommodation with about 20 to 30 beds for those undertaking scuba diving. “Scuba diving groups would be roped in to operate diving camps,” he added.

At present, the Indian Navy is using a portion of this small island for its target practise, which is being opposed by environmentalists stating that the coral reef, which is among the only few near a mainland, would be damaged. Only those with prior permission from the Indian Navy can access the island for scuba diving and snorkelling activities.

With regard to the permission from the Indian Navy, Mr. Tiwari said they would initiate talks on this issue and were hopeful of getting the permission.

The camp, he said, would commence in November. “There was a demand from the adventure enthusiasts for a scuba diving camp near the Netrani Island since it is the only place in mainland India where such opportunities can be provided.” At present, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and the Lakshadweep Islands offer opportunities for scuba diving, he said.

On other projects, Mr. Tiwari said the black buck resort at Vilaspur near Bidar with a 15-cottage accommodation was ready for inauguration and 15-cottage resort at Talakalale near Jog Falls would be ready by May.

Deep Diving

Mention a “deep dive” and watch the reactions. Novice diver want to know what it’s like. More experienced divers who have been a bit deeper chat with excitement. Those qualified to venture to 40 meters show enthusiasm, though somewhat tempered with respect for the challenge deep diving presents. There’s something a bit attractive, exciting and mysterious about ‘ going deep’

As a OWD 18 metres marks the depth limit to which you’re qualified to dive. This limit isn’t arbitrary it’ based on no decompression limits, nitrogen narcosis an air supply but even if you’ve only made a few dives, you may be curious about deeper dives, perhaps simply to visit specific dive sites below 18 meters.

The Deep Adventure dive will satisfy some of this curiosity and give you access to some of those dive sites by qualifying you to dive as deep as 30 meters, in conditions as good as or better than those in which you have training and experience. You can do your deep dive speciality on the up coming Maldives Dive Trip. Just sign up with us and get ready to explore the deeper side of Maldives.

Drift Diving

As promised here is a write-up on drift diving speciality. This will be available on the Maldives Trip and it highly recommended as Maldives is one of the best places to enjoy drift diving.

If until now your experience has been that current are something you fight to swim against; drift diving will give you a whole new perspective. Drift diving grew out of the philosophy, “if you can’t beat them,join them” and is the prevailing practice in many areas with nearly continuous strong currents.

Drift diving can give you a real adrenaline pump. At some drift dive sites,the current rips you along far faster than you could swim, or even cruise with a DPV (Dive Propulsion Vehicle), sailing you along effortlessly. Some divers compare drift diving in clear water to hand gliding or horizontal sky diving but no airplane needed and you don’t have to worry about your chute opening.

Advantages of Drift Diving

  • Drift diving usually requires little effort. During the dive, you just go along for the ride, buzzing through the scenery with the current “swimming ” for you.
  • Drift diving opens up dive sites that are nearly impossible to visit any other way. In particular, rivers and some reefs are constantly in strong current that precludes non drift dive techniques.
  • Since you are floating along in the current, you cover more area and see more on a drift dive.
  • Many types of drift diving relieve you of having to return to or look for a specific exit point. The boat travels with you.

All you have to do right now is contact us and book for your drift diving speciality for the Maldives Dive Trip happening this month. Don’t miss out on a great oppurtunity!!

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