03 March 2018
Sipping the cool local beer to achieve respite from the muggy and sultry weather of Pondicherry during the summers, my friend and I were revisiting the last two days of amazing dives we’d had. The weekend had included dives at the artificially made Temple Reef and a couple of dives up to 40m at Aravind’s Wall. Just as in the past the city had been kind to us and our dive plans.
Without much ado, we had got down to the brass tacks of planning our next dive trip. Having dived across the length and breadth of mainland India, we were looking for something new. Unable to come to a consensus, we decided that we’d do some research and finalize on a plan soon.
Sometime in August 2018
Recent rumours about a nice shipwreck off the coast of Vizag (on the East Coast of India) had alerted me to a prospective opportunity for a weekend getaway. My inhibitions to broadcast the plan in our dive group were shed as soon as I read reports of the same shipwreck in The Hindu. Not much of an advocate for telepathy but a few seconds later my old trusty phone is blinking eagerly with the message ‘Partner, check this out’.
Fast forward a few weeks of oohs and aahs and whatnot and we finally decided to settle on Mid-November to dive the Chintapally shipwreck. A wreck thought to be of a vessel which braved the seas circa the 1600s. The site, located 40Nm from Vizag, reportedly boasted of visibility of 15m. Sitting at a depth of 10-12m, it would be an ideal place for divers and photographers with a penchant for natural light. Without further ado, we booked the slots.
15 November 2018
Happily looking forward to a weekend of diving, beer and catching up with friends – Life happened.
A depression in the Bay of Bengal was giving birth to what would be known as Cyclone Gaja. Sitting in the middle of the Bay, it was expected to make landfall at Chennai (800 km South-west). While preparations for the oncoming and expected floods were in full swing in Chennai and the Southern regions of Arunachal Pradesh, our dive preparations seemed to be descending into unfathomable depths.
After a bit of frantic to and fro messaging amongst the dive operator and our group, the final situation stood as follows. Buddy #1 – Cancelled Tickets. Buddy #2 – Based in Vizag. Dive Operator – Says all dives on hold. Me – Optimist as always, I go through with my tickets and inform the DOs that I’ll be arriving shortly and to try and make something happen.
Fast forward to today, and things are beginning to look up. Clear skies and a calm sea. A bit of persuasion meant that the DO acceded to our requests for a two tank dive trip tomorrow. It won’t be at the Chintapally wreck, but at least it’ll be something. The weather forecast looks optimistic and fingers crossed that I’ll be typing away about my dives same time tomorrow evening.
Hope is where the heart is
Anyways, I’m off to charge my camera and get my gear ready for tomorrow 0700hrs…..