While Cyclone Gaja wrecked our plans to dive the Ship-Wreck at Chintapally, I set out optimistically to try and dive closer to the coast. An expected viz. of 1/2 – 1 meters gave us second thoughts on whether we should proceed ahead and get wet
17 November 2018
After the events of the previous day passed by in a blur, I opened my eyes to a little less than hazy skyline but which (according to my Vizag based friend) is commensurate to clear blue skies considering our location. Lamenting about the cancellation of the Vizag Wreck Dive, I got out of the bed hoping that today wouldn’t end up being a write-off.
A little over a decade ago, the City of Destiny was known for it’s smoggy and muggy weather. The presence of Sulphur factories largely contributed to this unwanted phenomena. However, the revision of archaic industrial rules and amalgamation of eco-friendly practices has made things much better in the city.
A quick shower later, I cozily snug up in the co-drivers seat as we departed for the drive to Rushikonda Beach. Clean roads sans traffic meant that I was in love with the roads, and I would get my chance to roll rubber on graphite later that day.
Living the Adventure at LiveIn Adventures
We arrived at the dive shop of LiveIn Adventures – situated in a cute corner along Rushikonda Beach. A fantastic promenade and small shacks for groups to enjoy their beer/grill along the beach left me impressed.
Prima-Facie, the dive center is decently equipped. The infrastructure could probably cater to approximately 15-20 divers. However, the space on their boat limits the capacity from 7 to 10 divers. Completely disregarding the DMs advice, we decided to carry on with the dive and proceeded towards the boat.
The boat time was short and we ventured out approximately 0.5 – 0.8 Nm away from the coast. It was to be a shallow dive with a charted depth of 11 meters. My friend and I had decided that we would take a call on whether to continue with the second dive basis the first one.
Sound of Silence
One back-roll later, we were comfortably floating in the water. Kitting up and BWRAF checks later we commenced our descent into the blue. First Glimpse – Visibility = 3 – 4m (Super!) and low to occasionally medium currents. Right off the bat, I realized that I had over-weighted myself by 1 Kg. I was trying out my new wet-suit and had carried an extra Kg with me. I eventually realized my wet-suit buoyancy to be approximately 1 – 1.4 kgs and made a mental note to myself about the same.
We ended up circling around a triangular formation of corals, sand bottom, and stones as there was nothing else to see. The marine life was nothing to write home about, just as was the variety of course. Except for an occasional surge of currents, the conditions were comfortable and caused no reason for concern.
We ended up with a bottom time of 68 minutes and I consumed roughly 100bar of air (11.1L tank) at an average depth of 7.8m and max depth of 9.4 meters. The only exciting part of the dive was when a couple of fancy sea shells caught my buddy’s attention and he decided to stay back. Much to my chagrin, we (DM and I) lost sight of him and the average visibility didn’t help either. As luck would’ve had it, we sighted his air bubbles and found him. This happened twice – to be exact.
While happy to get wet after so long, we decided against another dive. We were told that there would be no new marine life and that the visibility would be the same. Instead, we logged our dives and re-routed to a nice restaurant – Vihar. Perched on a hill, the place offered us a beachside view and chilled and cheap (by Mumbai standards) beer. Although not ideal, it was a satisfying end to the day.
I was offered the driver’s seat on the way back and enjoyed the drive. Heck, I even increased the mileage by 0.1L! One bath and many cups of tea later I was ready to hit the bed and snooze like a baby.
As I hit the sack, I rewound to the news of the Cyclone and how my plans were up in the air. The last thing I remember is being contented that I still showed up and dived and got to meet my friends too…