Goa- the most decorated tourist destination of India, where glimpse of different worlds can be experienced at one place. In fact, Goa is the only tourist destination in India, where majority tourists are foreigners and at all time of year and this makes Goa a place where Indian tourists are treated as a ‘Secondary’ guests, specially in Southern part of the state/city.
‘’never mind- It happens only in India’’
Goa has been captured extensively in the movies and the beauty of Goa justifies its extensive presence in the movies from all corners of the world. Another aspect, which has been showcased extensively about Goa is the ‘water sports’ activities which are extensively available along the long coast line of Goa.
It is true, that the Goa offers abundance opportunities for water sports like surfing, parasailing, banana boat ride, snorkeling, diving, etc. but the way it is shown in the movies, the reality is very far, based on my personal experience.
My passion of diving, took me to Goa, during December 2020, just when the pandemic was at its low. However, I was scared to out on a trip due to the pandemic, but still, it was required badly, after a prolonged mental stress caused due to pandemic.
So, based on my past experience of dive booking, I had booked my diving slot well in advance with a Dive center. Now, I prefer to book dives well in advance of my trip, because sometimes I had faced negative responses, due to overbooking requests or peak season. So, i always prefer and advice to book diving in advance, so as to avoid shattering of dreams at the last moment. But, the most important thing to note about diving in Goa is that, all the diving centres are located in the North Goa, so for those travelers who love South Goa for their stay, need to plan their transport to North Goa for diving, the reason, you will know later.
I had booked my dive with a dive shop in North Goa and as per the schedule, I had to report the dive shop at 7 o’ clock in the morning. So, as per my calculation, I had to start at 6;o clock in the morning from my hotel in South Goa to reach the shop at right time and two options were available with me: first one, to ride scooty in the morning to North Goa and second was to hire Taxi. I chose second option because it was the month of December and was bit cold in the morning and secondly I had to go for two dives, so did not wanted to get tired by driving an hour and then diving for two sessions. There was third reason also, but that was a “silent” reason. My hotel was in the extreme South of Goa in Agonda beach and the road to the hotel was passing through dense forest and state highway, so starting in early and dark morning on scooty, was not safe at all, be it any part of India and that too when my wife was also accompanying me. But, my decision was right, since the cab driver proved to be professional and he arrived at 5:30 a.m at my hotel for pick-up and dropped us well before scheduled time.
It was indeed bit difficult for both of us, to wake up early in the morning, take light breakfast and travel an hour to the dive center.
We reached the dive center as per the given schedule, but to our surprise, we were only present at the dive center and the shop was still closed. However, in next ten minutes, the shop opened and preparation for dive started.
Since, I was having certification, so basic training was not required but for my wife, basis training was required and the same was conducted in the adjoining pool of the dive centre. But before, the training started, formalities were completed along with declaration form of “NO COVID-19” declaration, which was added in the normal protocol. The fins, masks, cylinders, BCDs were assembled for us and also for other divers who were accompanying us in this trip. Other divers arrived at 7: 30 a.m and it was big relief for them, since they got two more hours than us to sleep and relax. After assembling and sorting the divers based on their certifications, briefing started in the swimming pool for my wife and other divers.
The basic scuba diver (BSD) training lasted for almost 45 minutes, where basic training of hand signals, breathing practice, use of BCD inside water and other mandatory skills were performed. The instructor also took some pics of training for memories of divers, with different hand signals.
After conclusion of the basic skills, we were prepared for the dive trip.
We boarded on the open jeep along with equipment’s and headed towards Jetty for onward journey.
Story to continue…