Diving Sites in Port Blair
The marine life here is quite rich and is sure to leave you in wonder and awe. Thanks to the Andaman Administration that protects the corals and fishes on the island. This dive site is a shallow reef that is part of the continuous fringing reef running along the north-eastern coast of Havelock Island (Swaraj Dweep). If you want to witness the perfect balance of vibrant fish and soft & hard corals, then this is your one-stop destination. Clownfish, tiger fish, angelfish, along with so many other colorful fish can be spotted in its clear waters. The underwater world of Havelock Island is considered the best in the country, and that’s why it would be absolutely great if you could have your first dive here.
Located just off Peel Island, Red Pillar is a small dive site. Divers can experience strong currents here as it is located in the channel. However, a great energetic dive is guaranteed here. Smaller fish hide around a sunken scooter, old scuba tanks, compressor frames, etc. at this dive site in Havelock Island.
Answer: The Red Pillar is a shallow reef whose depth can be anything between 5 to 12 metres. Because of its shallow depth, it is considered one of the best diving sites for beginners and even those who do not how to swim. The shallow reef also ensures that the visibility is very clear underwater at the Red Pillar.
Answer: A shallow reef makes the Red Pillar a great diving spot for those who want to start their scuba diving journey. Both beginners and non-swimmers can dive at Red Pillar. The current at the diving spot is also not strong, so if you are a scuba diving beginner, you can easily glide around in the water even if you do not know how to swim. Given its beautiful marine life, many experienced and even advanced-level divers also visit the Red Pillar.
Answer: The best time to scuba dive at the Red Pillar in Havelock Island is from the onset of winter until early summer. Most people visit the island to scuba dive between late October and March. This is because, the water is calm during these months, making it great for a dive. You will not be able to dive during the monsoon season as the chances of rain and storms are very high making it risky for anyone to get into the water. If you are travelling to Havelock Island during peak summer and monsoon season, it is better to check the forecast for the time of your visit to ensure there are no heavy rains predicted around the time.
Answer: Poor eyesight is not a technical issue for divers. The problem is that you cannot wear prescription glasses underwater as you’d have to wear a scuba mask and without your glasses, you may not be able to see underwater. This may also be risky at times. Most people wear contact lenses while scuba diving. If you do not wear contact lenses generally, you can get a set of disposable lenses just for your dive. The other option is to wear a prescription scuba mask that matches the power of your glasses. However, not all diving centres would have prescription scuba masks and it may be difficult to find one that matches your power.
Answer: The underwater marine life at the Red Pillar is very vibrant. One creature that you’ll spot everywhere is the seahorse. There are seahorses everywhere at the Red Pillar. The most common varieties of fish found here are clownfish, angelfish, snappers, fusiliers, and many reef fishes. There is an old scooter, a small lighthouse, and a cycle at the bottom of the Red Pillar. When you dive down, you’ll find that much local marine life including both flora and fauna has built its habitat around the scooter and the cycle. You will also see some giant fishes like crocodile fish, scorpionfish, and sting rays underwater.
Answer: The cost of scuba diving for beginners at Red Pillar can start at INR 4500 and go up to INR 7000. The price of the scuba dive may vary depending on what you add or remove from your package. In almost all cases, the boat ride and an instructor who guides you underwater cannot be removed from the package. A short training is also mandatory before you dive at Red Pillar, even if you are a beginner or non-swimmer. What can be negotiated is the video and photo package added to the price. You may save some money if you remove them from your package. However, whether you are a beginner or a non-swimmer who wants to try scuba diving, you wouldn’t want to leave Havelock without having such a memorable underwater experience captured on camera, would you? If you planning to take an extended scuba diving course for certification, you may be charged anything between INR 6500 to INR 20,000 depending on the length of the course you opt for and the number of dives you take.
Answer: Anyone with a weak respiratory system is discouraged from scuba diving. This is because diving requires you to regulate your breath underwater since you’d be using oxygen from a tank. What you should do in such a situation is to consult your doctor about your ability to scuba dive. You should do the same thing if you have any sort of heart issue. Pregnant women are, however, not allowed to dive altogether as it may pose a risk to them.
Answer: While Red Pillar is just 1 km away from Havelock and can be reached within 10 minutes, the journey to Havelock Island can take 2-3 hours from Port Blair. Since there is no airport at Havelock, the only way to reach the island is by ferry from Port Blair. You can fly down to Port Blair’s Veer Savarkar International Airport and from there take a ferry from the Phoenix Jetty. It will cost you around INR 300-500 to take a ferry to Havelock Island.
Answer: There are many places that you can explore around the Red Pillar. Havelock is full of beaches. If you want to have lots of fun, go to Elephant beach, but if you want to relax and enjoy the view, visit the Radhanagar and Govindnagar beaches. You can also take a kayaking trip to the mangrove forest of havelock.
Answer: There are many diving spots at Havelock Island. Beginners and non-swimmers can explore the Slope, Aquarium, and Lighthouse which have light currents and shallow reefs. The lighthouse is also the only place in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where you can dive even at night. However, only experienced divers are allowed to dive at night. If you have made a few dives already, you can try the Wall, Minerva’s Ledge, Mac Point, Jackson’s Bar, and Johnny’s Gorge.