Diving Pondicherry

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Pondicherry, India

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Country: India  Area: India

Water Temp: 25 - 32°C (77 - 90°F)

Visibility: 1 - 25m (3 - 82 ft)

Depth Range: 10 - 50m (33 - 164 ft)

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The idyllic city of Pondicherry is one of the main tourist attractions of the Southern part of India. Pondicherry was, at a point in time, a French Colony. As a result the entire city is dotted with beautiful 18th and 19th century buildings and churches. However, the main attractions that the city has to offer are the spectacular beaches and the Aurobindo Ashram. The Ashram is an experimental township, the only one of its kind in the world, where people from all over the world may live together in harmony. A lot of tourists come to Pondicherry to visit Matri Mandir and enjoy european food.

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Another reason for Pondicherry to be very high on the tourist radar is its accessibility from all of the major cities/metros of South India. Tourists generally travel to the nearby towns of Mahabalipuram for a brief stint, after spending their holiday in Pondicherry or travel to the nearby coastal town of Cuddalore.

 

Marine Conservation

In an effort to conserve the marine life in and around the area, the local dive centre has built and maintains the first and only artificial reef (non shipwreck) in India. This site was named both after it's creators (Temple Adventures) and the shape of the site on the ocean floor. It is an amazing artificial reef, consisting of fully recycled materials such as concrete, rocks, trees, palms, and iron bars. Nearby is a terrific wreck. How did that scooter rider get so far out to sea? Residents include Steve the Grouper (50kg+), Cassandra the yellow Frog fish, and many, many more. At maximum 18m depth, this site has 100+ species living on it, and must be seen to be believed.

Diving Pondicherry, Credit

Climate

The overall climate of Pondicherry is tropical. It has a nice pleasant weather all year around, with January having the lowest temperature and April/May registering the highest temperature. Pondicherry generally has two monsoon seasons. The first season from June-August has occasional rains and the second season from October – December gets the major part of the overall rainfall. Water temperature is between a pleasant 25 to 32 degree Celsius. A 3mm wetsuit is recommended, but divers have been seen diving with 5 mm profile wetsuits and others with only a rash vest.

Out for adventure, Credit

Other Year round Marine life

Lion fish, grouper, kingfish, moray eels, parrot fish, sea snakes, triggerfish, butterfly fish, angel fish, banner fish, bat fish, scorpion fish, barracuda, trumpet fish, puffer, anthias, frogfish, nudibranchs, slugs, cleaner shrimps, banded shrimps, crabs, lobsters, cuttlefish, silver moony.

 
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The Diving

Aravind's Wall  

Aravind's Wall is starting to become famous around India, especially after the last Whale Shark and recent Manta Ray sightings. This Wall, several kilometers long, is the ultimate drift dive, and gives you a glimpse of the rocky Indian continental plateau, as opposed to the sandy sea bottoms usually found in these regions. Covering such a large area, natural progression led us to break it up into different dive sites. From 30m to 40m, Aravind's Wall is the premier Pondicherry series of dive sites, with visibility up to 40m, and average of 15m year round. Lots of Jack fish schools, sea snakes, spotted rays, great fan corals and beautiful colours on the reef. Currently we dive on 12 different areas of the Aravind's Wall, all of them special in their own way - but we keep discovering new, premium spots.

Small & Big Fishes, Credit

Temple Reef

This site was named both after its creators, all members of Team Temple Adventures, and the pyramidal shape of the site on the ocean floor. It is an amazing artificial reef, consisting of fully recycled materials such as concrete, rocks, trees, palms, and iron bars. Nearby is a terrific wreck : how did that scooter rider get so far out to sea? Residents include Steve the Grouper (50kg+) and friends, Casandra a large yellow frog fish, 300+ barracuda schools, garden eels, scorpion fish, silver moonies, etc. At maximum 18m depth, this site has 100+ species living on it, and must be seen to be believed.

Danny's Eel Sanctuary

Discovered in June 2014, this site is jam pack with, you guessed it, Morey Eels. A rocky bottom topography, also in abundance are trigger fish, trevally, scorpion and frog fish, plus of course the usual tropical zone creatures such as banners, butterflys, etc.        

More Fishes! Credit

Cool Shark

A great site that caters for all levels of diver, from Open Water and Advanced through to Discover Scuba Diving at 12m. The maximum depth is 23m, where the real beauties are found. The site's namesake is sometimes found around the 14-19m mark, coming in for a quick look and heading off again. Batfish, dogfish, moreys, plus great macro life such as crocodile fish, shrimps, nudibranchs, scoprionfish and more. This site is a natural reef comprised of small reef balls (scattered corals rising from the sandy bottom). At just 6km from shore, it is an easy to access area. 

Cuddalore Wreck of the SV Murthi

A 85m long wreck in 12m of water: where else in the world do you find such a thing? Even on low-visibility days, the diversity of marine life is so stunning that one needs to push the fish away to fin forwards: huge baramundis, monster morey eels, jumbo porcupine fish… The wreck of this old antarctic research ship, sunk on Christmas day, 1984, has become the shelter of hundreds of species, and each of them, protected by the metal structure, is growing to unseen proportions. While beginners can stay around the outside of the wreck and enjoy the fish life, a dozen penetrations and explorations are also possible for Wreck specialists and Tec Divers - and the shallowness of the site allows for super long dives.

J3VND

A flat immensity at 49.8 meters depth, where shallow rock cracks draw geological scars in the sandy face of the plain, all stitched up with gorgonians - probably by the surgeon fishes swimming around. Barracudas, gropers, bannerfish, huge jellyfish… all the inhabitants of the deep. This site was discovered in November 2014, and is the ideal place for the final dive of PADI Tec 50 / Tec Deep course!

Ravines

A site named due to its deep flowing cuts in the rocky reef bed. From 30M, you will enjoy following the rises and ridges of 

the bottom topography, finding a huge range of life along the way. Apart from the great farm-like plants here, this place is also legendary for being where our first Manta Ray was spotted. Yes, indeed, a Manta.

Lionfish! Credit

The Hole

Discovered in March 2011, this is a great site for Advanced divers, and even better for those with a Deep diver qualification. The dive starts from 30M with an undulating reef bottom. The central part of this dive is the "hole" area. For Advanced divers, look down from the top. For Deep divers, come down with us and look into the never-ending blackness all around that extends under the rock shelves. Take a torch and you can see a little further. This is where some of the really big creatures hide, staring out at us from the dark!

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How to Get there

The nearest international airport is at Chennai (MAA). It is well connected with South East Asia and through the rest of the world via some of the other major airports in India. Pondicherry is a 3 hour drive from the airport. You can get taxis/ local buses to make the journey.

Pondicherry has a railway station and is connected to Bangalore.

Pondicherry is well connected to almost all the major cities of South India by bus. There is a wide range of bus services available and some need to be booked before hand.

Diving near the wreck, Credit

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Where to Eat & Drink

• Le Café

• Baker Street – morning breakfast

• Tanto – pizzas

• SeaGulls-awesome view

• LB2- steak

• Satsanga

 Do not forget to ask the local dive centre’s staff for details to the local eateries. Anyone who has ever tasted that has always gone back the next day.

 
Leave me alone! Credit

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Other Activities

• Go Beach hopping, with four very different types of beaches.

• Heritage architecture tour at 18th-19th century colonial French buildings.

• The experimental township of Aurobindo Ashram and Matri Mandir.

• Enjoy authentic European cuisine.

Looking for food, Credit

Family Friendly

The local dive centre offer PADI Bubblemaker and seal team program. It is a great way to introduce children (ages 8 +) to scuba diving in a pool less than six feet deep! Kids should be comfortable in the water, but don't have to be super swimmers. Fun, easy and safe! 

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Tips

Travelling in India is an experience in itself. Everyone who has travelled there has loved it and is recommended for an extended stay. The travel hacks to survive and enjoy in India is never ending. So get in touch with the friendly local dive centre, who would gladly give you a crash course, over a couple of beers.

Into the deep , Credit

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