Most of the scuba diving at the Andaman Islands takes place in the south from Havelock Island or Neil Island. Alternatively, book yourself onto a liveaboard diving vessel that will take you to far flung, less visited areas like the volcanic Barren Island. The diving season usually starts in October or November and extends until May. Outside these times, the islands are hit by the monsoon which brings rain and wind.Water temperature at the Andaman Islands is tropical, ranging from 80-84˚F (27-29˚C). Some sites experience currents including down currents and some sites are mostly calm with predictable drifts. Diving experience would be handy at Barren Island, especially considering some dive sites have names like Washing Machine.Expect to see beautiful sloping reefs, steep walls, sandy bottoms, coral gardens and great pinnacles while diving here. Visibility is usually good and can extend up to 130ft (40m). Many sites are still undiscovered and you might be lucky to see a place never dived before. Some highlights include Dixon’s Pinnacle, walls and channels off Havelock Island, and various manta ray cleaning stations around Barren Island.
Andaman Islands Sea Life
Closer to Havelock Island and Neil Island, expect to see reefs littered with colorful reef fish and more interesting ones like pufferfish, scorpionfish, pipefish and also moray eels, octopus and the occasional sea snake. Redtoothed triggerfish and batfish like to hang around drop-offs and along walls together with schools of snapper and large bumphead parrotfish. Green sea turtles are also often seen in these waters. Pinnacles have more action with hunting fish like whitetip sharks, barracuda, trevally and groupers. Sandy bottoms often host large stingrays.At Barren Island, the diving is pretty spectacular with a few sites frequently visited by manta rays and passing eagle rays. A very unique experience could be had on Elephant Island near Havelock Island. There are dive sites off the island but more importantly, during a surface interval, you might have a once in a lifetime chance to swim with an elephant.
How To Get There
Fly to the Veer Sarvarkar Airport in Port Blair from Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and other places in India. Airlines that fly to Port Blair include Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir, and Jet Airways. From Port Blair, hop onto ferries to get to the other islands.