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My Experience with Scuba Diving in Tarkarli

I still remember the excitement I felt when I first discovered that you could go scuba diving in Tarkarli. As someone who loves adventure sports, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore the depths of the Arabian Sea while vacationing in this scenic coastal village in Maharashtra.

tarkali scuba diving

Why I Chose Tarkarli for Scuba Diving

Tarkarli is home to some of the most pristine beaches along the Konkan coastline. The place offers spectacular views of the Karli River merging with the sea. When you combine this with an abundance of marine life and great visibility underwater, Tarkarli starts seeming like an ideal place for scuba diving in India.

Sure, there are plenty of other coastal destinations that offer scuba diving, like Goa, Andamans, and Netrani Island. However, as someone living in Mumbai, Tarkarli was the nearest and most convenient option for me.

Also, it tends to be far less crowded than the popular tourist magnets, allowing for a more relaxed and enjoyable scuba experience.

Booking My First Dive

I researched on the internet and found a few reputable diving centers in Tarkarli accredited by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). One center called Sea Water Sports particularly stood out due to excellent online reviews.

After exchanging a few emails, I booked myself onto their Discover Scuba Diving program. It involved a shallow dive with an instructor to 15-20 feet for around 30-45 minutes. This seemed like the perfect introduction to scuba for a complete newbie like me.

Soon enough, I was aboard their dive boat, speeding towards our dive site located a few kilometers into the sea.

Getting Oriented and Geared Up

The instructor gave me and two other first-time divers a detailed orientation on all the do's and don'ts of scuba diving. This helped settle some of the nerves I had. We were taught how to use the equipment, including fitting the oxygen tank, BCD vest, regulator, mask, and fins. Getting comfortable with all that scuba gear felt awkward initially. But the instructors were extremely patient and helpful.

Magic Happens Underwater

And was time to roll backwards off the boat into the sea. As I slowly submerged into the water, I had to remind myself to breathe normally despite the initial panic. My instructor held my hand firmly, guiding me down. And before I knew it, I was witnessing an alien world unfolding underneath.

Vibrant schools of fish danced around the corals like they were putting up a spectacular show just for me. I spotted blue and yellow striped sergeant majors, iridescent parrot fish, quirky puffer fish, and so much more marine life. Swaying gently with the currents as the bubbles rose to the distant all felt pretty surreal and magical.

Turns out, those 30 minutes whizzed by far too quickly. The experience left me yearning for more as I climbed back aboard the boat.

Continuing My Scuba Journey

That first shallow dive acted as the spark that continues to fuel my passion for scuba diving even today. Since then, I have gone back to Tarkarli multiple times, slowly progressing into deeper Advanced Open Water dives up to 30 meters.

I have explored scenic underwater pinnacles and caves, spotted moray eels and nudibranchs, and even completed a night dive to witness a whole new nocturnal spectacle unveil in the ocean. There always seems to be something new and exciting beckoning me under the sea here.

Off the beaches, Tarkarli offers river diving where you float along with mild currents while marveling at the unique freshwater coral and fish species. Wrecks of old ships offer their own eerie thrill and chances to spot octopuses and shrimps. The dive sites here provide variety and challenges for divers at all levels.

Why Scuba in Tarkarli Appeals to Me

Here are some key things I love about scuba diving specifically in Tarkarli:

  • Crystal clear visibility - My last Advanced Open Water dive recorded an impressive 35 meters of underwater visibility. This enhances that magical feeling of diving enormously.

  • Accessible dive sites - All dive spots are located a few kilometers from the shore, making this suitable for those who get seasickness easily too.

  • Affordability - Full scuba gear rental plus dive boat rides here cost nearly half of what you would pay in the Andamans.

  • Seclusion and safety - There are rarely more than 6-8 divers per trip. So the waters here don't feel crowded, reducing risks of accidents.

  • Interesting topography - From colorful coral gardens starting at 5 meters to steep vertical walls from 15-35 meters depth, there is ample marine terrain to explore.

  • PADI certification - Getting my initial Open Water Diver certifications done here felt more personalized and less rushed than larger commercial centers.

Key Challenges of Scuba Diving in Tarkarli

However, scuba diving here still does come with its own set of challenges:

  • Far from airports - Nearest airport is 140 kilometers away in Kolhapur. So accessibility isn't straightforward for non-locals.

  • Weather dependence - Trips get canceled frequently during monsoons or when the sea gets rough. Scuba is best done here between October to May.

  • Limitations in medical care - There are no decompression chambers nearby. So risks associated with uncontrolled ascents, etc remain quite high.

  • Creature discomforts - Jellyfish stings, sea sickness, and minor scrapes/cuts do happen occasionally. One needs to be prepared to handle those.

Nonetheless, the pros heavily outweigh the cons of scuba diving in this relatively virgin destination along the stunning Konkan coastline. Once you witness the magic unfolding here underwater, it becomes tough not getting enchanted by Tarkarli's scuba charms.

Final Advice for Beginners

As a parting note, I want to give some suggestions for those planning their first scuba experience in Tarkarli:

  1. Do adequate research - Read dive center reviews, understand medical prerequisites, gear requirements, safety protocols, etc thoroughly before booking anything.

  2. Start shallow - Even if you are a strong swimmer, beginning scuba at depths above 12 meters is advisable until you get fully comfortable with the equipment and breathing techniques.

  3. Pay attention during orientations - The short training sessions on land and underwater may seem mundane initially but can prove extremely vital for managing emergencies.

  4. Invest in good gear - Don't try to cut costs by renting old equipment. Your life depends on those tanks and regulators working flawlessly.

  5. Listen to instructors - They are the experts here with years of experience. Follow their lead for a safe and enriching first dive.

Scuba diving opens up our world to a staggering new dimension thriving mysteriously underneath the water's surface. I hope my experiences here motivate you to explore Tarkarli's mesmerizing underwater universe for yourself someday soon.

Just take the initial plunge, and I assure you won't regret it one bit.


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