Best Scuba Diving in Goa, India
Despite being India’s smallest state occupying a portion of the western and southern coast, Goa is well developed and has the highest GDP among all states in India. In fact, it has earned several recognitions like the best-placed state in terms of infrastructure and quality of life.
With its western and eastern influences, Goa is an international tourist destination where tourist arrival has continued to grow, from 700,000/year in 1985 to 5 million visitors in 2015 alone. On top of the nightlife with over 7,000 bars which is renowned as one of the Best Nightlife Cities in the World, most of its guests have visited places of worship, world heritage architecture, and its white sand beach.
Aquasports, like scuba diving, is widely offered in Goa where you can explore unique dive sites scattered around its coast that face the Arabian Sea.
Diving Conditions in Goa
Goa has a tropical monsoon climate that is generally warm and humid for the entire year. It has a pronounced southwest monsoon that runs from June to September which causes huge swells and rough seas.
With this, the best time to go diving in Goa is from October to May where the waters are at its calmest. The water temperature around these months ranges from 26 - 28OC (79 - 82OF). Just be aware though that you will NOT be diving in crystal clear water as the visibility is usually not that good. The best visibility that you can get will not be over 20 meters (60 feet).
Best Dive Sites in Goa
1. Turbo Tunnel
Location: Coast of Vasco de Gama
Turbo tunnel is a narrow depression off the coast of Vasco. While it is ideal for all levels of certification due to its shallow profile where your maximum depth is only 8 meters (26 feet), newbies have to look out and be careful with the rip current especially on the part where the sea surges over.
Initially, you begin your dive with just seeing a pile of boulders scattered over the sandy bottom. As you swim further, you will arrive at an area called the Surge City. This particular site of Turbo Tunnel has towering boulders where waves are known to break. Despite being the most turbulent part of Turbo Tunnel, Surge City is also the area with the highest concentration of fish where you can see parrotfish, damselfish, triggerfish, and angelfish.
Caution: Aside from surge and incoming waves, you also have to look out for venomous stonefish where they are known to lie motionless on top of the rocks.
2. Umma Gumma Reef
Location: Grande Island, Vasco de Gama
Located in Grande Island, Umma Gumma reef is naturally marked on the surface with rocky protrusions. This small reef off the coast of Vasco de Gama is an ideal spot for newbies and inexperienced divers due to its shallow profile where the maximum depth of your dive plan is only set at 14 meters (46 feet).
The reefs in Umma Gumma are better when compared to other dive sites in Goa where you can clearly see tabular, encrusting, and massive types of corals. Fish diversity is relatively abundant, where you can see a lot of tropical fish like mullets, surgeonfish, pufferfish, snappers, and sweetlips.
Tip: Tell your dive guide that you want some shark interaction so that they can plan the dive towards a site filled with nurse sharks.
3. Sail Rock
Location: Southwest of Grande Island
If you are an experienced diver and wish to see the big boys of the deep, then we recommend you head to Sail Rock. You can quickly identify this dive site as it is naturally marked on the surface with a small rocky protrusion that looks like a sail.
Your entry point is just a few meters away from the rocky protrusion, and you will usually perform a negative entry descent towards the rocky ledges of the reef. This means that you have to completely deflate your BCD. Moderate to strong currents are known to prevail in Sail Rock.
As you ride along with the current, you will effortlessly pass by large marine inhabitants like groupers, barracudas and reef sharks. Occasionally, sizeable pelagic fish will pass by Sail Rock where some have already seen tunas. Sail Rock is also the perfect spot to go multi-level diving as the uneven contours create a unique bottom topography with a depth ranging from 6 - 20 meters (20 - 60 feet).
4. Kawda Rocks
Location: Town of Malvan (also pronounced as Malwan)
If you are into underwater macro photography, then we suggest you head out to the northern skirts of Goa in a town called Malvan from the neighboring State of Maharashtra.
Having a shallow profile where your maximum depth is only 8 meters (26 feet), newbie underwater photographers will surely love Kawda Rocks since they will not be having a hard time looking for a subject as the reef is loaded with shells, nudibranch and other small marine critters.
If you are not into photography, you will still enjoy diving in Kawda Rocks where you can see and interact with tropical fish like large groupers, lobsters hiding on rocks, red snappers, triggerfish and sweetlips.
5. Suzy Wreck
Location: Mormugao Bay, Grande Island
There are a few spots in Goa where you can go wreck diving, and one of this is the remains of a 130 meter (426 feet) long metal wreck - the Suzy Wreck. The wreck is now lying in a perpendicular angle with reference to its position from the reef. It is now resting on a shallow slope where the shallowest is only at 3 meters (10 feet) deep while the deepest part is at 12 meters (40 feet).
Once you arrive at the wreck, you will observe that its metal structures are now being encrusted with corals, sponges, sea whips, and sea fans. If you take a closer look at this artificial reef, you will notice that marine critters are thriving where you can see nudibranch, blennies and moray eels hiding in metal cracks or crevices. It has also attracted lots of tropical fish swimming around its structure like bannerfish, snappers, batfish, barracudas and moorish idols.