Yes, you read it right .Walking on the sea bed all by your self is totally possible , infact it is one of the growing underwater activities gaining popularity like SCUBA diving. If you had a fascination with gigantic marine life (which constitutes three fourth of our planet)and are curious to explore the marine flora and fauna then this activity is for you.Many compare this to a spacewalk due to its vastness and how minutely explored the two worlds are, hence the curiosity.Here in my complete guide for underwater sea walking I try sharing some facts about sea walking and its destinations in India.So grab on your wet suit and take a dive.
What Is Underwater Sea Walking?
So underwater sea walking is an immersive marine tourism activity that is a part of the surface supplied diving technique. Don’t be scared, in simple terms it means the participant would be walking on the sea bed with a helmet equipped for breathing which would be connected to a diving support vessel at the surface.It’s safe and suitable for nonswimmers, all you need to do is breathe, walk on the sea bed and explore.The usual depth at which it is carried out is 3-10 meters which is considered a safe operating depth by the experts for any nonswimmers in case of any emergency.The activity is carried out somewhere from 20 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the agency you hire. The area for exploration is pre-marked and the participants are sent in batches accompanied by a guide in most cases.
Not only sea walk is an adventure activity but also an activity which would give you lifelong memories.Open perspectives and avenues unknown to you and introduce you to a whole new world existing there under water that we aren’t even aware of.One gets to enjoy the awe-inspiring corals and mystical marine life, colorful fishes moving around, having a glimpse of the unique marine plantation,all these from the closest of distance .The mystical experience leaves you baffled by the amazing beauty and charm nature has to offer.
Sea walking : Some background and history
The first surface supplied diving equipment was designed in the 1820s in England. It was initially designed as a smoke helmet to protect the firemen from fire incidents .The basic mechanism was based on the concept of providing a fresh supply of air through a hose attached to a pipe connected to a pump in a situation of a fire accident.
Later this equipment was made popular as underwater apparatus and converted to underwater diving helmets .Their designs were further upgraded and it led to a revolution in wreckage cleaning, underwater civil engineering,underwater salvage,naval and commercial diving.At present many countries have successfully adopted it as an underwater activity and its popularity in marine tourism is constantly growing.
Under water sea walking destinations in India
1.Sea walking in Andaman and Nicobar island
With a range of sparkling beaches like emerald alongside the tropical vegetation, Andaman and Nicobar islands have numerous crystal clear beaches to offer. Andaman and Nicobar islands are not only a perfect destination for tourists looking for solace and serenity but also for the marine enthusiasts who would love to explore the underwater world.For Sea Walking it is a main destination in India and it is carried out mainly at three islands
- North Bay Island
- Havelock Island(Elephanta Beach)
- Niel island
The average cost for sea walking in Andaman and Nicobar Island falls between Rs3500 to Rs 4500 per person.
How to reach Andaman and Nicobar island
One can reach via air and sea routes to Andaman and Nicobar Island.The main airport is at Port Blair which is also the administrative point for the island which falls under the Union territory structure of India.There are direct flights from Chennai ,Vishakhapatnam and Kolkata. Air India, Jet Airways, Go Air and Spice Jet airlines offer their services here. Connecting flights are also available from Delhi and other cities of India to this airport.There is no direct connectivity from international destinations.
Also Read”Top 7 Best River Rafting destinations in India (2021)
North Bay Island
Sea Walking as an underwater activity is first supposed to be started at Noth Bay Island in India.It is a beautiful island comprising of clean sandy beaches, an amalgamation of lush tropical rain forests with over 2000 species of plants and sea creatures.It’s a perfect home to water sports and underwater activities.Along with Sea walking jet skiing, scuba diving, and snorkeling are other popular activities carried here.
How to reach North Bay Island
Situated at the North of Port Blair it is around 43 Km from there.Boats and ferries are available to take you there.It takes you around 75 minutes to reach there and would cost you around Rs 500 per person.
Some agencies for Sea walking in NorthBay Island
- Mail:[email protected] experienceandamans.com
- Approx cost:Rs3500 /person
Havelock Island(Elephanta Beach)
As you reach this island you find yourself amidst a large senary of blue ocean water and green tropical forest to your delight.You would feel into a completely different zone with the endless ocean in front of you and green and blue colors in domination.
How to reach Havelock Island Island
It is situated at around 70km from the capital Port Blair and towards the north of Havelock Island.The only way to reach is boats , some people also trek alongside the forest cover to reach there.
Sea Link Adventures
- Ph: 099332 43118
- Approx cost:Rs 3200/person
It is one of the isolated islands in Andaman whose splendor and sublimity is still untapped. It’s a small island(around 14 km stretch) devoid of most of the mainstream city cultures(internet, technology even a petrol pump) and it is quite economical as well.
How to reach Niel Island Island
It is located at the Southern part of the Andamans and is around 37 Km from Port Blair. You can take a private cruise or government jetty (seats are rarely available) between 8 a.m to 2 p.m.It takes around 1.5 hours and around Rs 700-Rs1200 depending on the class of travel.
2.Sea walking in Goa
Mormugao, Vasco(Baina beach)
Baina beach is one such location in Goa known for its spirit towards water sports .With the beach blending the Zuari Nagar hills on one side and Dabolim plateau on the other becomes a perfect scenic portrait. Along with Sea walking ,jet skiing, scuba diving,parasailing, banana ride and snorkeling are other popular activities.
The average cost for sea walking in Goa falls between Rs2200 to Rs 4000 per person.
How to reach Baina beach
Baina beach is around a km from the town Vasco which is 5.6 km from the GOI (Goa International Airport)Dabolim.The quickest way to reach is to take a train(Train no.07532) which would take around 7-10 mins.There is also a train from Vasco to Dabolim. Taxis and town cars are always an option taking around 15 minutes.One can also choose to walk which would take somewhere around 45 minutes.
Some agencies for Sea walking in Baina beach
- Ph: 017625-17925
- Approx cost Rs 2250 per person.
How does Sea walking work?
Now that you are aware of Sea walking as an activity and where you can do it India.Let us dive a little deeper to understand the technical nuances behind sea walking.
Sea walking is a form of under water Surface-supplied diving where the diving takes place using a breathing equipment called the diving helmet which is connected via pipe .The pipe which is also called as a diver’s umbilical is a main connection between the participant and the surface or the diving support vessel.Air is supplied through an electronically controlled compressor system with high pressure back up cylinders kept in spare in cases of requirement.
Although the use of compressed air is common, a mixture of air and oxygen called enriched air or nitrox has become popular due to its benefit of reduced nitrogen intake .The air supply system is a microprocessor-controlled system with automatic pressure and power handling.This makes the activity quite safe for the participants to undertake.
Some Sea walking equipments
It’s a robust, polycarbonate helmet with an air supply hose attached at the back.The front part is full-face rigid glass giving clear 180 degrees of visibility to the participant.It can be easily worn and has resting pads that allows the helmet to rest over your shoulders.You don’t feel its weight in water due to the Buoyancy effect.
2.Electronically controlled Air Centre
It is the main heart of the whole Sea walking establishment.It is a high powered compression system that allows a constant supply of dried and filtered air to all the helmets.The sytem is microprocessor controlled that makes it self sufficient and self propelled to keep a track of all pressure and air supply requirements.
It also has a backup support mechanism where spare cylinders are attached to the system which would auto-activate itself at low pressure or power failure situations.It is the robustness of the whole system that makes the underwater sea activity a safe and enjoyable one.
3. Self-contained backpack system
This is another system for sea walking which is self sustained and mostly used for places with obstruction to the connecting pipe between the driver and the surface.Places like aquarium deck or with overhangs provide constraint for the connecting pipe,hence this system is more suitable.
The system has a padded metal backpack with an integrated air supply in form of an attached cylinder.Area of exploration however are pre-structured and in places you have a guide to help in navigation.
Structures added to sea for sea walking enhancement
There is a certain amount of infrastructure developed under water to facilitate the mobility of the participants.A lot of emphases is given in current times to keep the ecosystem undisturbed and unaffected.
1.Ladders and support railing
Sea support vessels have an adjustable ladder to launch the participants at the sea walking spot.The ladder is part of the vessel and isn’t a structure left at the sea after the activity.
There are support railings along the path helping the participants to navigate easily.These are mostly build using the support of materials available in the sea like stone pile or sand pack.
2.Tracks and pathways
Tracks and pathways help the participants to move on a designated route allowing safety of feets and giving a tour of all the coral aggregation spots.
Artificial structures are created to beautify the site for the participants to enjoy the exploration while gazing the astounding marine life.Many agencies also have arrangements for capturing and taping your experiences in form of pictures and short clips.
Who Should Not Sea Walk underwater?
Anyone between the age group of 7-60 can easily go for Sea walking .However it is not advisable for people with the following conditions.
• People with a heart condition
• People with breathing difficulty issues
• Pregnant women
• Old age adults with age more than 60
• People with Claustrophobia and other underwater anxiety issues.
Is underwater Sea walking safe ?
There are many who are fascinated by the untapped underwater world and want to undertake sea walking but have questions regarding its safety.Yes the activity is safe and doesn’t require any special skills like swimming or prerequisite training.
You simply have to walk and breathe, the air supplied to the helmet is three times the requirement which keeps the chamber dry and balanced.One might feel the requirement to balance the ears as in a flight which can be done by blowing air out with closed nose.The mechanism allows the participant to take his hand inside the helmet.
Usually, the site chosen is selected in a way where the wild marine animal habitat is not present, also many agencies create an additional net around the area for additional security.
Things to keep in mind before hiring a Sea walking agency
1.Check for certified instructors
There are certifications for underwater instructors like PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors ) or SSI (Scuba Schools International).This would make sure that you would be escorted by team of professionals who know the complete inside out of the activity and would impart required assistance.
2.Check if pre-medical advisory is available
This helps for a specific beforehand medical advice as per the participant’s exact medical condition if any.This goes a long way in preventing any contingency associated with any medical condition.
3.Cancellation policies in case of weather disturbances
The activity has a dependency on weather in terms of tide disturbances.Check for cancellation policies as you might face one in case of a weather disturbance.
Read my article on how travelling agency works in “Top 5 travel agencies for himachal Pradesh in Delhi”
Underwater sea walking on wheelchair
Though this option is rarely available in India but many agencies world wide have specialized team taking passengers on wheel chairs. People with walking disabilities who still have an admiration for exploring the underwater world can opt for these services.
Specially designed wheelchairs are developed and are operated by a team of two to three guides helping the passenger to navigate.
How Scuba diving is different from Underwater Sea walking ?
Although both activities are very much similar in operation and the experience that they offer.However, the main difference between a SCUBA(Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) diving and an underwater sea walking activity lies in the breathing air supply mechanism.As the name suggests Scuba is a self-contained mechanism with the diver having its own breathing apparatus compactly carried by himself without any connection from the surface.
On the other hand Underwater sea activity is a surface supplied diving activity where the participant is constantly supplied air from the surface with the help of a pipe and a constant connectivity is maintained.
I would like to list down few more areas where they differ :
As sea walking is a surface supplied activity hence connectivity has to be maintained with the surface vessel which makes the movement a little constrained.Unlike in Scuba where the diver has total independence to venture out any zone that he wants to.
As Scuba allows you more freedom in terms of your exploration hence opportunity to go deeper increases and so the risk.Where as in case of sea walk the depth of operation is somewhere between 3-10 meters which lowers the risk to a considerable amount.
3.Quantity of breathing gas
Sea walking doesn’t have any limitation in terms of the amount of breathing gas that can be supplied as the support vessel have enough supply to operate for long hours.Whereas in cases of Scuba since the breathing gas has to be carried with the diver there is always a limitation to the amount of gas that can be supplied.
The advancement in scuba diving however have made it possible to use a recyclable breathing air mechanism which recycle the exhaled air and allow long hour dives,example in covert military operations.
Future underwater activities that will grow in Marine tourism
The interest to explore the underwater not only in the sea but in general has always been around.This has led to various agencies around the world (like sub sea sytems) to create an environment of underwater recreational hub or centres whose popularity is constantly growing.I would like to list few activities that you would find interesting and would love to pursue somewhere in your future.
3. Underwater oxygen lounge
Bieng eco-frendly to our oceans
Oceans being the largest constituent of our planet play a vital role in sustaining the ecosystem of the planet.Hence as a marine tourism enthusiast, it is the responsibility of the tourists to not dump any waste product in the water body and show compassion for the marine life.
Also the agencies in this space carrying out these activities need to be vigilant for reducing as much carbon foot print as possible and should focus on incorporating eco-friendly ways of operating the underwater activities.
Hope you found the information insightful. Do leave your comments below on to how you found “where-to-do-sea-walking-in-india-complete-guide-underwater-sea-walking”
Also would like to know your opinion on what would you prefer choosing A)An underwater activity or B)An on water activity and why so :-).Do let me know in the comments.Cheers!