The word ‘Sea Walk’ in itself gives goose bumps. Walking under the sea on the sea bed is something everyone would like to experience. I, for one, would love to do it all the time and Every. Single. Day.
In 2006, I was in Mauritius for a fortnight and there we went to a famous beach for sea walk. As soon as I went to take a ticket for the adventure, it closed down for the day. Dejected I headed back to home. So here in Andaman and Nicobar Islands at the very sound of the word ‘sea walk’, I rejoiced. I knew I would love it.
Few months back, I experienced sea walk and it was definitely an unforgettable experience of my life!
Sealink Adventure organizes sea walk at North Bay Island, which is quite close to Port Blair (about 20 mins ferry ride away). North Bay Island is one of the uninhabited islands of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The best part of Sea Walk is that it is very convenient and comfortable to undertake. There is no ear pressure as one has to adjust a transparent helmet kind of an apparatus on the head and that saves from the tremendous water pressure of the under current. During sea walk you breathe normally inside that helmet. The helmet does not feel heavy on the head at all in accordance with Archimedes principle 😛
The oxygen is supplied into the helmet through an oxygen cylinder that is kept in the pontoon. The helmet is transparent and you can easily see what is around.
The organizers take you on their boat where they have a small changing room. You can wear any type of clothes. Women can wear tops/capris, salwar/kurta, swimsuits while men can go in a T-shirt/shorts. Since you get wet on going inside the water, you can carry an extra pair of clothes with you that you can change after coming back to the pontoon.
The whole process of sea walk starts when you catch a ferry from Ragiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex and go to North Bay Island. From there they take you to the Pontoon in a small dunghi. There, you are taken inside the water through a small rope stair case with your helmet on. There are guards accompanying you so it is very safe as well. One does need to know swimming to do sea walk. They just take you few mts down the water, about 7 mts down.
Once inside the water, you can see various types of corals and fish. The experience is magical. It is divine. It is out of the world. It is inside the water. It is on the sea bed where there is silence except the bubbly sound that you make while breathing.
When I went inside the water, I had just forgotten about my life on the surface. I was silently and merrily observing the fish and the corals. The fish pass by you without noticing you at all. I am sure they are aware that there is a foreigner in their land but they seem unperturbed.
The guards walk you around a bit and show you many active and live corals. You can see many types of fish around – colorful, big and small. The fast and fiery kinds and the slow and friendly types.
They also give you a small pack of fish food. As soon as you open that pack, the fish come all around you nibbling on your hands. This soft nibbling on your fingers is enough to give you goose bumps and also an opportunity to watch these fish up close.
If you wish, you can opt for photography where the guard who accompanies you will click your pictures. You will be charged Rs. 500 extra for the photography. On your return to the Pontoon, you are given a CD that has your photos in it.
You collect your CD, change your clothes and go back to North Bay Island beach in a dunghi.
This whole process may take several hours as there is a huge waiting list of tourists who want to try sea walk and particularly in the peak tourist season. So prepare your itinerary accordingly.
One round of sea walk costs Rs. 3500 approx along with Rs. 500 extra for photography.
How to reach: Board a ferry from Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex at Port Blair. You can get the tickets from there as you reach the ticket counter at the complex. Boat for North Bay leaves at 9:30 am so make sure you have your ticket in your pocket by 9 am. The boats return around 3 pm in the evening so one round to North Bay typically takes half of your day!