If caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, pick Karachi’s coast to get away

Published: October 8, 2012
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Pakistan’s first certified dive centre, Indus Scuba, offer courses from beginner level to dive master. Most people start from ‘Discover Scuba Diving,’ a one-time experience of seeing marine life and move on to the ‘Open Water Diving Course’ whereby a trainee can go as deep as 18 metres. PHOTO COURTESY INDUS SCUBA

Pakistan’s first certified dive centre, Indus Scuba, offer courses from beginner level to dive master. Most people start from ‘Discover Scuba Diving,’ a one-time experience of seeing marine life and move on to the ‘Open Water Diving Course’ whereby a trainee can go as deep as 18 metres. PHOTO COURTESY INDUS SCUBA

Pakistan’s first certified dive centre, Indus Scuba, offer courses from beginner level to dive master. Most people start from ‘Discover Scuba Diving,’ a one-time experience of seeing marine life and move on to the ‘Open Water Diving Course’ whereby a trainee can go as deep as 18 metres. PHOTO COURTESY INDUS SCUBA
Pakistan’s first certified dive centre, Indus Scuba, offer courses from beginner level to dive master. Most people start from ‘Discover Scuba Diving,’ a one-time experience of seeing marine life and move on to the ‘Open Water Diving Course’ whereby a trainee can go as deep as 18 metres. PHOTO COURTESY INDUS SCUBA
Pakistan’s first certified dive centre, Indus Scuba, offer courses from beginner level to dive master. Most people start from ‘Discover Scuba Diving,’ a one-time experience of seeing marine life and move on to the ‘Open Water Diving Course’ whereby a trainee can go as deep as 18 metres. PHOTO COURTESY INDUS SCUBA

KARACHI: In a city where there is little peace on land, a few minutes on the seabed can be a near spiritual experience. Karachi is at its most spectacular underwater but for most of its inhabitants this realm remains largely undiscovered.

In 2009, Pakistan’s first Professional Association of Diving Instructors (Padi) – certified dive centre, Indus Scuba, opened up. Padi is the world’s largest diver training organisation and dates to the 1960s.

The diving instructor at Indus Scuba, Aatif Malik, is passionate about bringing the sport closer to people. After diving in countries around the world, he still finds Karachi one of the most beautiful places to dive. Here you can see Moray Eels, Batfish, Stingrays, Barracudas and Stonefish, among other underwater species.  “Our best moment was when we saw a Whale Shark in the shallow waters near Charna Island,” he says. “Beneath the water is my own time. That’s what I do when I want to get away from things.”

Just a short distance away, Balochistan has even more to show. “Diving in Balochistan is amazing as there are huge corals and lots of sea life. Even the road routes are beautiful, but the security risks are high,” he says.

Malik, 31, a banker by profession, says he would leave his job if his passion could be a source of income. But since Karachi hardly attracts tourists now, potential for this sport also takes a hit.

Malik started diving in Singapore in 2000 and has been to Dubai, Oman and Thailand, where he acquired certification for higher levels. “Every time you dive, you see a different terrain. You never know what you are going to see beneath the water.”

Women in Pakistan have inhibitions in trying the sport. “But they would do if they were in another country,” he argues. “Most women actually come through word of mouth, when someone tells them ‘these guys are okay’.”

When and where to go

The diving season in Karachi runs from October to March/April. Besides Charna Island, other dive sites include Cape Montze, Butchim Reef and French beach.

Safety measures

“Safety is of utmost importance. No matter how many dives you have had, each dive is new and you can never get too cocky,” says Malik.

Being a PADI-certified dive centre is a challenge for the team. “We have to follow PADI’s standards. All our equipment has to be imported from Italy and France, which really inflates costs.”

Anyone can lodge a complaint to PADI if they feel that Indus Scuba is not taking appropriate safety measures. “In Pakistan the risk of running a dive centre is higher, because if something happens to someone and they are influential, you might just get shot,” he says laughingly.

Courses offered

All courses from beginner level to dive master are offered in Pakistan. Most people start from ‘Discover Scuba Diving,’ a one-time experience of seeing marine life and move on to the ‘Open Water Diving Course’ whereby a trainee can go as deep as 18 metres. “It’s fun training people who think they cannot dive and seeing them able to conquer their fears,” he says.

Diving options for children

There are two courses available for children. The Junior Open Water Diver course is for anyone between the ages of 10 and 14 years. After getting the certification, children can dive anywhere in the world, as long they are accompanied by a professional. For more information visit www.indusscuba.com

Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Naeem Siddiqui
    Oct 8, 2012 - 7:01AM

    Good to Know!Recommend

  • Noman
    Oct 8, 2012 - 8:12AM

    Hopefully no one will get a parchi underwater :$Recommend

  • Fundyar
    Oct 8, 2012 - 9:42AM

    Keep it up guys!
    Bluchustan is where it’s ar

    Recommend

  • Mehdi Maujood
    Oct 8, 2012 - 2:59PM

    Scuba diving is a bit expensive and requires training. I went snorkelling to Churna island (which is much cheaper) with Diver’s Reef Karachi and that was an awesome way to spend a weekend. I think Indus Divers also offer snorkelling.

    Recommend

  • Scuba Diver
    Oct 8, 2012 - 8:27PM

    Indus Scuba also offers Snorkelling as a by product. They primarily deal with Scuba Diving but take snorkellers on their trips. But there is alot of difference between snorkelling and scuba diving. In snorkelling you are restricted to the surface. You only get to see the underwater world from up above. But with scuba diving you become part of the marine life and even get to interact with them. I mean look at the photograph in this article of the diver taking a picture of this enormous jellyfish. As far as being expensive is concerned, well it is much cheaper than any other place in the world. And if I’m not mistaken I think two trips of snorkelling costs nearly the same as one scuba diving trip.

    Recommend

  • Waterborne
    Oct 9, 2012 - 10:09AM

    You guys rock. Can’t wait to dive with you guys.

    Recommend

  • Hassan Ali
    Oct 9, 2012 - 6:22PM

    I have been on several trips with Indus Scuba and these guys are great. The marine life in Karachi is also great and not what people expect. When a diver is free from his dive then Indus Scuba provides all the snorkeling equipment and the rest of the day can be spent snorkeling. So in one trip a person can dive and snorkel.

    Recommend

  • Anmol
    Oct 9, 2012 - 6:48PM

    My husband and I went diving with Indus Scuba. It was the best experience of my life. Much recommended.

    Recommend

  • Ali Moiz
    Oct 9, 2012 - 7:34PM

    I dove at Charna with these guys and it is gorgeous.

    Recommend

  • Umar
    Oct 9, 2012 - 8:42PM

    What diving levels are offered by Indus Scuba? I have never dived before can I dive? i dont know how to swim.

    Recommend

  • Seher
    Oct 9, 2012 - 9:35PM

    I dove with these guys. Aatif and Bilal are both very patient and good instructors. Everyone should go.

    Recommend

  • Jawaid
    Oct 10, 2012 - 2:43PM

    Highly Recommended for every one to experience Dive with Indus Scuba

    Recommend

  • Oct 10, 2012 - 2:50PM

    I would like to thank Tribune and Zehra for this article. Indus Scuba is Pakistan’s First and Only PADI Dive Center. What that means is that Indus Scuba has to maintain high quality international standards of safety, training, equipment and procedures governed by PADI, an American organization with worldwide presence. http://www.padi.com. Our instructors and divemasters are internationally trained and certified with years of diving experience from all over the world. Indus Scuba offers various scuba courses such as Discover Scuba Diving which is a single dive experince for people who want to see the underwater world under the supervision of an instructor/divemaster. We also offer PADI certification courses that allows a diver to dive anywhere in the world. All our courses are inclusive of equipment, training, classrooms, pool sessions, boat rides, lunches and transportaion to some extent. We even give swimming lessons to people who can’t swim but want to go diving with us. Please visit us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/indusscuba or http://www.indusscuba.com. Feel free to contact us for details at [email protected] or [email protected]. You can also call us at 021-35243153. Thank you.

    Recommend

  • Oct 10, 2012 - 3:17PM

    @Umar:

    Hi Umar,
    We offer various diving courses from beginner to advance level depending on the need of the diver. We give swimming lessons to people who can’t swim before we take them underwater.For further details please contact us [email protected] or [email protected].

    Recommend

  • Naveed Iqbal
    Oct 10, 2012 - 10:29PM

    Where do you guys dive around Karachi and why are Pakistan’s waters so green?

    Recommend

  • Umar
    Oct 11, 2012 - 5:24PM

    @ Bilal: Has the diving season started? How do I enroll my self for diving? What marine life can be seen in Karachi?

    Recommend

  • Atif Zaidi
    Oct 17, 2012 - 2:39PM

    This is absolutely amazing!!! You guys rock!! I’m coming over in a weeks’ time and am bringing my gear .. Will look you guys up .. let’s go diving!!!

    Recommend

  • Oct 17, 2012 - 9:15PM

    Thank you Zahra for writing this piece. Diving in Pakistan should be promoted. It is safe but needs care. Unfortunately there are other dive centers in Karachi (other than Indus Scuba) who are operating in a non-professional way,not certified by PADI, which means there are no safety measures taken when a person dives. Hence they do it for business rather than sports, attracting masses.

    The three things my trainer taught me during my certification was “safety safety and safety”. If you have that all, your dive will be fun.

    Since Indus is PADI certified, they are pretty cautious on keeping dive as an adventure sports and taking important safety measures. My experience with them is super satisfied.

    I guess we should promote more about this sport, awareness about PADI where safety comes first.

    Recommend

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