The coast of Pakistan offers scuba divers and snorkelers an awesome insight into the life of underwater creatures. From the coast of Karachi to Gawadar, there are numerous sites which are well known for the experience that they offer to those who are willing to experience the unique adventure. A number of recognized organizations are established in the country which can give both beginner and experienced divers a memorable ocean experience.
The Professional Association of Diving Instructors or PADI is single handedly the world’s largest diving membership and diver training organization. There are actually a couple PADI recognized groups in Pakistan which you can hook up with to go scuba diving. The diving season is usually during the winter months because of the rough tides in the summer. The rough tides are a safety hazard and also affect the visibility when underwater. From November to February one can expect visibility between 5 and 30 feet, though on extremely lucky days this can even extend up to 100 feet. There’s a whole range of diving certifications available ranging from Bubblemakers, suited for children, to Divermasters, for those who wish to become extremely serious about this activity. There’s even the option of doing snorkeling, which is not as intensive as diving but will allow the adventurer to view the beauty of the ocean.
Diving Locations and Sights to See
There are a few locations which are favored by the diving institutes in Pakistan, specifically wrecks off the harbor of Karachi, the small island of Churna and Astola Island.
- The Karachi Harbor: The area around the Karachi harbor offers divers the opportunity to see underwater wrecks of ships fallen but not forgotten. Other than the ship itself these dive locations are usually inhabited by various types of large fish such as Groupers and Barracudas.
- Churna Island: Churna Island has so much to offer that divers go back regularly to visit the fossilized reefs in the area. Over 30 species of different coral have been identified already. There are also sea urchins, turtles, dolphins, red snapper, sharks and countless other fish to be seen in this area.
- Astola Island: This uninhabited island is the largest offshore island of Pakistan. Due to the distance from the mainland, it takes approximately 5 hours by boat to reach the island. Because of its relative isolation from mankind, wildlife remains healthy and abundant in the area. Other than the beautiful coral reefs, both the green and hawksbill turtle nest in the warm sands of the island. There are no accommodations on the island so come prepared with tents, sleeping bags, or appropriate boats for overnight trips.
How to Start
As with all activities which involve any amount of risk, it’s important that you understand the activity, its dangers, and are completely comfortable with the safety precautions taken by the organization that you go diving with. There is a reason that all forms of diving require some training and certification: it is not a sport to be taken lightly. Even though all types of gear are available from different stores in the country, one should not embark on an expedition without proper training. This especially applies to beginners and even slightly experienced divers. Indus Scuba and Karachi Scuba Diving Center are a couple of PADI recognized organizations in Pakistan who can offer you training, certifications, diving gear and even organize different kinds of expeditions.