Remote islands, dive master training, I can’t ask for much more

This will be my last post for several weeks. I’m powering down the blog temporarily, as today I head to India’s far-off Andaman and Nicobar Islands again for professional dive training there. I’ll be interning at a dive shop and completing the PADI Divemaster program during the next three weeks.

And, of course, I’m doing it where I started diving little more than a year ago.

Since I took my first breath of compressed air in December 2009, I’ve logged 95 dives across India, Thailand, the U.S. and Ecuador (both the coast the Galapagos Islands). I’ve posted numerous underwater photos on this blog. I’m a certified Rescue Diver with Deep Speciality. I have big dreams of diving the Maldives, Indonesia, the Read Sea, the U.K. coast, Vietnam and more.

This is more than just hardcore goofing off (though there’s that, too). As I prepare for graduate studies in international environmental policy and/or development this fall, I’m intentionally adding divemaster training to my educational background. The goal will be to use my love of diving at least some once I return to work, ideally as a researcher/advisor/documentarian focused on conservation, sustainable resource management and economic development.

But since the Andamans (specifically Havelock Island where I’ll be camped in a bamboo hut) aren’t exactly close to anywhere — and since I’ll be working full-time during the day and frequently studying at night — I will likely see little of the Internet. As such, I will halt updates to the blog until I return to Delhi on 8 February.

Of course, when I’m back, there will be plenty of new underwater photos — and possible HD video — as I’ve got a new underwater camera and housing.

Hallelujah for the good times ahead. More when I get back safely.

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Published: Andaman adventures

Oldie but a goodie

This morning, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a travelogue from my time in the Andamans where I became obsessed with scuba diving.

Just reading the story again makes me want to be back diving.

Perfect excuse for the scuba/clownfish photo above.

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Dreaming of sunsets over the sea

Rays of light on Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Island

I’ve been writing a travelogue and environmental essay. Which has me thinking of the Andamans, sand and diving.

Thankfully, I get back to the sea next week, if only for a little while. FYI, starting Monday, the blog will be on autopilot for a few days.

The sunset above was just too easy.

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Creatures of the Andaman deep

A full gallery of images from diving in the Andamans. All in one place. To accompany a story on India’s nascent diving industry, the unofficial headquarters of which is on Havelock Island, smack in the middle of the Bay of Bengal.

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How do you like them clownfish?

From Anemone Reef, Havelock Island

I can't get enough

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Underwater ninja loses his throwing (sea) star

They move... very, very, very slowly.

Colors underwater fade quickly. Red is the first to go and the deeper a diver goes, the more muted and filtered the light spectrum becomes.

Which makes the vivid, giant Blue Sea Star all the more spectacular because it stands out so much.

(Forgive the weird headline. I’m experimenting in what gets the most attention on Facebook.)

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Batfish! Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, batfish!

Hello, Andaman batfish.

These often can be found prowling alongside divers at sites throughout the Havelock area. This one was spotted at at Aquarium, a popular beginner site.

Most fish are generally indifferent or even scared of scuba divers; we’re big, noisy, bubble-making monsters. But batfish generally seem more intrigued and will follow divers for spells at a time.

On this particular day, I had accompanied dive instructor Elin Lindqvist, as she taught a group of students in their PADI Open Water course. The fish came along, too.

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Those are actually pretty worms…

Christmas Tree worms living in stony coral

Christmas Tree worms living in stony coral

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Year of the clownfish

My favorite underwater subject

My favorite underwater subject

I’m going to be out of range of the Internet for a few days. As such, this week will be dedicated to photos from a story on India’s nascent dive industry. Above, is a standard, Western Clown anemonefish.

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Sunset over Havelock

Right before a my first night dive

Right before my first night dive

The sun dips to the horizon at about 4:45 p.m. on New Year’s Day as we tie on to the buoy at one of Havelock’s popular dive sites, the Wall. A new friend, Beatrice (above), and I both log our first night dive.

Little can compare to the transition from day to night underwater, as the deep blue of the sea turns to murky navy and then almost black.

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