Havelock's recently discovered popularity with divers results from the sustained, and significant, promotion of eco-friendly tourism by the Indian authorities.
This section lists the best sites for scuba diving and snorkeling at Havelock Island and which marine species thrive in this part of Ritchie's Archipelago, Andaman Islands.
You will find the best diving destinations in the Andaman Islands in the south, such as at Havelock and Neil Island.
In general, you should expect to have good underwater visibility. In fact, the water clarity extends to forty metres (130 feet) during the optimum months for diving.
So, when is the best time to dive in the Andaman Islands? The peak season for scuba diving starts around the end of October and runs all the way through to May.
Having a tropical climate means the sea temperature is warm for most of the year, averaging 28° Celsius (around 82° Fahrenheit). Even so, some of the dive sites in Havelock island can have strong water currents, including down currents where they collide with steep walls.
Note: The climate during the first half of the year is mostly sunny and hot with calm flat seas. But, it may be best to avoid the area when the May monsoons arrive - even though diving is still available at some selected sites.
There are several reasons for adding Havelock Island to our India diving list, including the vibrant reef gardens and a diverse variety of marine creatures.
Typical aquatic animals and marine biodiversity found in the area include:
Note: Havelock (also known as Swaraj Dweep) is still considered as being an emerging market for scuba diving and snorkeling. Even so, the best spots will appeal to divers with different certification and skill levels.
You need to travel about three (3) kilometres offshore (from Elephant Beach) to get to the Aquarium dive site at Havelock Island.
But, once you find it, there's no shortage of marine life and fringing coral gardens for inexperienced divers to enjoy.
Some of the shallow zones at the Barracuda City dive site create ideal spots to try scuba diving for the first time.
You should find strips of fringing coral reef that contain rich samples of hard and soft (e.g. brown and grey branching staghorn). Plus, there is no shortage of radiant and colourful fish species, including surgeonfish, octopus, and sea turtles.
A series of low-lying rocky outcrops emerge from the sandy bottom around twenty four (24) metres (80 feet) at the Broken Ledge dive site.
This is a great diving location for swimming through small canyons and finding giant moray eels living in the craggy overhangs.
The underwater topography, especially the giant pinnacle formations discovered by a local scuba instructor, make Dixon's Pinnacles dive site one of the iconic diving destinations to the east of Havelock Island.
The SS Inchkeith Wreck dive site is rated as one of the best dives in the Andaman Islands. You will see the rusty remains of this steam-powered cargo ship that ran aground in 1955.
Due to the strong currents in this area, Jackson's Bar dive site offers divers a challenging swim around a large strip of rock (around 32 metres down).
There is no shortage of sandy seabed at Johnny's Gorge dive site located to the northeast of Havelock Island.
You should definitely make the short boat trip to this popular diving destination if you like to see giant groupers, reef sharks, and large stingray fish.
The Lighthouse dive site has a healthy balance of lively fish species along with some hard and soft coral formations.
The water is shallow at the shoreline and gets deeper as you head away from the beach. This sheltered spot is also a popular destination for night diving specialties due to the clarity of the water.
You'll need a boat to reach the dive site at Mac Point. Nonetheless, an abundance of hard corals and small schooling fishes makes it worth the effort.
The Minerva Ledge dive site spreads out over a large rocky area. This area is also prone to strong currents so it's best to have the Drift Diver specialist certification.
The dive site at Nemo Reef is ideal for beginners. It is a sheltered bay with clear visibility and there should be very little current.
This help guide explains how to get to the dive site, average depth limits, and what marine life species you might see below the surface.
You will find the popular Oval reef dive site in the shallows and close to the north-eastern tip of Havelock Island.
Watch in amazement as you catch sightings of two-spot red snappers, pickhandle barracuda, and maybe the odd manatee (Sirenia) shuffling in the sand.
If you enjoy scuba diving underwater canyons, the Pilot Reef dive site is one for the bucket list. Descending down to the seabed means you'll be bottoming out around twenty four metres (79 feet)
Situated close to Sir William Peel Island, Red Light House dive site is an ideal location for beginners and underwater photographers.
Besides the sunken remains of an old scooter, common sightings also include hawksbill turtles, puffer fish, triggerfish, groupers, and lionfish.
The dive site at Seduction Point is unusual for several reasons. You will find all sorts of sea life creatures to look at as they surround this large underwater rock.
It is one of the shallow spots for scuba divers and snorkelers. Even so, you're likely to see large humphead wrasses scouring through the dense population of hard staghorn corals on the ocean floor.
As you may have guessed, the reef at Slope dive site falls away gradually from four (4) metres (10 feet) all the way down to the sandy floor around twenty (20) metres (65 feet) below the surface.
The dive site called the Wall is for experienced divers. This huge underwater rock drops all the way down to fifty six metres (183 feet).
It is a favoured place to see soft corals and lots of marine life. But, most of the dive schools will require you to have some experience in deep diving.
New divers will enjoy diving at the Turtle Bay dive site because the depth doesn't go below fourteen (14) metres (46 feet).
A large rock rises up from the ocean floor at forty (40) metres (130 feet) below - and it almost breaks the surface.
Head over to White House Rock dive site and you can expect to see barracudas, fusiliers, and surgeonfish darting around the corals.
There are more locations for divers of all certification levels to explore when scuba diving in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, including:
Note: Another section explains more about passive interaction with marine animals and the importance of diving safely around hazardous sea life.