If you enjoy scuba diving in the Arabian Sea off the west coast of India, you should add Netrani Island dive sites to your list of scuba destinations.
This section contains information about the best places for divers and snorkelers who take a boat trip to this small, uninhabited, island called Netrani.
Netrani is a heart-shaped coral island situated around ten (10) nautical miles from Murudeshwara.
The location is popular for divers who make the south-westerly journey from the Indian district of Karnataka.
It's also called Pigeon Island by the locals on the mainland - due to the abundant presence of wild grey birds living on the rock.
The dive sites around Netrani Island rank among the best available for scuba divers who travel offshore. Plus, it's within easy reach from Goa, Bangalore, Pune, and India's capital Mumbai.
In all fairness, access to clear water diving is quite limited in this part of the Arabian Sea. Nonetheless, underwater visibility ranges between fifteen (15) and twenty five (25) metres.
Generally, the Netrani Island diving season begins in October and runs through to May. Even during these months, you should expect to have water temperatures around 27° Celsius (80° Fahrenheit).
But wait - there's more:
Because of the local hazards, the authorities discourage divers from stepping foot on the rocky island. So, it's best to consider it as being off limits because of the steep cliffs and craggy rocks close to the shoreline.
Netrani Island dive sites have their fair share of coral reefs, rocky pinnacles, and a few shipwrecks. In fact, during the peak season, it's one of the best scuba destinations for beginners to learn how to dive or to become one of the snorkeling bloggers that help to make this area popular.
Being cordiform in shape means the island's fringing coral reef systems create natural habitats in shallow water for all sorts of marine life, including:
There is also a tiny twin island close to Netrani. The Indian Navy sometimes uses it for shelling practice.
As a result, scuba divers may see submerged, spent shells underwater.
Pro Tip: December through to February are the optimum months for Netrani diving. Make sure you get permission before you visit the island by boat. The sea conditions deteriorate from June until October (e.g. for the south-west monsoon season).
Take a look around the mouth of a tunnel that meanders into the heart of the island and you should see the dive site called Aladdin's Cave.
As you may have guessed, the Bomb Rock dive site is the remnants from a military exercise. Rumours suggest that the rocky ridge that exists 200 metres from Netrani used to be similar in size and height to the main island.
There's nothing too challenging about the Cul-de-Sac dive site located between shear walls on either side. You will find sea grass at the bottom and this is a good place to see different species of goby fish.
This is one of the typical shallow dives around the island and the maximum depth is only eight (8) metres. Even so, it's a good spot to find gigantic coral heads and a diverse variety of fishlife.
The name of the Dive Goddess dive comes from an underwater structure, actually more like a statue. It has very little in the way of strong water currents and the maximum depth is fifteen (15) metres.
The station-like gathering of pelagic fish species is responsible for the title of the Grand Central Station dive site. The depths vary from ten (10) to thirty (30) metres in places. Use caution against the sea urchins that cling to the walls.
The Grotto dive spot is not one of the most visited locations. As such, it's ideal for beginners to get a quiet experience in one of the less crowded areas.
You may be puzzled why the Nursery dive site is for adults - and not kids. In fact, there appears to be millions of small juvenile fishes at this dive site and that's the reason behind the kinder-garden name.
The dive site called Pebble Beach is slightly misleading because the shoreline is clustered with large rocky boulders - not small dainty pebbles. The dive site begins shallow but drops dramatically to 30 metres in places.
The famous Shelter Cove dive site is actually a protected marine area. Typical marine life includes schools of colourful reef fishes, sea turtles, and the occasional pod of dolphins passing by.
It is a curious name 'T55 dive site'. But it refers to the fact that the island was once used for target practice by the Indian Navy.
In fact, the abyss dive site drops all the way down to thirty five (35) metres. Thus, you should be one of the deep diving fanatics to enjoy the challenge.
Even so, this is where you should catch sightings of chevron barracudas and maybe the odd tuna cruising around in the area.
Pro Tip: The main section contains extra information about the top scuba diving spots in India and why it's becoming a hot-spot for undersea explorers.