A diving trip to the Andamans is holiday enough for most of us lesser mortals. Add a luxury yacht to the mix, a 40-metre live-aboard no less, and you’re looking at an experience of a lifetime
all abord the infiniti!
A live-aboard might sound self-explanatory, but we’ll break it down for you anyway. You’re welcome. It’s a yacht that’s fully equipped to accommodate its guests comfortably, providing dining, leisure and guest cabin facilities as it sails along, usually in search of exciting spots for scuba divers. The Infiniti is one such floating beauty and the very first of its kind in the country. It’s been built over a span of 18 months in Thailand using the engineering expertise of the company’s founder, Sunil Bakshi.
Some serious sea cred comes from its RINA certification (Royal Institute of Naval Architects) for unrestricted navigation. This baby will take you to parts of the Andamans that most noobs can only explore on a map. Barren Island, for instance - South East Asia’s only active volcano - can exclusively be accessed via a live-aboard such as this one. Narcondam is another fine example of an island so remote (1300kms from mainland), the Infiniti is your only ticket to it. And that’s just two of the 576 islands waiting to be explored in this scuba-diving paradise. The Infiniti, then, certainly ticks all the right boxes to fulfill Sunil’s dream of “putting the Andaman Islands on the world’s scuba-diving map”.
Sunny Side Up
Aimed at a traveller of the more ‘active holiday’ kind, the Infiniti has a fully equipped dive deck for kitting up. You’ll also find every piece of scuba kit onboard, including a compressor for clean air. Authority to teach diving and issue certifications from PADI mean you can leave the Infiniti as a certified diver. Sweet!
You could end a day of diving in absolute sensory bliss. The Sun Deck up top has several options: loungers for sunbathing, massages and yoga workshops, as well as a barbecue grill. Arrive past sunset, lay back under a blanket of stars, and you’ve got yourself a front-row seat to God’s own theatre.
Into the deep blue sea
To find that perfect diving spot, you need the right tools to get you there. Experts make use of the two five-metre-long RIBs (tenders) leashed to the yacht that can take up to five divers each to the dive site, real fast. Hit a bit of chop on your way? No problem. These machines will tear right through it.
Like any expert in the field will tell you, getting certified from an organisation as large as PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) makes you a bona fide diver. Getting PADI’s stamp of approval is a three-stage process: you start by gaining theoretical knowledge of diving. You then progress to four confined water dives in a pool of your dive club’s choice. Eventually, you’ll make your first open-water dive in deep, crystal-clear water amongst breathtaking marine life. The main requirement: you need to know how to swim.
An Open Water Diver certification is just the beginning...Once you get a taste of diving in open waters, you’re going to keep coming back for more. PADI has a wide range of courses tailor-made for every kind of individual. Once you’ve been bitten by the bug, PADI has got the fix to keep the dive junkie in you satisfied. For instance...
Advanced Open Water Diver
As an Open Water Diver, you’re certified to dive to a depth of 18 metres. An Advanced Open Water Diver certification bumps that number up to 30 metres. It also makes you eligible for one of the most unique diving experiences - a night dive.
Instructor Development Course
Most diving is strictly recreational. You can even choose to turn your passion into a full-fledged career with an Instructor certification. When your work space is located at the bottom of the ocean, you know it’s a good life.
Perks of being certified...
A dive trip may seem like the perfect summer holiday, but getting certified while you’re at it puts you in a different league of travellers. Here’s why...
Even with a basic Open Water Diver tag, you have access to 570 PADI dive shops and resorts spread across 180 countries. It’s a tag valid for life, worldwide. Neat!
A variety of colleges overseas will consider you eligible for credit, just for learning how to scuba dive. Select courses are shortlisted by each college for credit. Check before you apply.
As proof of your achievements, you will receive a card from PADI Australia for each new certification. This little piece of plastic adds some serious swag value to any wallet.
Being underwater is what I’d imagine being suspended in space would be like. The sheer weightlessness, movement, the sound of inhaling compressed air all combine to make for an outlandish experience. Destination is key, and the Andamans are blessed with an abundance of marine life, stunning coral reef formations and pristine diving spots waiting to be explored. Hop aboard something as special as the Infiniti with all its unrestricted navigation bells and whistles, and you’re bound to have a diving experience that’s nothing short of spectacular. For Advanced Open Water Divers, there’s the absolutely alien world of night diving to look forward to. Get a taste of it all, and you’ll notice how it’s the kind of bug that infects your soul. And you’ll love every single moment of it.