Sudipta Dev – Mumbai
Mumbai based Karina Tourism & Adventures has launched INFINITI, India’s first scuba diving live-aboard in the waters of Andaman Islands. The project is a labour of love for Sunil Bakshi, co-founder and director, Karina Tourism & Adventures, who had been diving for 17 years all over the world and always wanted to showcase India as a premier diving destination. “I have visited many such live-aboards in other parts of the world and wanted to build something like this for India. I believe that diving in India is at par if not better – in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep,” said Bakshi. He believes that in many ways Andaman is the last frontier for diving. “All the other diving areas have been explored by diving enthusiasts who are now looking for new destinations and we can offer them that in India,” he adds.
The advantages of Andamans as a diving destination are – pristine waters, 100 feet visibility, fantastic coral and marine life, and of course the leisure of diving in a relaxed environment. “Normally, if you go to a diving destination, for instance Thailand, on a similar island, you will find eight boats are already there, with 30-40 divers underwater. Over here you are just alone along with your divers,” said Bakshi.
The five day packages include pick-up from the airport, drop at the boat and in one hour guests are ready to leave Port Blair. The luxury live-aboard can carry 16-20 passengers, and has twin cabins, lounge, sun deck, dining area. The target clientele are both Indian and foreign diving enthusiasts. Bakshi has tied up with international tour operators who are specialised in live-aboard packages. “We have already started to get bookings. The season will start from September to May. In India we have PSAs, who are marketing for us,” he mentioned.
On aboard INFINITI training can be given from beginner to instructor. “We have a full dive team – a senior staff instructor and dive masters who assist in certification and training,” said Bakshi.