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Diving at Bangaram Island

Listed under Diving in India.

  • Photo of Diving at Bangaram Island
  • Photo of Diving at Bangaram Island
  • Photo of Diving at Bangaram Island
  • Photo of Diving at Bangaram Island
  • Photo of Diving at Bangaram Island
  • Photo of Diving at Bangaram Island
  • Photo of Diving at Bangaram Island
  • Photo of Diving at Bangaram Island
Photo of Diving at Bangaram Island
Photo by Jenny Fowler
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Approaching Bangaram Island by boat, the first thing you see of is a tuft of coconut palms appearing on the blue horizon of the Arabian sea. As the boat approaches closer, you can make out a thatched restaurant, dive centre and beachside cottages in the shade of the palm trees behind the beach.

Bangaram is part of the Lakshadweeps, a group of coral islands about 200 miles off the coast of Kerala. A small green tropical island fringed by white sand beaches, it is uninhabited except for the eighty or so staff of Bangaram Island Resort. Staying here can be just total relaxation, with ayurvedic wellness treatments available, or active with kayaking, snorkelling and diving. A dive boat goes out every morning for a two-tank dive (except during the monsoon season, mid-May to September).

The island lies in a shallow lagoon which is very sheltered and warm, over 30 degrees C, ideal for training and beginner dives. The lagoon is surrounded by a fringing reef and most of the dive sites are on the outside of the reef because it is slightly cooler which allows better coral growth. Access is by a comfortable, well equipped hard boat, which takes about 40 to 60 minutes to get to the sites.

I enjoyed the diving because there was plenty of life to see. Anemone fish, colourful reef fish, giant clams, octopus and lobsters were great subjects as I tried out my new underwater camera. Slowing down was best, to look at interesting behaviour like the cleaner wrasse working on big eels and sweetlips, or the shrimp sharing a hole in the sand with a goby. A disappointment was that an El Nino event in 1998 had bleached a lot of the coral and it is only slowly re-establishing itself, so there is not as much colour and variety in the coral as there is in the fish life.

Another thing I liked was that there were no crowds at all, just our 8 or 9 divers in the water. The dive staff were very helpful with kit and knew the sites well, pointing out where to look for subjects I might not have spotted. Sea and air temperatures are great and I was comfortable in a 3mm wetsuit and did not get chilled even between dives or on the boat ride back.

The overall experience of staying on the island was excellent, with superb food cooked to local recipes. I was impressed with the efforts made to minimise the environmental impact of the resort. Bathrooms are supplied with rainwater harvested during the monsoon, electricity is generated from solar panels, and waste handled very carefully with no plastic escaping into the sea.

Bangaram Island is a long journey from the UK. To make the most of the trip, we spent five days diving there, then spent some time on the mainland. The flight to Bangaram is via Cochin Airport, so coming back we used Cochin as a hub for exploring Kerala and enjoying the villages, mountains, lakes and beaches there.

Written by  Jenny Fowler.

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