Bangalore Dive Club celebrates its first anniversary amid increased membership
Red, white and blue. These colours are synonymous with July 4. But, for members of the Bangalore Dive Club, this year's July 4 was bluer than most. The club, which organised Divestock, India's first dive festival in December 2009, celebrated its first year of existence.
The Bangalore event, attended by numerous diving aficionados and their families, was colourful celebration of the underwater sport, and included underwater relays, pool sports and even some contests. Even so, it was not the real thing like the four-day underwater celebration of all things marine at the Andamans.
Corals and shoals
Divestock presented divers, marine biologists, and anyone with an interest in the sport with the opportunity to celebrate their love for all things marine among colourful corals and shoals of multi-coloured fish. This was a rare event as most of the islands are usually off limits to divers.
The club, open to all marine enthusiasts, is involved in numerous small-scale conservation projects, including beach cleanups and discussion panels on such diverse topics as turtle poaching and the effects of pollution on coral reefs. It now has dedicated itself to the cause of preventing ‘shark finning' in India. The barbaric practice involves cutting off of the sharks' fins, and then tossing the live fish back in the water, where it usually suffers a slow, agonising death from blood loss, unable to move or swim.
Diving as sport
Other than its environmental efforts, the club is also involved in popularising diving as a sport.
“Today, the contribution of scuba diving may be minuscule; but in five years, with the plans under implementation, this adventure will be a significant contributor to sea-based tourism in the country,” said club secretary Madhava Reddy. Despite not having any coastline, according to the club's figures, the number of divers in Bangalore has tripled in the last year.
The club is currently lobbying to open up more Andaman beaches for diving, and is planning Divestock 2010 later this year.