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10-year-old from Mumbai is world’s youngest female scuba diver



Sitting on the sofa at her Oshiwara home, and periodically lunging forward to grab fistfuls of the chivda before her, ten-year-old Tamanna Balachandran looks like any other restless kid on vacation. Except that her conversation is peppered with terms like “underwater visibility”, “hand communication”, and what a baby leopard shark looks like. Because though her tiny legs swing high above the floor, they have helped propel the barely four-foot-tall girl deep into the waters at the Andaman and Nicobar islands, and emerge with a scuba-diving record.

The Mumbai resident is the world’s youngest qualified female scuba-diver certified by PADI. On the 16th April, a day after her 10th birthday, Tamanna was awarded the PADI Junior Open Water Scuba Divers certificate. Previous record-holders included Egypt’s Natasha Turner, who had bagged the qualification at the age of 10 years and three days.

Tamanna, who will attend grade 5 at Vibgyor High International School when vacations end, was always a “water-baby”, says her father, Balachandran Unni. “Even when she was a year old, she was always trying to reach out to the swimming pool,” he adds, laughing. Tamanna had company in her elder sister, Rashi, who was an avid swimmer and diver herself. “But I was only eight then, and so I wasn’t old enough,” she says. “So I decided to do the Bubble Maker course instead.” The programme, designed for kids below ten years of age, acquainted her with the essentials of going underwater.

“They learnt about basic skills such as communication while underwater, what one does when there is pressure in your ears,” explains her mother Rita. Tamanna also took up rigorous swimming to build her stamina, and two years later, decided to take a crack at scuba-diving. Rashi completed her own scuba-diver certification as well, with Tamanna. The certification course spanned two days, and three levels, from theoretical training, to diving in confined and open water areas. The participants progressed from knee-deep water to diving in a real-life environment, while practicing the nitty-gritty of underwater safety.

“Tamanna was a natural in the water. She was comfortable right from the start,” says her instructor Prafful Chugh. The ten-year-old also had keen observational skills underwater, he says, which is something children generally need to be taught to develop.

But while she has soaked in the admiration from her diving friends and classmates, Tamanna plans on taking a break before hitting the pool. “So much diving and swimming we did!” she says, stretching out on the couch. “I’m not going to even think of water for some days.” Within moments though, she is back with more stories of the corals and sea creatures she spotted.



Marine Life & Conservation

Watch The Real Watergate from Live Ocean Foundation (Trailer)



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Marine Life & Conservation

World Oceans Day: Fourth Element and Love The Oceans join forces




Fourth Element, a leading provider of high-quality dive gear, and Love The Oceans, a non-profit organization dedicated to marine conservation, have announced their new partnership on World Oceans Day, June 8th, 2023. This collaboration represents a shared commitment to protecting our oceans and promoting sustainable practices within the diving community.

Love The Oceans is widely recognized for their exceptional work in marine conservation and their dedication to community development in Mozambique. The organization’s approach involves not only protecting marine wildlife and habitats but also empowering local communities to become guardians of their own environment.

Photo: Kaushiik Subramaniam

They place a strong emphasis on empowering women in the field of marine conservation. The team actively supports and encourages women to participate in their research programs, providing opportunities for training, leadership development, and career advancement, inspiring a new generation of female scientists and conservationists.

Love The Oceans seek out passionate individuals within local communities and provide them with training and resources. Fourth Element will then support these champions to become divers and ambassadors of the ocean, spreading awareness, implementing sustainable practices, and inspiring others to join the movement.

Photo: Mario Guilamba

“We are thrilled to embark on this partnership with Love The Oceans,” said Jim Standing, co-founder of Fourth Element. “Our shared commitment to sustainable practices and marine conservation makes this collaboration a natural fit. We believe that by joining forces, we can amplify our efforts to protect our oceans and inspire positive change within the diving community.”

Francesca Trotman, Founder and CEO of Love The Oceans, expressed her excitement about the collaboration, stating, “We’re thrilled to be working with Fourth Element, a brand that aligns with our values and ethos. This partnership will enable us to get more local community members scuba diving in Mozambique, monitoring our reef systems, and striving for better protection of our marine world. Working together, we’re conserving Mozambique’s coastline for generations to come.”

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