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.
SCUBAPRO Free Octopus Promotion 2023
Free Octopus with every purchase of a SCUBAPRO regulator system
Just in time for the festive season, divers can save money again with the FREE OCTOPUS winter promotion! Until December 31st SCUBAPRO offers one of the two new Octopus models S270 or R105 for free with every purchase of a regulator system!
The S270 OCTOPUS is free with purchase of a MK25 EVO/D420 or MK19 EVO/D420, MK25 EVO/S620Ti or MK19 EVO/ S620Ti in INT or DIN versions. A R105 OCTOPUS is free with purchase of a MK25 EVO/S600 or MK17 EVO/S600, or MK25 EVO/G260 or MK19 EVO/G260 or MK19 EVO BT or MK25 EVO BT/ G260 CARBON BT in INT or DIN versions.
SCUBAPRO offers a 30-year first owner warranty on all regulators, with a revision period of two years or 100 dives. All SCUBAPRO regulators are of course certified according to the new European test standard EN250-2014.
Available at participating SCUBAPRO dealers. Promotion may not be available in all regions.
Find an authorized SCUBAPRO Dealer at scubapro.com.
More information available here: SCUBAPRO Free Octopus Promotion 2023
Indo siren destroyed by fire
Indo Siren, a vessel from the Master Liveaboards Fleet, has been destroyed by a fire this morning. Thankfully, all guests and crew members are safe.
Master Liveaboards have released the following statement:
During our current cruise in Raja Ampat, on the morning of 30th November, a fire broke
out on Indo Siren. At the current time we are still assessing the events around the incident,
and will be working with authorities, so cannot currently comment further.
All guests and staff departed the boat, without further incident. They are now with our
ground crew who have organised accommodations while we assist with all their other
needs going forwards.
We are currently evaluating the issues created by the fire on upcoming trips. Guests who
are likely to be affected by enforced cancellations or changes will be contacted in due time
when plans are finalised.
We are incredibly grateful that this incident was not more serious and that everyone who
was onboard, both crew and guests, are safe and well.
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