Welcome to the Netrani island in Murdeshwara, Karnataka. Imagine an island paradise with lush green panorama, gorgeous sun baked beaches, crystal clear waters with rich coral reefs and brightly colored tropical fish.
Netrani is an isolated island in the Arabian sea located 20 kms from the shores of Murdeshwara. Its the only unique coral reef ecosystem on the western coastline of India with some of the rarest species of life underwater and was discovered accidentally only in 2005. A bird’s eye view gives Netrani island the appearance of being heart-shaped.
Here’s a fascinating fact! The Indian Navy used this island for shooting practice for its Naval fleet till 2008. You can still find craters and unexploded bomb shells on the island.
The fresh non-salty waters, rich marine life, crystal clear visibility under water as far as 15-20 meter range and dive range as deep as 30 meters makes Netrani island ideal for a superlative dive. Expect to mingle with large schools of butterfly fish, trigger fish, parrot fish, eels, puffer fish and shrimps.
My dive was organized by Sea View Resort in Murudeshwara who also offer other water sports activities like snorkeling, dolphin ride, kayaking and jet ski. After a quick breakfast, I reached the rendezvous point at 8am. We were offered a detailed safety drill and basics of the dive equipment by the instructor. Our journey to Netrani island was on a speed boat which took us on an exhilarating ride over the massive waves and the high seas.
The mammoth Lord Murdeshwara temple seemed to get smaller as we moved away from the shore and inched closer to Netrani island.
Suddenly the speed boat came to a halt and the instructor told us they had ran out of fuel and refill would take about 10 mins. It was an edgy and exciting time as the tiny 6 seater boat had come to a standstill in the middle of the deep sea and we wondered what could be lurking beneath us (Remember the movie Jaws!). The instructor pointed us to a school of dolphins and we jumped with excitement at the sight of these stunning mammals.
As we reached closer to Netrani island, the first sight of the turquoise blue waters, clearly visible coral reef, tons of tropical fish and green vegetation on the island took me back in time to my first ever dive experience in Thailand. Without wasting a minute, we geared up and dived into the water.
Reasons why I loved the Dive at Netrani
- Time Slows Down – When under water the time slowed down as I tried to savor every moment, remember every detail. I stretched my arms out and swooped down to the reef like a bird. It’s like sky diving, but without the possible splat.
- I loved the Silence – The terrestrial world is cacophonous. Below the surface the world fades away. With the exception of the rush of my bubbles and an occasional crunch as fish take a bite of coral, the environment is completely silent.
- Finally some ME time – For a short period of time, I was alone with my thoughts and at peace. I was only forty feet below the everyday world, but I might as well be light years away.
- Sense of Adventure – I loved chasing the school of butterfly fish as they quickly darted across the water, at one time I was surrounded my many fish and I just clapped my hands and instantly all of them fled away. I went deeper underwater following a bunch of parrot fish as they were enjoying their mid day coral snack. I had the sense that I was sneaking around a new and almost forbidden place.
After a whole hour of being in water, I was exhausted but thoroughly satiated with my dive experience. I was mesmerized by the experience and had a huge smile on our face as we took the boat ride back to Murdeshwara. After the day’s diving, I took a short walk to Sunset Point to watch the sun slowly set behind Netrani island.
Things to bring alone for the dive:
- Bathing Suit
- Dry fit T-shirt
- Sun block and lip balm
- Sunglasses and a cap
- Waterproof Camera
- Energy Bar or Fruits for an after dive snack
- Plenty of Water or Gatorade
- Small Dry Bag or Zip Lock Bag (to keep small things dry)
- Change of Clothes (for the boat ride back)
- Photo ID
- but most importantly an Adventurous Spirit!
Best Time to Visit: November – February
How much does it cost : Scuba – Rs 5000, Snorkeling – Rs 1500.
How to reach here:
- By Road: Murudeshwara is connected by KSRTC and private transport from Mangalore (165km) and Bangalore (455km). Most buses plying between Mangalore and Mumbai stop at Murudeshwara.
- By Train: Murudeshwara lies on the Konkan Railway route. There are multiple trains from Mangalore or Bangalore (Yeshwantpur- Karwar Express) and the station to stop at is Murudeshwara railway station.
- By Air: Mangalore is the nearest Airport and is around 165 kms from Murudeshwara.
Watch this video to get a glimpse of Netrani island.
After the dive, if you have time to spare, do check out the major attractions in Murudeshwara. Here is the complete list of things you can do in Murudeshwara :