Malvan is approximately 530 kms from Mumbai off Mumbai – Goa route. I went to Malvan with my friends enroute to Goa in January 2014. Malvan is around 7 kms from Tarkarli. We decided to visit this place to check out scuba diving. Tarkarli-Malvan is known for scuba diving. Other than these places the only other places in India where one can enjoy scuba diving is at Andaman & Lakshadweep islands. The drive was good & uneventful. We drove on the NH4 upto Kolhapur and here on we deviated onto Nipani highway to join NH 17 towards Malwan
At Kolhapur we had a very nice thali lunch at the famous hotel Parakh. Here we tasted the famous Kolhapuri pandra and lal rassa. The meal was basic but tasty. Best place to taste the local cuisine. We also found that the popular foodie guys Rock & Mayur had also visited this place and put their stamp which we found from the huge poster the restaurant had displayed as part of their décor.
The route we followed was Kolhapur to NH17 via Radhanagari –PhondaGhat. The ghat section is not very daunting. However, care should be taken as these are two way roads without dividers. The roads are not in the best of conditions and the drive becomes slow. We reached the Malvan village near Tarkarli around 7pm and checked into a Hotel. We checked into hotel Konark residency from where it was about 10-20 minutes’ walk to the jetty. Though we did not have any reservations we luckily got a room with nice bed for three of us. The hotel was basic but clean and nice. We had nice Konkani fish fries for dinner in one of the restaurant in the village and looked forward to scuba diving in the morning.
Next day we reached the jetty around 8.30am. We found that there were many small scuba diving operators. All three of us were first timers and had no idea about scuba diving other than what we have had seen on TV. We contacted one of the operators and they told us that for scuba diving it will be Rs.400 person and for snorkelling it was lesser. We were taken on boat ride into the sea. It was a small boat. Besides us there was a couple with a baby on the boat and we wondered what they have come for. The boat also had 4-6 staff, who were going to guide us and also double as divers. When we reached near the Sindhudurg fort in the sea the boat dropped anchor and the representatives of the operators who were obviously professional divers started pulling out the equipment’s which for us was hoses, breathing apparatus, goggles etc. Out of the couple, the husband did a bit of snorkelling while the wife watched from the boat. As far as my experience is concerned scuba diving was not that difficult and it was a thrilling experience. In the beginning it was bit anxious till I got used to breathing with the mouth. I did come onto the surface couple of times before I got comfortable. I saw inside the water a whole lot of different fishes and corals. I had never seen such a sight live except on television. The water though I felt was not as clear as we see on television in other parts of the world. I was told that we went 20 feet deep and to go further up to 40 feet we need to first take a refresher course and get certified. There is no need to know swimming for this type of scuba dive and I feel it is quite safe as the divers are very professional and concerned for the safety of the tourist. I even tipped Rs.200 to the diver who guided me inside water and for being patient with me in the beginning
Now it was time for us to head back to hotel change & hit the road to Goa. It was past 11am and it was very hot & sultry. We changed and had a very sumptuous meal comprising of fish prepared in the Konkani way. After the delicious lunch we started our journey to Goa at 1.30pm. I will describe the Goa journey some other time.