Janhavi Deodhar has been passionate about watersports and scuba diving from an early age.
In February, Janhavi completed her PADI IDC in Goa, making her one of the youngest female PADI Instructors in India and becoming an inspiration to others wishing to follow in her footsteps. Following her completion of her IDC, Regional Manager Robert Scammell managed to catch up with her and ask her a few questions about her recent achievement.
When did you learn to dive?
In October 2019, just as the monsoon ended and the dive season in India began, I took my first step toward learning how to dive in my hometown Malvan.
What inspired you to learn to dive?
Everyone knows and loves that smell – the one that says you’re approaching the ocean. Sand between your toes, warm rays of the sun on your face, and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. Not to be dramatic but I remember being drawn to the ocean as a child and wanting to spend every waking moment in the water.
Little did I know that a 30 minute Try Dive at 16 years old near the fort of Sindhudurg in the Arabian Sea would change my life forever, and open up a whole new world full of possibilities and adventures. Those first 30 minutes of breathing underwater had me feeling a bit anxious initially, but I began to calm down with each breath. I was completely awe-struck by the utter beauty of marine life, and experiencing true peace for the first time inspired me to take the plunge and learn to dive.
I never truly understood the meaning of peace, I never truly felt it before, but now that I had, I wanted more.
What is your favourite thing about diving?
Everything! Right from the early morning wake-up calls to busy boat rides, from picking up tanks to loading up the gear. From preparing the equipment to handling logistics, and from giant strides or back rolls into the sea and descending into a different world. The unexpected otherworldly interactions with the marine life, the chance of meeting new people every day, and exploring new places. But most importantly the quiet peaceful weightlessness, the feeling of freedom, and the sound of your own bubbles.
Where is the best place you have been diving and why?
I’ve had the privilege to dive at so many different dive sites. Right from a rescue operation during my very first open water dive in Malvan to having a hawksbill turtle as my dive buddy in Fujairah.
During my first open water dive back in October 2019 in Malvan, we came across a brown-banded bamboo shark that was trapped in a ghost net fighting for its life. While it was incredibly heartbreaking to see that poor creature struggle, the joy of rescuing him was indescribable. The last dive of my open water course has a significant place in my heart too. We were surrounded by a school of giant trevally on our ascent from 14m! It was truly a magnificent experience.
Fujairah, United Arab Emirates has to be the best place I’ve ever been diving. From blacktip reef sharks to colorful nudibranchs, it is a true delight for divers who love digital underwater photography like me. The dive at Inchcape 1 has to be on the top of my list. Sunk in 2001, laying on a sandy bottom at 30m, this wreck is home to a mass of marine life – the highlight of the dive being the two honeycomb moray eels on the bow and tiny seahorses. A fun dive on a weekend at Hole in the Wall quickly became one of my favourite dives when a hawksbill turtle decided to be my dive buddy.
If you ask me to describe one significant dive as the best dive experience I’ve had, I’m afraid I won’t be able to. It’s a cluster of enchanting dive stories, where every dive is unique and is a mesmerising adventure in itself – and that’s the amazing thing about diving.
Where would you like to go diving?
I would love to go diving in Moorea, French Polynesia since I’ve been adopting corals each year on World Ocean’s Day and would love to dive in the nursery where they are planted.
What inspired you to become a PADI Instructor?
The opportunity of inspiring, encouraging, and introducing people to the 71% of our planet’s magical blues to help conserve and protect our oceans and become a part of something bigger than themselves is what inspired me to become a PADI Instructor.
What did you enjoy most about your IDC?
Who knew that this shy and timid college-going girl with a fear of public speaking would be able to deliver clear presentations for Confined Water and Open Water dives in just a few days of training! My favourite part of the IDC was how my communication skills and confidence improved, and how my in-water skills were honed in and perfected by my Course Director and IDC Staff Instructors. This is where I realised that there is a lot more to scuba diving than meets the eye, and only with these skills can you spread the joy all around – which I would definitely strive to achieve.
What are your plans now as a PADI Instructor?
As a PADI Instructor, I would like to inspire and train more people and further enrich their lives by helping them to explore the beauty of our oceans, and encourage more women to get their certification.
What advice would you give to others wishing to follow in your footsteps?
Keep diving! It is the best way to apply whatever you’re learning and keep your skills fresh. Focus on honing your skills in buoyancy, and practice your skills in confined water as much as possible, as this will not only help you during your IDC but make you a better diver overall. Shadow your instructor to gain skills from someone who packs experience as well as patience. Ask a lot of questions and remember that there’s always room for improvement no matter what. If you’re having any doubts, talk to your PADI Professional.
There is more to nature than we can imagine and we receive it in abundance. Our ocean provides countless benefits to our planet and all the creatures that live there. This can be a time we give back by trying to help conserve the place we all call home.