In December 2019 we predicted the rise of scuba diving in Nigeria. It was one of the adventure tour activities we said would thrive on the Nigerian tourism scene in 2020. And not even COVID could stop this prediction from coming true.
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Initially, only foreigners were interested in exploring the underwater world of the Lagos Coastline. But these days, Nigerians are beginning to get interested. Over the years, we have had group tours for scuba diving as an adventure activity organized by the likes of Tour Nigeria and Barnes the Wakawaka.
Scuba diving in Lagos is exciting because diving in Lagos waters is like diving in uncharted territory. In other parts of the world, scuba diving destinations have become popular tourist attractions with charted paths. Divers know what to expect when they go diving there. But with Lagos, every dive presents a new discovery. People enjoy scuba diving in the following locations: Whispering Palms, Lagos Harbour, Bar beach, and Landmark beach.
Deep down in our pristine waters along the Atlantic Ocean’s coastline, there are up to 100 shipwrecks scattered throughout Nigeria’s 853km shoreline. But the most intriguing shipwrecks are the ones covered in green, yellow and orange corals that look like flowers and grasses underwater. Particularly 7 miles from Tarkwa Bay beach, there is a shipwreck with Coral reefs worth seeing.
Other attractions in the Gulf of Guinea surrounding Lagos include scenic dives that make great underwater photographs and amazing marine life. Did you know you can find schools and shoals of fishes at the shipwrecks? You can see surgeonfish, pollock, yellowtail scad and other species of colourful fishes there. From Jellyfishes, whales and unpopular species of sea creatures to dolphins, blue shark/shortfin mako shark, and Sting Rays, Nigeria’s underwater attractions are a feast for the eyes.
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To go scuba diving, you must have discipline, be calm and trained. Scuba diving may require you going to bed early, waking up early and drinking less. You also need to wear and have the right gear. Wear a dull coloured wet/dive suit, buoyancy compensator, regulator, boots, fin, octopus, snorkel, mask, air tank, gloves, knife, diving light, computer/information console and instrument with a gauge. The best time to go diving in Nigeria is November to April, during the dry season.
Scuba Diving in Nigeria is not without its challenges but for every challenge, there is a solution. For instance, the unpredictability of Nigeria’s weather can be a problem for divers. Someone is usually left on the boat with functional communication equipment and radar to monitor the weather.
They can then give signals to divers on when to come out when things go sideways on the instruments. When you jump into the clear water and disturb the resting sediments, the water can get cloudy and visibility will become impaired.
The solution is to never go diving alone; always go with a diving buddy. Last but not least, if you have water phobia either natural or from movies like Jaws and Anaconda. The solution is for you to have an instructor who can calm your fears and guide you through the dive.
The world may not know Nigeria as a scuba diving destination, but Houssam Azem, the founder of Scuba Lagos, has made it his mission to change that. After he got his Padi Scuba Diving certificate and exploring the depths of Lagos waters, Azem started the first Padi Dive Center in West Africa in 2015.
Since 2017, he has trained people to become scuba divers and hosts water enthusiasts with membership in Lagos Jet Ski Riders (whose private Club membership subsidizes the cost of scuba diving in Lagos).
The more trained divers we have in Nigeria, the more water enthusiasts can enjoy the underwater adventures of scuba diving in Nigeria.
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