Karachi Scuba diving Center is one of two diving operations in the port city of Karachi, Pakistan. During my 7 day visit to the city I chose to dive with them - though the choice to do so was purely by chance and circumstance. Nonetheless, my overall impression of this PADI certified diving operation was good as compared to my experiences elsewhere.
The dive shop is not easy to find. If you are planning to make your way down to the shop by yourself, good luck! This is certainly not the fault of the operators - as finding any business establishment in Karachi is a challenge for any non local. Nonetheless, with some searching - and the help of the the dive site owners, we found our way. The dive shop is located in the DHA (defense housing authority) - a relatively safe part of Karachi. Unfortunately, their business office and equipment locker is located away from the sea shore/beach. However, they arrange transport from the office to their diving location AND back again, which is nice, as not all dive shop operators do this.
THE DIVE SHOP/OPERATORS
Thve dive shop is run by Yusuf Ali and Rosheen Khan. The facility is PADI certified - Both Yusuf and Rosheen are friendly and easy to get along with. What impressed me the most about this facility is that although they operate a scuba diving facility - their Mandate/Manifesto/Modus Operandi extends beyond a simple diving operation. They are involved in marine conservation efforts. They have extensively logged marine life around the coast of Karachi. They have lobbied for the protection and restoration of the coast and marine habitat along the coast of Karachi and they are involved in charting and discovering new diving areas around Karachi. Impressive, to say the least.
Neither their website, nor their brochure outlines the cost of equipment rental, cost per dive, etc. I was initially quoted 10,000 rupees on the phone (115 Canadian Dollars) for two dives. However when I arrived at the site, they quoted 150 dollars (12900 Rs) for two dives, including equipment rental. Why the 35 dollar increase? I am not sure, maybe it was my english, my american accent, my western clothes, etc. Regardless 75/dive is little expensive. I felt as if the pricing was made on a whim - which I think it was. I later learned that their standard rate for 2 dives + Equipement rental is infact 10,000 Rs - as quoted on their facebook page. It is sad to see an otherwise excellent Diving Operation intentionally overcharge foreigners/foreign nationals - Certainly a lack of business integrity on their part and negative selling point for potential recreational divers such as myself.
There are several dive sites around Karachi. The standard location is Charna island, which is located about 45 minutes away from the coast of Karachi (15 minutes by speedboat). To get to the dive site, you basically arrive at the dive shop, and they will take you to a remote beach, through a small village outside of the city of karachi (about 45 minutes away) - The village is quite charming and the countryside is beautiful!! Once you arrive at the beach, an old boat powered by what looks like and old diesel engine takes you to the island (slowly but surely) the boat is open so, where sunscreen if you are prone to sunburn. We dove on the north and south end of the island. The diving was certainly excellent. The water was 22 Celcius. Visibility was good and there was lots of marine life. Corals are limited, but appear to be growing.
Like all businesses in Karachi discuss the cost ahead of time and try to find out what the standard rates are ahead of time - so as to not be overcharged. Visit their Facebook page ahead of time! Overall the experience was excellent. The facilities were excellent, the personnel were knowledgeable and safe. The diving was great.