Submarine Diving School, the longest established PADI diving center in Unawatuna, is nestled under the palm trees in the western end of of the serene bay.
Our family started the diving center in 1991, the first divers to start up such an endeavour in Unawatuna, offering diving, boat trips and snorkelling in the area. It began as a small family business, established by our father, A. K Gnannadasa, more popularly known as Gnanai. The dive team consisted of two instructors, Gnanai and Lakshman Muthukuda, and four brothers, Shirly, Chamli, Dinesh and Wisni.
We were thriving very well, until suddenly in 2004, the Boxing Day Tsunami destroyed everything.
n the disaster, we lost our father Gnanai and brother Chamli, who went off to help and save people from the ocean. Chamli was found in the bay, suffering a severe head injury and died in the arms of brother Shirly. Our father also suffered head injury, but his body was not found until the next day, when Shirly searched and found him 800m inland. All the equipment was lost from the dive center, and the center itself completely demolished.
Since then it's been a tough road, restarting from scratch with little support but relentless effort to bring us back to the way we were. Donation was collected from friends to purchase new equipment, and a humble new dive center was rebuilt in the west side of Unawatuna bay.
Shirly now runs the dive center with his younger brother Wisni. We hope to continue the family legacy and take divers from around the world to experience the underwater wonders that our home village has to offer! :)