By: Bhavya S (LTSL)
“A trip that started from above the clouds and went on till below the sea covering all modes of transport! The Utopia of an imaginary land came to life here at Andaman.”
Our first destination was Port Blair. Main tourist spots in Port Blair are Cellular Jail, Chatham Saw mill, Sports complex and the museum. The cellular jail was the highlight of our first day in Andaman. Next morning we rushed to the shipyard.
The ship cruise to Havelock was fun, walking around sipping a cup of tea and enjoying the company of friends. Once we reached Havelock, we freshened up in rooms which were arranged along the beachside. We then headed towards Radhanagar beach which was a visual treat!! Exactly like we had seen in movies and I finally got to see the sea blue color. We played throw ball, chain game etc. and even buried a friend in the sand for fun. When we returned to our rooms for the night, we noticed a strange phenomenon. The beach near our rooms had dried completely. We then got to know that due to high tide-low tide, the water vanishes every 6 hrs!! With this our 2nd day in Andaman came to an end.
Next morning we checked out from our rooms and got split into 2 groups. The 1st group went for Scuba diving, which was a dream come true for the 1st timers. The rest of visited the Elephant beach and did snorkeling. Though the beach was too small, it looked beautiful. Post lunch all of us gathered at Havelock shipyard, to head back to Port Blair.
Ross Island is a place meant for photography because it contains nothing but ruins. We went by boat from Port Blair to Ross Island and had about 3 hours’ time to roam around the little island. There were ruins of a church, community center, market etc. The museum had pics of how Ross Island looked earlier and how it is now, which gave a nostalgic feel. There were deer and rabbits running around the island.
We then visited Carbon Cove beach in Port Blair. After visiting the sky blue beaches, it wasn’t fascinating to visit a beach which looked like the normal beaches. Few photographs there and we returned to our guest houses and proceeded with the cultural night. We split into groups of 4 and each group had to perform a mad-ad and skit. It was an entertaining event where all of us felt like we were back to college days.
Next morning, the much awaited moment for those who didn’t try scuba was here- Sea Walk in North Bay! We could see the sea walk helmets lined up waiting for us!! We got into the water by climbing down a ladder from the ship. Just as the water reached our neck, they would drop the helmet on our head and we would go down till the sea bed. Very soon we could walk past corals and fishes roaming around our heads. It looked more like we were in a fish bowl and the fish were moving around us freely. After about 40 minutes of underwater experience, our cars were all set to take us back to Mount Harriet. Then we started the trek to Kalapathar. The path was full of leeches. By the time you halt to take off a leech and you’re attacked by 10 other leeches!
While returning back, few of us decided to trek to the lighthouse too. Unfortunately someone misguided us and we failed to reach the lighthouse. While heading back home, we saw the Tsunami ruins. A stretch of land that has become a waste after the disastrous incident!
Jolly Boy is supposedly a must visit beach in Andaman. But strangely, this is closed for every 6 months to visitors. This is substituted by Red Skin beach, where we were taken by boat. The next destination for the day was Chidia Tapu which is a sunset point. We also visited a park in Chidia Tapu which had crocodiles! The Park was beautiful and apt for a walk.
Next day was our last in Andaman. Baratong, popular for the limestone caves was planned for the day. To reach here, we had to go through the forest where Jarava tribes reside. However, we could spot just one tribal guy on the way. After crossing the forest, a ferry took us to a boat jetty where a speed boat was awaiting us. The speed boat then took us through Mangrove forests to the start point of our trek to the limestone caves. After walking through a field and forest, we finally reached the limestone cave where we saw various formations and sinkholes which were familiar to the one found in geography text books of school.
Tribes in Andaman: The Jarava tribes were against islanders during historic times. They had then started building friendly relations after the islanders rescued a kid of the Jarava tribe. Tourists were then even allowed to meet the tribes. Sadly few years ago, few visitors behaved inappropriately with the tribes. This turned to a controversy and tourists were then banned from meeting the tribes. The situation is better now and currently tourists are allowed to travel through the jungle but only with escorts!! This a lesson for all of us to preserve the emotional and sentimental values of local people.
This marked the end of our Andaman episode. We left to the airport early morning after settling all the accounts and gifting the organizers as a token of gratitude for the wonderful arrangements that they had done to make our stay in Andaman very memorable and cherishable!
“7 days passed by like 7 minutes leaving behind memories worth cherishing for 7 ages!”