A Trip To The Andamans (May 18 to 24, 2017)

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All good quality photographs were taken by my relatives and the amateur ones are by yours truly. Let’s leave the judgments aside. I’m just a writer.
Legends:
* indicates precaution
[ ] includes valuable information
{ } includes personal comments
( ) includes transit information
Precautions:
*Jio doesn’t have a network here. BSNL does.
{Unfortunately, I’d stopped recharging my BSNL to actually try trusting Jio by now. That was quite unwise as an idea.}
*Dairy products aren’t in great demand and restaurants and hotels seldom have any stock of them.
[But there is one dairy industry called Netgo somewhere on these islands. And their milk is diluted with water and chemicals. The residents use powdered milk from the mainland, if at all they must consume.]
*Food pricing at restaurants here begins at triple-digit pricing.
*Buy a good cowboy hat and swimming trunk as they’ll both be handy for the sun and the waters.

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Day 1: Port Blair
May 18, Thursday

 

(Flew to Port Blair, Veer Savarkar Airport.)
{It’s been a long time, i.e. 8 years, since I’ve flown in a plane and that too across the sea.}
(Checked into Hotel Western Park.)
[Not until May 22 did I find out that the ground floor provides a Wi-Fi access.]
{And the wifi password was ‘nosmoking‘. The health industry is sponsoring Wi-Fi!?!}
Visited the Cellular Jail, it’s museum and memorial.
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[Only 3 of 7 quarters remain after the 2004 Tsunami.]
[If you visit this place in the evening, I believe you’d come across a narrative sound & light show.]
{This place was quite an emotional experience. The brutality of a nation’s slavery, as well as imperial sadism against the revolutionaries, was heartfelt throughout these galleries.}
Visited an anthropological museum.

{Not much to see here unless you’d like to know about the Aborigines.}

Rode the jet-ski at the beach.

 

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[It’s like a very bumpy and thrilling  motorcycle ride across the waves.]
{I’ve never had so much fun ever before in my life.}
There’s a temple nearby, if you’re interested.
~

Day 2: Havelock
May 19, Friday

(Cruised on ‘Green Ocean-1’ to Havelock Island. Saw plenty of Flying Fish across the sea.)

 

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(Checked into Dolphin Resort by the beach which looks like a real-life illustration of one of Enid Blyton’s  books.)
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Visited a beach at Radhanagar and submerged myself into the transparent waves across the white sand for almost 2 hours.
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Day 3: Havelock & Elephant Beach
May 20, Saturday 

Scuba Diving at Blue Planet.

[Breathing is done through the mouth like you drink coconut water and you’re provided a mask with an oxygen supply. Communication isn’t verbal. There are 2-4 standard  hand-gestures, and that’s enough for this purpose.]

{My instructor was quite encouraging and I even talked to the finance in charge. We even agreed to meet up again in the evening.}

 

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Motorboat ride to Elephant beach followed by snorkeling.

[It’s a very small beach. And snorkeling is done by floating on the water surface with your face into the water. The mask around your face allows you to take in air from the surface.]

 

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(Motorboat-ride back to Havelock.)

{There was a visit to another beach scheduled that evening, but I skipped it.}

Instead, I visited Radhanagar beach once again. This time with a new friend of mine, from Blue Planet.

{And, when we returned to the Blue Planet, I ran an Access Body Process on him. I met quite a few interesting guys there, and one of them even knew two of my college friends. It’s a small world!}
~

Day 4: Neil Island
May 21, Sunday

(Boarded Mak Russ Gold to Neil Island.)
[This island is quite small and it’s just a transitory visit.]

(Booked into Hotel Hawa Bill Nest.) 

[The hotel took 1.5 hours to have our lunch ready as people don’t eat at the restaurant very often.]

Visited Barathpur beach.
[The water is crystal clear and quite a warm bath. The waves were very gentle and occasional here.]
And went on a Glass-bottomed Boat ride.
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{There was a visit to a beach at Lakshmanpur which I skipped.}
~
Day 5: Neil Island & Port Blair
May 22, Monday 

Visited a viewpoint just above  Sitapur beach.

 

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Soon after that, we visited a natural bridge.
[This place is good for adventure photography.]
{I felt like Gandalf throughout while climbing the rocks.}

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(Boarded the Mak Russ back to Port Blair.)
Visited a government Saw Mill, a pit bombed by the British in 1942, and a museum of woodwork.
{It’s not advisable to spend more than 20 min here: firstly, there’s not much to see, secondly, it was already lunchtime now, and thirdly, because of the subsequent event.}

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After lunch, we rushed to a sunset point.
[The sun sets at 5 PM in Andaman,  at this time of the year, and the visibility of the sun through the clouds isn’t a guarantee as the weather isn’t predictable. And you’re not allowed anywhere near the beach after 5 PM.]
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{There was a narrative Sound & Light Show at the Cellular Jail which I skipped. If you’re not the sensitive type, skipping this event isn’t advisable.}
~
Day 6: Ross Island
May 23, Tuesday

 

Visited Andaman Water Sports. Boarded the Mark Marina to Ross Island which had another Japanese Bunker, a worn-out clubhouse, and a worn-out Church.
[There were plenty of deer on this island. Nothing much of a major attraction otherwise.]

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Took the same boat to North Bay Island for an experience of Sea-Walking.
[Breathing is quite normal and water doesn’t touch the face as we’re provided with a helmet and it, in turn, had a continuous oxygen supply.]
Then, we went in a submarine for a  Coral Safari.
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Finally, we took the Mark Marine back to Port Blair and then we took another boat called M.V. Saroj back to Ross Island to watch a lantern show.
{It was a reasonably interesting show, although I wasn’t mighty pleased when I learned that the voice artist was Shabna Azmi. An irony, for a patriotic show.}
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Day 7: Baratang
May 24, Wednesday

 

(Left the hotel at 3:30 AM. The view outside the ride was quite scenic and lush green after dawn. We had our breakfast at Jartatang and headed towards Middle Strait. We saw quite a few Jarawas (aborigines) on the way. Photography isn’t allowed in their domain.)

(We caught a ship full of passengers, cars, and buses alike to Baratang Forest on another island.)

 

Then, we took a motorboat across a marshland filled with a forest of Mangroves to yet another island where after quite a bit of walking, we visited a Limestone Cave.
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Later, we returned to Baratang Forest by motorboat and took a jeep into the forest to see a Mud Volcano.
[You get 20 minutes to travel to, observe, as well a return from the volcano. It’s alive but it’s covered with wet mud. Gas escapes explicitly as bubbles from the surface of the mud. Apparently, they’re harnessing the energy of this volcano for commercial purposes.]
(Finally, we returned to the dock by Jeep and boarded the same ship back to Middle Straits. Then, we headed back to our hotel at Port Blair.)
~Day 8: Return to Madras
May 25

 

(Boarded a flight back to Madras at 8 AM. Reached at 10:30 AM.)

 

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Author: The Equilibrium of Life

If you're into poetry, feel free to visit galleries on Wordpress & Instagram (zardychess) , and page on Facebook (zardychess)

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