The sea is calm; a calmness that at times in our lives can be illusive. As I sit here, anchored down, writing to you from the beach table, I look in front and witness the beauty of the ocean.I first visited the Andamans in September of 2017, when my partner and I backpacked for good 3 weeks(Which we thought weren't enough!) and did the Open water course.
" WOW- how has it taken me so long to visit?" I said to myself. In our everyday lives, we're constantly bombarded with sensory stimuli, whether from our devices, busy homes and offices, or hectic city streets. Our brains need downtime, but they rarely get enough of it. Clean pristine beaches, sunset by 5:45pm, hardly anyone around - basically your own private beach!
On the first trip, we planned on exploring Little Andamans, Long Island and Diglipur which couldn't happen because of the monsoons. Ended up going to Just Neil and Havelock.The season runs from November to mid-May, although there are less year-round weather fluctuations than the mainland. Just be careful of this- our flights got cancelled the first time around.
This time was different. We landed at Portblair from Chennai( daily flights!) by afternoon and took the early morning ferry the next day to Havelock.
How to get there:
Trying out both private ferry companies GREEN OCEAN ( Which i would suggest on your way back from Havelock- because you get to stand on the deck, just like on Government ferries) and Makruzz ( they don't let you stand outside- boohoo! but a really good ferry!). which takes only 90 minutes from Port Blair. There are government ferry services available as well which take about 2.5 hours. Do book your tickets in advance during peak season.
On my first trip to this Island. We made sure to carry our own water bottles. All of you know how much i keep talking about it- but it is an important issue. We stayed at Emerald Gecko( Auto from the ferry will charge you around 100rs) for 10 days in Havelock(rest at Neil) and ate majority of our meals at Full moon cafe. Not going to mention the hotel i stayed at this time around- because :
It’s the seemingly pristine waters in these remote places that contain worryingly high volumes of tiny toxic plastic particles (broken down by waves and sunlight over the years) that are now starting to outnumber the plankton that form the base of the marine food chain.
Do you know it's mistaken for food by the fish and seafood we eat? :(
( me trying to look for a plastic bottle at Radhanagar Beach- and yes! i did find one )
What did i do on the trip?!
1. Whilst i was down with a severe cold- i only managed to do one fun dive with Dive India. If you ever want to learn scuba- they are your people!
2. Ate and hung around with doggies!
3. Visited Radha nagar beach and Kalapathar beach ( on my bicycle) - cause why not?! :)
5. Local vegetable market( Since everything is organic- you get the best bananas! and veggies! )- sorry! couldn't take any photographs, was too busy picking up fresh veggies! :)
6. Went for a massage( I went to Kerala Ayurveda).
7. Mothered Kit-kat
There's not much to do around and that's precisely the point! Just unwind and relax. Also, no Internet!
( Our private picnic spot)
Take the morning or evening ferry to Neil from Havelock based on your plan. Honestly, Island hoping is a little difficult in Andamans as most of the islands are restricted and only government ferries are allowed to a few islands. Spent about 10 days on this beautiful island. I know! An island of just 5 km, thats quite a lot! But, it's beautiful. :) We stayed at emerald gecko and took our own time to explore the island. With early morning swims at Sitapur Beach to sunsets at Laxmanpur. Visited the Natural Bridge and Coral Point since they can be accessed during low tide only.
(sunset at Laxmanpur Beach) Taken from Samsung S7 edge
Where did to eat :
- Full Moon Cafe
- Anuj-Coco ( please carry your own water bottles as they don't serve water, but charge you for a bottle)
- Squid and Golden spoon ( wasn't too impressed- but they are one of the few local restaurants you can try out)
- Local food near Radhanagar beach
- Something Different ( They have their own shuttle- so you can ask them to drop you off at your hotel!)
- Red Snapper ( great calamari!)
- Garden View at Neil! Where you'll be welcomed by the sweetest hosts ever. :)
- You can either hire a scooty( Rs. 400-500/day) or rent a bicycle(Rs150/day). There are autos as well ( it can get expensive).
Where to drink:
- Because of the island's region, a few hotels serve alcohol to tourists. I always recommend that you bring a bottle of wine to the beach and watch the sunset. There is nothing better than that!
What all did I carry:
Everything I link below is what I prefer
- Bathing suit
- My pixel 2 xl ( yes, no camera gear! but that's totally upto you. :) and Samsung s7 edge on my previous trip!
- Mosquito spray ( Please - by all means DON'T forget this!)
- Clothing you plan on wearing
- Medicines ( just incase- the shops shut down early on the island)
- My snorkel gear
- Water bottle
Taken from Samsung S7 edge
Further afield, there is still a plethora of splendid beaches to explore. Tranquil Kalipur in the far north is famous for turtle nesting – be still, watch as sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach. Then, there’s surfing on Little Andaman, the southernmost island, where the waves on Butler Bay beach make it one of the best surfing spots in India. For lesser water babies, the magical White Surf Waterfalls, hidden in the evergreen jungle, can be reached by a lovely hike – or take an elephant safari instead.
I'll leave the rest for you to explore. :)