Day 6 – Havelock and Neil islands


This day, as usual, started at 5 in the morning. Oh i am so getting used to it. We checked out of the hotel, reached the jetty and took a boat to the marvellous Elephanta Beach (consult map on previous post) for some coral viewing and snorkelling. Post Elephanta and hopefully brakefast too, we would take the boat back to Neil Island where we would stop for the night.

The weather was back to its gloomy ways. It had actually rained the entire night and the sea was rather rough. On top of that we were in a dinghy of the most insignificant size.

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Elephanta is not much of a beach. As you can see from the picture here, its a very thin strip of land surrounded by deep waters and untouched coral reef. This is a hot-bed for scuba diving and snorkelling.

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A huge tree had fallen into the water and it provided an amazing scope for my shutter-happy ways. In this picture, however, you can see that a tiny drop of water has settled on my lens, thus blurring out a part of the image.

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More of the fallen tree….

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This one is my favourite. Check the sky out. When we were going back, it rained so much that we actually feared burial at sea!

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Ma goes snorkelling….

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And comes back to tell the tale.

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Thats me, venturing into the reefs…

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Tired and wet!

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At Neil now… guess who finally decides to join the party after a week of silent observation from the dry land!

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This beach was quite amazing… no matter how far out into the sea you walk, the level of water remains the same. This is just the largest swimming fool ever.

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Ma is collecting shells. I dont know what baba is doing. I think he is digging a tunnel to Burma!

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Who said ‘Spa’?

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Look ma, i am a crocodile. Raaarrrrrrrrr……..

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Like father..like son

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I believe i can fly..sorry… SWIM!

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Ma

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In the evening, Baba and me went to this beach, a rocky one at that where one can spot stranded aquatic life at low tide. Just like the rocks i visited in Port Blair. Ma complained of fatigue and stayed back at the hotel. The rocks were strewn with pieces of broken coral.

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There were limestone cliffs surrounding the beach. In case of this one, the sea has worked its way into creating an arch. The locals call it the ‘Howrah Bridge’.

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A rock that has been gnawed to the bone by the sheer force of the sea!

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The loow tide leaves pubbles like these on the beach. They form the best places to spot unique sea life forms.

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Clams!

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Sea amemones. If you touch them they retract into the rocks. Vry much like the touch-me-nots or what we call in Bangla lajjabati

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Who knew that corals come in metallic shades too!

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Finger corals!

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Another kind of coral!

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For some weird reason, i wore a kurta to the beach!

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The amazing beach where we saw the sunset! The little man to the right is baba!

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Another one!

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The main bazaar at Neil Island at night!

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The biggest grocery shop of the tiny island!

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Day 5 – Havelock Island


What a day! What a rare day! Ever since we came to these islands, it had been raining… all the time. For the first time in days, the sun was out and all the colours changed. We reached the port early in the morning to board the boat (MV Rani Lakshmi) that will take us to Havelock via Neil Island.

The map of Havelock will put my later ramblings into a lucid context. I hope!

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Boats lined up on the docks at Port Blair. All of them are run by the government and are subsidised for the locals. While we paid Rs 235 per head for the journey from Port Blair to Havelock, for locals its Rs 25.

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Jetty lights against the clear blue sky!

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Thats the colour of the sea when the sun is shining. Port Blair recedes to the distance as the boat starts its eastward crawl towards Neil and Havelock

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North Bay. The entire region is surrounded with coral reefs and forms the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. When you look at the back-side of a Rs 20 note, you will see an island with lots of coconut trees and a lighthouse. Thats the north bay island and the lighthouse (which is just left of  this photo’s left limit) is known as Wandoor.

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The seating area of the boat.

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Once the boat reached the high seas, there was nothing to do on the deck so i sat down and caught up with a couple of episodes of SCRUBS. The photograph was taken by ma while i was busy in the aforementioned fashion.

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The deep, blue sea!

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The boat makes the first stop at Neil Island. On the background is one of Neil’s beaches while the lighthouse in the foreground, a tiny lighthouse marks a coral reef so that the ships and bigger boats like the one we were on,  stay clear.

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That, they say is the real colour of the sea around here.

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These pillars too, mark the coral reefs. All these pics were taken when the boat was approaching Neil jetty.

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One more

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Men relax on the jetty, suspended above the glassy waters.

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Boats around the Neil island shoreline

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The jetty at Neil Island

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While you wait for the boat to pick up and drop passengers and begin the next leg of the journey towards Havelock, you can chill with some coconut water at the jetty

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or with some paan and cigarettes!

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The sea, painted a million shades of blue!

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Approaching Havelock

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Near the Havelock Jetty. Look at how crystal clear the water is

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What can i say!

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This is at the jetty. All these fishes were in a large school and were circling around the jetty pillars.

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And then there were smaller fishes!

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Just like people have cars in cities, people in Havelock and other islands have boats and this is how they park them!

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Thats the view we enjoyed sitting at our resort!

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The wall was put up so that the high tide water cannot rush in.

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Why do people rave about Thailand so much. Are they not aware of these places in India itself?

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The resort lawns

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There you go! half a day of sunny bliss coming to an end. The rain clouds start rolling in… that too when i had just finished renting an Enfield! Damn you rains!

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Thats the red Bullet i rented. It was called Red Bull for the day!

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And thats Andaman’s finest Brew! The fact is, if you are wet and you are sitting in a shack on the beach and waiting for your shirt to dry, any brew is good brew!

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Havelock’s prime attraction – Radhanagar Beach. This 3 km long stretch of white sand is considered to be one of the best in the world.

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And it attracts not only loud Bengali tourist and bikini-clad westerners, but also the canines.

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I wish i knew how to swim…i wish i knew how to surf!

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Have you ever seen a beach this large so empty?

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Just to stress on the point i just made.

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framed with forests…

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Driftwood on the beach

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HA HA HA! Crabs are the best. These little fellows are barely two inches across. Whenever the waves go back, they appear for seconds, only to disappear into the sand in the wink of an eye. If you happen to catch one of them, like i did, they just play dead! the moment you let them off your hand, schoom…they are off!

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The beauty of this beach! The trees look as if they have been planted according to a plan. They grow naturally in a neat row across the length of the beach

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Just like this…

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And like this…

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At times there are rocks that jut into the sea. The rocks are covered with algae and they can be very slippery. I found out the hard way and to this day, more than a week after i am back, there is still a bluish black patch on my butt!

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The sand in this stretch of the beach was rather soft. Your entire foot disappears with every step.

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Ma being a little girl!

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I like this pic!

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The sun says Good Bye!

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I will definitely come back here one day. May that day be very soon and may the company be right!

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