After taking you through the cellular jail and Ross island in Andaman Diaries -1, here I take you through some more adventures at Andamans.
Day 2 & 3:
While our stay at Rose valley resort offered a picturesque vantage point over the bay of Bengal, the morning sun beckoned us to yet another journey .This time to Havelock Islands. The island is named after Henry Havelock, a British general .
The sail atop Mckcruise reminded us all of Titanic. It was a beautiful cruise and we were all warned to pop avomine lest the choppy waters make our intestines go haywire. Nevertheless the WOW ladies slept while the honeymooners cuddled and others watched the interesting documentary on the islanders of Andaman that was being shown on board.This documentary shed light on the amazing fact that Elephants could swim inside water.
Something I hadn’t known. We reached Havelock Islands and were taken to this beautiful resort by the beachside resort called Symphony Palms. Well I hadn’t seen sand as white as the one I saw at Havelock . While on our way to the resort I saw a lot of foreigners cycling along the Havelock Islands. It’s times like these that make me think how we luxury loving Indian travelers are majorly a lazy lot. We rather breathe in the AC air in our SUVs than go out cycling.
The beach along our resort was a rocky one with a lot of coral remains that played hide and seek with the waves .We had lunch at the very famous Barefoot Resort (I am not sure if that was MF Hussain’s idea) . It should definitely be in your itinerary even if you are on a frugal budget .It will remind you of kutir settings in Mahabharata and Ramayana .We ladies were having a lovely time eating and conversing. By now we had all become pally with each other and knew our veg/non veg choices.
There is this mystic power in the sea. It makes us all turn so peaceful. You never want to leave the sea beach. I would rather stand in the midst of the sea and let the waves ebb and flow on me all day. As day 2 ended our tour facilitator Sajid enquired how many of us would like to scuba dive so that he could arrange it for us.
Hmmm..that was a high point.After all the Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara.
I obviously said “Yes” to it. In the evening all interested scuba divers were taken to the Scuba diving academy.To the surprise of all WOW women the scuba diving was run by a lady called Poonam who had been a full time scuba diving instructor at Thailand. She allayed all our fears and apprehensions like one doesn’t need to be a professional swimmer to scuba dive.In case one feels asphyxiated in depth,the instructor brings us up in a second.Also you could scuba dive with contact lenses on. You could even get a video shot to flaunt it or just as a memento.
A bit of shopping on the roadside of Havelock markets followed by a great dinner by the sea ended our day 2.
The next morning I woke up to a thunderous bang. My roommate and I was curious to know what It was. Ahh!! We walked out of our rooms and came to know from the resort people that it was merely the huge coconuts falling on resort roof tops.”Merely!” I said. What if it banged on my head while I was lazing out on the hammock attached to one of those coconut trees.
Anyway I was already witnessing a high! Yes it was just morning but yes even then!
After all I was going to scuba dive. Another feather in my cap. I have to salute the spirit of the 40+ ladies who didn’t know to swim but were ardently looking forward to it. We wore our scuba gears and set forth to the scuba spot. When we reached the scuba spot I must say my high spirits received a jolt.
A bit jittery while my instructor was making me practice the signs of “okay”, ”not okay” “take me up” and “pull me down”. I acclimatized to the undersea conditions in about a minute.Inside water was an ethereal experience. You could see the anemones breathing. The blue clamps beating .Marine biology would indeed be a cool subject to follow with the innumerable species under the sea. The spectacular scenes that I recollect are spotting fish of different colour. Later I came to know their names.Clouds of surgeons and barracuda gather in mid-water, snapper and sweetlips swarm over the rocky reef, and big fish like Giant Trevally and Bumphead Parrotfish are also to be seen on nearly every dive. Giant Grouper and schooling Mobula Rays also make appearances. Many sites are home to endemic species like Andaman Damselfish, Andaman Sweetlips, and the distinctive Indian-Ocean Spinecheek Anemonefish.
As I went deeper my ears had started to pinch and the breathing device attached to my mouth was pressurizing my mandibles.The pressure being directly proportional to the depth was definitely being witnessed.At the end of the 30 minute dive when I reappeared on the terra firma I didn’t cry like Hrithik did,but yes I knew this was one of those stories I’d love to boast to my kids and grandkids (if I had any).
That day was a double bonanza.In the afternoon we headed to another island that was a snorkeling spot.
The island had forest officials on it and a sign that said. “Alert! Crocodile spotted!” It was then that we came to know how an American tourist had been killed in a salt water crocodile attack in the sea at beach no.7 of Havelock islands. No that didn’t deter we ladies to snorkel. Snorkelling is just on the surface unlike scuba.It was the same sight of corals and fish wading across the water.After scuba snorkeling was less interesting.That was the first time I swam in the sea.Of course it was placid and
there were no tides.The most lazy experiences is back floating in the sea.Ahh! Nirvana! As I was saying that to myself lashed away by a huge wave.unable to control myself I landed on the beach and bruised my shin and knee as there were naughty coral rocks on the bed.
Well well..let’s just go with the flow.No regrets. Sea makes you drowsy definitely.I slept like a log that day.Day 4 was supposed to be a day in transit when we were headed to Diglipur a place known for turtles nestling and Pristine Resort.
More to follow