Thursday, March 6, 2014

Amazing Andaman -Travelogue 2

Continuing with my Andaman Travelogue.I wound up my previous post with our spending an hour in Vijay nagar beach during night.In this post,I am continuing with our experience in Havelock and Port blair.
Next morning we started to Elephant beach in Havelock. Take a left turn from main jetty of Havelock and reach this place from where boats to Elephant beach start.There are lots of tender coconuts stalls in this area.
Havelock Island,Andaman
Ask for Life jackets from the boat operators,because boats are small and it takes around 45 minutes to reach elephant beach.Sea may be rough.Cant predict the pattern.So better to wear life jackets..
It is a very small beach with very little sand and thick vegetation.Water is crystal clear.Good for snorkeling and Sea walk.We booked for Sea walk adventure in the beach.Left the senior citizens in the Beach and we ventured for Sea walking.The guide took us by a small boat  to a big boat from where Sea walking was done.They made us to wait in the big boat for around 1 and half hours.9 persons were taken to the sea bed at a time.They had only 9 oxygen cylinders which were kept on the top most deck of the boat.A tube carrying oxygen was let into a heavy helmet weighing around 30 kgs.Guide taught us 2 signs for 'comfortable' and 'not comfortable'.They taught us breathing exercises which we had to do immediately after wearing the helmet.If ear starts paining because of pressure,they asked us not to proceed with sea walking.Rajen,Ravin were taken first.
Sea walking with Rajen,Havelock,Andaman
After missing scuba diving,I didn't want to miss this opportunity.So gathering lots of courage I wore the helmet.A safety net is tied vertically around this area of around 25 meters diameter to prevent big fishes,crocodiles from entering this area.Once the helmet is worn,they push us under the sea,a diver ask us to remain in the ladder and make us do breathing exercises and assures that we are comfortable and takes us to the sea bed and join us with already existing human chain.Balance under the water was quite difficult for me.I was moving like a drunkard :-),so held Rajen's hand tightly.I was really afraid but the experience was amazing. Couldn't believe that I was under the sea along with aquatic creatures and was feeling live corals with my hands.Feeling was quite different.Partially excited and partially afraid. Rajen comforted me but I wanted to run out of the sea,and couldn't;-).Divers were there to guide and help us.They crushed some bread pieces near us and suddenly from nowhere lots of fishes surrounded us.They were of different shapes,sizes and colors.It was really amazing.I forgot the fear and touched the fishes.Divers took us for a
walk on the bed and took us to the boat.I emerged from the sea with a victorious smile in my face.:-)
We returned back to our resort,had lunch and took some rest.
Veer Savarkar Cell,Portblair,Andaman
Next day we returned back to port blair by coastal cruise.After lunch we rushed to cellular jail because it gets closed for viewers by 5 pm.

We visited Veer savarkar cell and spent some time there.Saluted the great freedom fighters who were lodged in that jail and suffered for our nation.
There are very rare photographs displayed in the museums.Gallows in which many prisoners were executed mercilessly also stands as a mute witness in that jail complex.There is a watch tower on the terrace.Can see ross islands,north bay from the terrace of cellular jail.

Next day we went to Jollybuoy Islands by a boat from wandoor jetty.From portblair it takes 45 minutes by road to reach wandoor jetty. Jollybuoy Island's environment rules are very strict.Security checking is done before boarding the boat.Mineral water bottles,plastics are banned.So we paid deposit in a counter got thermal proof water bottles from the counter,transferred mineral water into those bottles and took them with us.After coming back we have to return water bottles and get back the deposit.Our boat was M.L Tanveer.
M.L Tanveer Boat,Wandoor,Andaman
Travel to jollybuoy is also a beautiful experience.Entire route is fringed with lovely thick mangroves.Different type of trees embellish the entire forests.Girth of some of the trees touching the clouds are very big.Our guide in the boat was Kumar. A tamilian settled in Andaman.We struck a deal with him for glass bottom boat and
Snorkeling.He explained that salt water crocodiles love to be in mangroves because of the marshy land and heat and may be living in that area.But he comforted us that they will not be found in jollybuoy island.;-):-)

En route Jolly buoy Island,Andaman
The boat takes lots of curvy paths on the way.
Since corals around the islands are protected
anchoring is not allowed.So we had to take a
glass bottom boat to reach the island.We can see rich corals,different varieties of star fishes through the glass bottom.Since the currents around the island become rough post noon,they advised us to do snorkeling first.After reaching jollybuoy,the first thing guides did was to anchor a very long rope of around 100 metres in the Seabed when the Sea was less rough.Island has got a very narrow sandy beach and thick vegetation.Hues of the water around the island is breathtaking.But these waters are very deceptive.Can get carried away easily by the currents in this area.Our guides advised us not to venture beyond 15 feet.Even experienced guides don't venture to one side of island because of strong pulling currents.
Hues of water in Jollybuoy Island,Andaman
 Snorkeling was superb because of the abundance of corals and varieties of fishes.Kumar was our guide in snorkeling.I had some initial problem ;-) as usual :-) but enjoyed seeing amazing varieties of corals and different coloured starfish. Kumar dived to the Sea bed and brought some star fishes and Sea cucumbers and made us to feel them.He explained about different corals properly.
My son venturing for snorkeling in Jollybuoy Island,Andaman
While coming back guides had to hold on to the rope which was anchored to swim against the currents and they guided us back to the beach.Superb Experience.
Glass bottom boat,Jollybuoy Island,Andaman
There are environment friendly changing rooms inside the island.Since environment vigilance is high,Island is very clean.This island remains closed for 6 months.They open it for tourists after diwali.
Next was glass bottom boat ride for half an hour.
Sun was almost right on the top,So we had to
cover the boat with a big cloth to have a clear
view of the corals.Senior citizens and small children who missed snorkeling could enjoy this ride.At the end of the ride we reached Tanveer boat and traveled back to wandoor.We stood on the deck to have a look on the mesmerizing scenery.In wandoor you have lots of eateries.

Glass Bottom Boat,Jollybuoy Island,Andaman
We had lunch there.Quality was OK.Returned back to port blair by cabs arranged by our operator.Even today tsunami effect is seen in wandoor area.Many houses and fields are partially submerged in water.Locals claim that this happened only after Tsunami.On the way we visited rubber plantation and spice garden.Purchased some spices from the shop in that plantation.
Next morning Sarang had planned for Mount Harriet trip.Mount harriet is second highest peak in Andaman.From port blair we had to reach chatham jetty.From there ferried our cabs to Bamboo flat jetty.From bamboo flat jetty it takes around 15 mins to reach the base of the Mt.Harriet.Ghat Road to the peak is beautiful.Thick vegetation,branches entwined together in a beautiful pattern crisscrosses the road and forms natural swings.Sunrays rarely touches the ground.Mount Hariet National park is at the peak.

Scenery seen from the view points are very beautiful.Even if there is a slight rain,be careful of leeches in this thickly vegetated area.
View from Mt.Hariet,Andaman
While returning back,we visited Chatham saw mill.Museum is Good.Can see bomb pits caused during japanese war here.
After returning to port blair we visited Anthropological Museum and Samudrika marine museum.
Samudrika Museum,Andaman
Museums are must see places.Lots of informative and interesting articles,photographs are displayed in all the museums.
In Sagarika Emporium,we did some shopping.Remember to preserve receipts.We cannot take any shell or marine wealth out of Port blair without receipts. Andamanese are proud of their marine and other natural wealth and preserve them well.
Now I wind up the post with a small mention about our tour operators.As far as our tour operators are concerned,they were good and co operative.May be next trip we ll plan with them.
With this post,I finish the Amazing Andaman series.(Thank God! I finished the series before our next trip ;-) :-) )
Andaman is very beautiful in all aspects.Would like to visit again.CU in next post.Bye for now.