Andaman Trip Story (Day 4)

March 3, 2009 at 3:59 PM Leave a comment

 “But the guide had told that it is ok if we are ready by 8.00am, why do I have to get up so early” I argued with my dad, but my dad had his mission accomplished by shattering my sleep, that’s why he calmly walked off. I know my dad very well guys; he was just taking his revenge on me, because I did not switch off the TV that night on his request, so he just wanted me to learn the moral of the story “that I should never sleep late at night”.

 Lesson or whatever my sleep was over and now I went ahead to finish my morning suprabatha and after about 20 minutes I reached the ground floor of our hotel everyone way there waiting for the cab perhaps they were late. I was getting bored of waiting for the cab so I started searching for a subject which I could photograph. But to my bad luck I could not find anything, moreover I could see that the cab as approaching our hotel so I started keeping my camera back in the pouch. Like everybody I was boarding the cab when suddenly there was a thundering noise I the sky it was a huge aircraft which had just taken off from the Ankur military base it was flying so low that I knew that I could have got a really awesome picture, but now the moment had passed and I could do nothing but regret myself, and as I entered the cab Lena aunty welcomed me saying “good morning harsha” no sooner that I heard that compliment I started laughing to myself thinking about the way the day had gone so far.

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By the way Lena aunty is from udupi bsnl, she is a cheerful lady who is very much interested in traveling and most of the time she keeps for herself and all the while she is admiring different places of visit.

 

All of us together like a convoy drove to our regular hotel annapurna, where today I had butter masala dosa, but my family had their usual idly vada. It was almost 35 minutes of our grub time in the restraint when our drivers advised us that it was about time that we proceed to Rajiv Gandhi jetty point to board the ferry. This travel advisory made our entire group lively and very soon within 7 minutes we were in Rajiv Gandhi point waiting for our boat, this is where we met this guy called pradeep, he was our guide when we visited the island, these tourist agencies have got cartels where they outsource certain functions to another agencies to minimize costs, later on they share profits with one another, pradeep was just part of the arrangement.

 

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Since our group comprised of about 19 people we got an entire small ferry reserved for us after waiting for about 15 minutes and loading our lunch parcels on board.

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We were off to the visit the first island out of three islands visits.  these small ferry are like large speed boats and it was about 30 minutes drive in the boat, and it was for the first time during our visit to the island that i really saw the crystal clear water so close i could never believe at least in India the water looks so beautiful it was just like seeing some bollywood movies which is shot in Mauritius or something. Everybody was in a good mood traveling in the open sea and thankfully nobody was sea-sick.

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Very soon we reached our first destination called the Ross island, now this island is currently under the supervision of Indian navy, however pre-independence it was a military installation and both Japan and British rule had occupied it at some point. This island today is a tourist attraction with lot of coconut trees.

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However earlier it was a strong military fortress of the British officials, even now as it is being maintained by navy there are lot of restricted areas in the island, this is a ecological zone and hence no plastic area so we were supposed either to keep our plastic belongings in the boat of in dispose it in the dustbin at the entrance.The island is pretty big and it is a trek of almost 1.5 kilometers within its territory, the pre-independence looks of this island are badly damaged after the recent 2005 December tsunami, as for now most of the buildings are draped with roots of some huge trees.

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It is a very interesting sight to see an island full of British infrastructure. This island has got all the basic requirements that the British government used to provide to its officers and soldiers serving away from home. Despite being used by military officials this island was meant for non-military purpose. It had a water distillery plant

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 Church

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 Swimming pool

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 Air Raid Bunkers

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 Bakery

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 one of the British officers had also built a temple for the Indians serving the British.

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 There are also many recreational spots which now has been converted to art gallery or museum and these arcade portray the development of the island from its past to the present. On the rear side of this island there is an administrative building of the British officials with a beach. The tour of the entire island took us about two hours which was more than enough for our purpose, in fact we reached to our ferry 10 minutes before the schedule and then we started to our next destination the Viper Island. It was almost 11.00am when we started from Ross Island and it was unbelievable, I just could not make how the time was passing so soon.

 

 It was absolutely a pleasure traveling in a private ferry I mean you don’t get disturbed by outsiders or vendors of any sort. It is a haven for photographers we can literally take the picture of the entire city sky scrapers while being at sea.

 

 While going to Viper Island we have to go through a navy base at sea and it was then that the boats “MASTER” “Master is the designation of small ferry drivers, just like “CAPTAIN” for big ships”. It was at this point that our tour guide requested us not to do strange or unnecessary actions or signals outside or inside the boat as the boat is being monitored by the navy patrol. So at this point everybody remained restricted to their seats and did not indulge in much of any activity, after about 10minutes in the defense zone of the navy, the boat master suddenly halted the boat in the mid sea. We were obviously confused and as we looked at our guide he pointed at the left hand side on the rear of our boat, it was a navy patrolling boat which had intercepted us and signaled to stop. Those guys quickly came on their inflatable boats boarded the boats deck checked for paper works from our guide as well as the boat driver enquired them for license, questioned our guide if anyone of his guest were of a foreign nationality. When they were satisfied with the interview the got into their own boat and swiftly disappeared as they had come.

 

After this brief encounter with the navy we were again on the civil side of the sea, at this point I and Anvith sat on the rear end of the boat for sometime. When we came back I could see my dad driving the boat I didn’t know whether he was really driving it or whether I was being sea-sick. Very soon I realized that it was actually my dad driving the boat under the careful supervision of the master.

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 Eventually even I got an opportunity to drive the boat.

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let me tell you guys there is no experience like driving a boat , without a helmet , without traffic signal , without policemen , without gear , without breaks and most of all without road, without direction, its like heaven on earth.

One sight of viper island may just make you wonder why on earth have you come to this place you cannot see even a single specie of animal on this island. Even to tug the boat to the shore nobody was present. This island seemed to have lost its life for decades almost nothing to see, however as we closed towards the doorway of this island we could see that more than 3 ships had crashed on the port of this island.

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 A tiled building was almost ripped apart from its centre

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and the assumption which our mind was playing with us seeing the visuals till came to be true when our tour guide pradeep broke the news that this was one of the worst affected civilian island in Andaman which was badly hit by tsunami. As he finished saying this statement I could see the first signs of life on this island there were couple of people collecting he debris in the island, when I personally went and enquired about them they told me that they were from port Blair and they are just laborers on contract to clear the island, they also said that every evening after 5 pm a ship ply’s them back to their home after which the entire island again become uninhabited.

All over the island there was nothing more than scattered pieces of debris which had yet to be recovered by rehabilitation workers. The horrifying story of this island had just begun, this island was named after one of the famous poisonous snake know to mankind the viper snake, our expedition further on this island gave us a first sight of partly damaged red colored building which was like a administrative building of British era.

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But on a closer look the building was a weird architecture, no score for assuming (I mean anybody can assume anything) but no nobody could make any sense out of the building infrastructure and again it was pradeep who broke the silence by detailing us that this place which we are able to visit after spending so much money was once upon a time a last wish of any person because this was the dreaded island of gallows, where many Indian freedom fighters have been hanged for showing their true patriotism.

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Viper Island has its history written in one of the darkest hours of our modern time, yet it seems to be forgotten. This island has not much of entertainment significance however it can really capture ones imagination of our forgotten past.It was almost 13.00pm we had to bid bye to viper island very quickly as it is just a small stop, at least half of the way to north bay island everybody on the ferry was discussing about the brutalities that the Indians had face during the British reign. Meanwhile we also started having lunch on the ferry while going to our last stop of the day the North Bay Island

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now this island is a total water baby’s spot; I mean I had read it on the internet that this island provided for snorkeling and many other water recreations now all I had to do was try one.(By the way if you carefully observe 20 rupees Indian currencies note you will be able to see an island with a tower it is actually the island of North Bay.) I and my friend Anvith made a first dash to water on arrival and we were up with our snorkeling gear , I don’t know where else in India you will get this but my strong suggestion to anyone visiting Andaman would be to try snorkeling and you wont regret this.

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Everyone included me was drop dead exhausted playing in water and followed exact instruction like zombies when pradeep told that we had to leave the island. It was a great moment that everybody had on the island and everybody wanted to have more of it but unfortunately due to time constraints we had to go back. On the way back to port Blair most of them were tired and were almost sleeping all the while. It was also on the boat that I came to know that one of our under water guide while in water was stung by scorpion fish by the time he came out of water his leg had already started to swollen, eventually we came to know by our tour guide Mr. . Butter (Raju) that he had recovered in the hospital.

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It was a great experience and you need not know swimming to do snorkeling as you will al the time be wearing a tube around your body to stop you from drowning and your entire trip you will be escorted by a professional water guide. After snorkeling it was bindass swimming for about 1 ½ hour more. The entire group had a great time in water everyone ladies gents young or old got to do snorkeling and it is really nice to see all the people having fun together like one big family. It was almost 15.30pm when our guide pradeep informed us that the boat had a long was to go and it was about time we had gone back.

 

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For some people this was their first time in beach waters especially Mrs. Padmanabh, who recounted the incident on this occasion.

Yeah it is quite expensive paying 500 rupees for a 40 minutes shallow water dive but every penny is worth it, I could literally spot many corals like brain coral , tiger coral , mushroom coral etc , however I would also like to make a strong suggestion that while you go for coral view there is a device which enable you to take picture underwater without causing damage to your camera , it may cost you something around 800 rupees but it is available in the island so please make you purchases much ahead before you reach Andaman.

 

It was late evening when we reached the hotel after having a light dinner in the hotel I was shocked to know that next morning we had to go to a place called Baratang for which we had to get up at 03.00 am and I didn’t want to take the risk being forced to wake up in the morning so I went to sleep, can you believe without even switching on the TV I went to sleep at 20.00PM(actually I wanted to watch the movie Race but….. shoot my ill fated luck)

 

 

 
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Andaman Trip Story (Day 3) Andaman Trip Story (Day 5)

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