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Thursday, 22 August 2013

Escaping the Road and the Land for the 'Waters'!

(It's a teaser post on my recent trip to Andamans (Portblair and Havelock), written mainly for LonelyPlanet Escape Express, you may also read and vote for it here. A series of Detailed posts on the Islands, Beaches, Places and Diving will be published soon)

Yes, it was strange for me. The love for Road and Trekking was overpowered this time by the love of Beaches and actually - the Underwater adventure! Beaches have always attracted me, so a road leading to beach has always been what I would ever love to do. No thoughts, no ifs-and-buts just take a road that leads to Waters - and its ought to be a Real Lovely trip!

But, this time it was different. Just the Water and only Water called me. This time after a long wait, and believe me the wait was well paid, I finally happen to take flight down to the heavenly Havelock Island of the Andamans for Scuba Diving! And what I met there, the waters, the atmospheric bars, nitrogen releasing from body, easing pressure by squeezing nose, cleaning mask, breathing dry pressurised air and Best of all 'meeting the Nimo (clown fish) and getting to know it's more about couple and not father-son duo, saying Hi to really lazy bum Sea Cucumbers, starry Starfishes, Lion fishes, banded Black & White Krait and the shy Christmas Tree Worm and variety of Corals and clamps and fishes and what not' just made me realize there is a bigger world waiting for us under the waters!

Havelock Island
This island can be reached from Portblair by Government ferries that ply thrice every day and take about 2 to 3 hours.  A semi luxury boat Makruzz can also be taken during the season (September/November to March/April). And, then the fastest way to reach Havelock is India's only commercial SeaPlane service which charges around Rs 4100/- but takes just 15-20 minutes with a bonus bird's eye view of Andamans.

Portblair Jetty
Portblair Jetty

Portblair is well connected with Indian main land by air and waters via Chennai and Kolkata. A well planned Mumbai/Delhi-Portblair return air ticket (2-3 months advanced) can be done at Rs 10,000-12,000 at Air India or SpiceJet. Jet Airways’ tickets are  generally costlier by Rs 2,000-3000.

Beaches
1. Radhanagar Beach: Undoubtedly the Best beach of country and one of the Best throughout World (CNN/TripAdvisor), Radhanagar Beach is one long white sand beach with moderate to high energy waves. It's also home to World's only swimming elephant Rajan (who actually needs an appointmentWink)

An HDR view of Sunset at Radhanagar
Sunset at Radhanagar Beach


2. Vijayanagar Beach: An awesome white sands beach, with some corals that show up during low tides. Most of the resorts are along this beach.

Just another day at Vijayanagar Beach
A boat at Vijayanagar Beach

3. Kalapathar Beach: A seldom visited beach at the end of the Road. I loved this one specially because almost no one goes there and it's full of dead corals and shells (resist yourself in collecting the shells, legally not allowed to carry them out of Andaman).

A Lonely Beach - Kaalapathar
A lonely Kaalapathar Beach

4. Elephant Beach: A beach that needs a trek to reach, this is the famous for snorkelling activities.

Hotels

There are many a good options to stay at Havelock. Best is Barefoot Jungle Resort, you wont feel it's an Indian place. With a feel of somewhere in Kenya or some other Jungle exotic place this is the highest rating resort out there located near Radhanagar Beach. Its sister resort Barefoot Scuba Resort is mid-high range Budget resort. It was the place I stayed, and believe me I loved it! It's on the Vijayanagar Beach. Sea Shells, El Dorado are few other good options along Beach no 2 and Vijayanagar and also Dolphin is the Government Resort located at Vijayanagar only.

Diving

It was my first dive so I may be biased about the Barefoot PADI Diving guys and also Havelock as a Diving destination, but my experienced diver friend too confirmed that Barefoot are the Best guys for the diving and Havelock-around is one of the Best diving destinations he has ever been. I am sharing his underwater GoPro Pictures only.

Clown Fish and its symbiotic Anemone
A clown fish couple and its Sea Anemone

Andaman Bubbles and Dive India are other recognised diving centres.

A zigzag clamp
 A zigzag clamp 

A beautiful Coral
A beautiful Coral

So, now I know where to escape from the Land and from the Roads I loved to be...

Havelock is one of the Best Destinations in the Country to Escape...to Explore something new under the water within your self...Escape from the World, the Concrete and Indulge into Something rather vast and rather unknown just like your inner being...

(P.S.: All pics are shot by me, except the GoPro-Underwater pics which are shot by my close friend Triveni)

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