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Andaman - Day wise itinerary

We went to Andaman for five days and six nights and at the end of it, we still did not want to come back J If we did not have to join back office (and pay back the huge credit card bills from the wedding), we would have happily stayed back more or do what our scuba instructor did, he came to Havelock as a tourist but stayed back and became a full time scuba instructor there. Yes the place is that captivating and charming.

        And even more charming are the people of Havelock (actually whole of Andaman). They are sweet and down to earth and very helpful. They are very soft spoken but will not shy away from giving you the whole information and the best virtue of them all is that they love their land. They are extremely environment conscious. They know that the flora and fauna on the land as well as in the ocean are their treasure and are quite protective about it. So the beaches are super clean and you don’t see plastic or litter strewn around anywhere. The beautiful people and the beautiful place truly won our heart J

Here is a quick day wise schedule of what we did:

Day 1
We left for Chennai from Bangalore in a late night KSRTC bus.

Day 2
We reached Chennai early morning around 5. Go Air flight from Chennai to Port Blair was at 8.15 AM and we reached Port Blair at 10.30 AM. We were picked up from Port Blair airport by Barefoot Resort person and whisked away to their guest house called The Nest, where we could keep our luggage and freshen up and hang out while we waited to take the ferry to Havelock island (we opted for the Govt. ferry at 2 PM, there is a private luxury ferry called Makruzz too). The Govt. ferry was quite good; we were quite awed to be on a proper boat. And the minute we were on the deck, we hit totally another level of awe struck. The vast blue spread of the ocean with white waves rippling through and the occasional sighting of flying fish and sea turtles was a sight to behold. We reached Havelock around 4.30 PM after a journey which almost put to rest all our doubts regarding Andaman and gave us confidence that we did make a good choice after all J. Again at Havelock dock, we were picked up by a Barefoot representative to take us to the resort which was around 11 kms from the dock. So we reached Barefoot with buoyant spirits and boy we were not disappointed. It was exactly (in fact better) the way it was in the pictures. Tents and cottages and the restaurant nestled amidst a forest lit by the golden glow of the setting sun with the roar of the waves on the beach in the background and we felt we were in paradise. After a quick introduction and check in (and a quick victory jig), we dashed to the beach to see our first glorious sunset in Andaman (sun sets very early in Andaman, around 5.30 PM only, so early to bed early to rise should be your mantra :P). It was so so so unbelievable as there was not even one person on the entire stretch of the beach and after the sunset, it kinda became little spooky later with pitch darkness and the roar of the sea (in going with the eco-friendly philosophy of the resort, there are no lights to light up your pathway and all you have to find your way around are two torch lights given to you at the time of check in). Post sunset, the only thing you can do there was hang out at the bar and the lounge, which is pretty awesome. They have live music performances sometimes and the food there is unbelievably good and cheap (so much so that we stuffed ourselves too much actually :P). A starter called Devilled Vegetables is highly recommended for vegetarians. Also watch out for the infamous local chilli in the assorted vegetable pakora unless you want to go through the roof and take tour of the Havelock skyline (Puneeth who prides himself as a spicy food eater had steam coming out of his ears :D). The restaurant also has a low seating arrangement with mattresses and we felt so much at home with the hospitality and the good food J

One of our new friends at the resort

The mystical forest of gigantic trees between the resort and the beach

Day 3
We woke up early to catch the awesome sun rise at the beach and discovered that day started pretty early here. If you want to do scuba or snorkeling, one has to inform them so that they can book you at the Barefoot Scuba (another Barefoot resort with cheaper cottages and tents and almost forty minutes from the main Barefoot resort). A van transports guests from the main Barefoot to Barefoot scuba free of charge at 6.30 in the morning. If you miss that, they will arrange a cab for which you have to pay. So the first day we figured out all this and obviously missed the free transport. None the less they managed to get us in time to Barefoot Scuba for our first snorkeling trip to Inglish Island.  The boat ride to the island itself was so exciting and breathtaking that when we spotted the island with its clear white beach and turquoise water, we just kept staring. Once we reached, we quickly acquainted ourselves with the scuba gear and David (our scuba instructor) took us on this amazing under sea journey that everyting else in the whole world kind of obliviated for us. The water was crystal clear and visibility was excellent which enabled us to see a wide variety of fishes and coral. It is so beautiful and amazing down there that you are in awe of the creator, so many types of fishes and coral and flora and fauna, it becomes overwhelming. The best thing is snorkeling can also be done by non-swimmers, you just latch yourself on to a buoy and the instructor will lug you around :P. After more than an hour of snorkeling near the coast of Inglish Island, we headed back to the coast for lunch (yummy pasta was packed in hot boxes J). We then trekked through the island and explored the beach for a while. Puneeth made friends with a fish (he claims to have saved the fish from dying!) which just would not leave him and followed him wherever we went in the beach. It kind of spooked me out actually :D. The best part of the beach in Inglish Island was that there were hardly any waves, it was like a big natural swimming pool. The place was so serene and so blissful. Other than our boat, there were no other people on the island (a total of 6 other people other than us). We were just far far away in a paradise and I just wanted to stay there forever…

 Puneeth has still not forgiven me for spoiling this pic :D

Our snorkeling group

 Check out the beach!! (dont check out the guy :P)

 L: Game from the sea, R: Puneeth's fishy friend

Day 4
We went to Tamarind Bay and South Button Island trip for scuba. With the splendor of Inglish Island still fresh on our minds, we thought nothing could surpass it, that we had seen it all. But we were so wrong. Scuba at Tamarind Bay was out of this world. I will have to admit that initially I was a bit scared of scuba and was flustered with the pain in the ears due to water pressure (nothing to worry about, the instructor will be with you throughout and they teach you a way to neutralize the pressure by blowing your nose while holding your breadth). Again visibility was excellent and we got to see landscape and the sea floor and the fishes from quite close. Many times we were caught in the school of fish and it was just amazing. Scuba was followed by an amazing, super delicious lunch at the coast. This time it was more elaborate. Roti, rice, dal, papad, non veg curry and veg curry. The veg curry was just so yummy that even the non vegetarians and foreigners attacked it J. We goofed around the island a bit and then headed towards South Button Island. Why is it called South Button Island? Well it is the perfect description of the place. It is just a button shaped piece of land jutting out of the ocean with no coast. The visibility here was so amazing that you could see the sea floor several meters down from your boat itself and it was quite scary to just jump into the water even with the life jacket on. We planned to skip scuba and go for snorkeling here instead as the visibility was so good and snorkeling is more pleasurable, in scuba you have to keep a lot of things in mind and you can’t be free. So we were back with my favorite instructor David who took us all around the island, that’s right we snorkeled one whole round around the island. Here we spotted much more variety of underwater creatures including a water snake which came charging at us (and I screamed underwater!). It was so much fun spotting them and David would keep coming up and telling us about the fish and pointed to all that was there to see so that we did not miss anything J.  After a long and tiring day we reached back, and spent a relaxing evening at the bar and the restaurant stuffing our faces J. Ahh pure bliss…

 All aboard :)

 Feeling strong after the sumptuous lunch

 Solitary reaper :P

Underwater sights :)

Day 5
We decided to take it easy on this day. Had a nice yummy complimentary breakfast at the restaurant. The hot-hot puris and idiappams were being gobbled at an alarming rate. We followed that by a walk on the beach and bonded with the in house pets (two Labradors). After a late lunch, we went for an ayurvedic massage which was quite relaxing. Barefoot also had a small library and I picked up a book and we went to the beach to spend some more time there lazing….doing nothing…Post that we went to Barefoot Scuba on the two wheeler we hired on the previous day after the trip. We frolicked in the beach and then lazed on the hammock, stuffed our faces again and the day was over…

Hula Hoop time :) (check out the awesome lounge and the bar)

Chilling *smug*

Day 6
We decided to explore Havelock on this day and went to the main market area where Barefoot Scuba is there. We took the two-wheeler and went to explore a beach called Kala Pathar Beach (true transalation - Black Rocks Beach). It was a nice drive and it was fun zipping through the fresh air along the coastline. We had lunch in a restaurant called The Wild Orchid where the pasta was yummy. Then we headed to Barefoot Scuba to laze around on the hammock where Puneeth slept like a log while I read a book and took his funny photos :D

Haste haste kat jaaye raste :)

Everything is so picturesque *sigh*

Day 7
Had a hearty breakfast and bid farewell to Barefoot Resort with a heavy heart. We were booked on the 11.30 AM ferry and we reached Port Blair around lunch time. We were put up at The Nest at Port Blair which was arranged by Barefoot itself. We wanted to visit Ross Island but due to bad weather all boats were cancelled for that day. We actually did not mind that and just took a walk around. We did not go to the Central Jail also as somehow we were not in a mood to do anything touristy. We just wanted to soak in the beauty of the place for one last time. We explored the local market a bit and got a few souvenirs for friends and family. You get a lot of stuff made out of shells, key chains, ear rings, show pieces etc. also a lot of things carved out of wood are available. We got a magnificent Shiva bust carved out of a tree root. For going around in Port Blair, you can just flag down an auto. Their charges are nominal, quite a contrast from the ever demanding auto guys we are used to back home in Bangalore.

Bye-bye Havelock (so grumpy to leave :D)

Day 8
Return flight from Port Blair to Chennai at 11 AM. From Chennai we again took a KSRTC bus back to Bangalore. Back to blaring horns and stench of pollution and loud noises and litter and basically opposite of what we experienced over the past few days. Sigh…if only vacations lasted forever…

Psst: Detailed information about how and how much coming soon :)