Andman is a famous beach destination, but tourists ignore the other aspects of these islands. These islands also hosts thick jungles which gives a feel of a typical Mediterranean feel. Sunlight needs efforts to reach earth. Every tree requires extra efforts to absorb the energy from sun and grows tall. While making plans for Andamans, tourists should explore beyond beaches. Though jungles doesn’t host exotic wild life, but trees itself makes it worth visiting.
Nomad’s Nomadism from deep inside Andmans…
As mentioned at the start of earlier chapter, to soak in Andman’s life, you can’t just touch and feel the core of it. One can not judge Andamans’ natural beauty and go gaga about it like every tourist does. Live here for few days, the real Andamans in the true sense. This holds very true, when you are from a megacity like Mumbai or any other part of the world, like Europe or US.
I was ready for Andamans much before I planned it. Limiting my needs. If anything essential is not available, don’t crave for it, just live without it and you will get used to it. On the first day, I saw the common toilets and had thought of asking for upgrade, but as soon as couple of days passed by, I got used to it because they were clean and why do I need toilets for whole of 24 hour? Its just required twice or thrice in a day, so why crave for it. Save that money and utilize it somewhere else.
When I got used to my accommodation, I started exploring beyond that. I had to utilize my time for quite a few days of stay till mid-July and not just laze around.
Targets were set for next 20 days to achieve some goals while staying in Andamans. First was to start writing pending blogs. Next one was to explore Havelock and if possible to get some inspiration to write and share experiences. Last but not the least conduct a beach clean-up drive where I live. In Mumbai, had joined for a beach clean-up activity and felt the dire need of taking he task in hand. At the beach, next to my stay, saw plastic thrash littered around, so I spoke to the owner and decided to start with the help of few diving buddies and backpackers who were staying around. This was to keep myself busy and avoid attending parties and also to stay away from booze. I also had one more target was to keep myself fit by starting long walks or cycling which a recently made friend who had promised to let me use his cycle.
The exploration of Havelock materialized immediately from next day.
I had heard in my earlier visits and from my Mumbai friends about it’s beauty so I decided to visit Elephant beach which is the only center for water sports in Haelock except scuba diving or lotsa driftwood on beach. Some years back, there were some elephants in this part of the jungle. Now, there is only one left, but it’s tied up. Sometimes, they let him loose in the night though. It was also known for its reef which is very close to the shore, which hence made it a good spot for snorkelling. Also, this beach was accessible by boat and by a short trek through the jungle whereby twin objectives to be achieved.
Since getting up early was never a problem for me. In Havelock or rather in Andamans as mentioned earlier,
sun rises at 4.30 and so did I. Elephant beach trek starts from a certain point on Radhanagar, for which you can take a jeep or bus from Havelock no. 3 market area to there and request driver to drop at that point.
It doesn’t matter whether you reach early morning or afternoon as the sun doesn’t hit you at all. A nice 2 kms walk in the jungle – a mix of ascend and descend on a broad path and it’s well covered by giant trees leading to a mangroves area. Though there are small boards at the start and end, BUT A word of caution here. If you get lost in the jungle, its very difficult to come out as there are no marked paths, beyond certain point. There have been few cases of people getting lost and found after 24/36 hours, dehydrated, exhausted and lack of food. The Jungle plays with your mind when when you are unsure. To make it completely sure, you can take a guide from the starting point who will charge you, Rs. 500 per group.
Once you reach the Mangroves, it’s a sign that the Elephant beach is getting closer. A 8 to 10 mins walk into mangroves will open up literally to a heavenly place. It’s a perfect example of nature’s magical play with a turquoise colour sea reaching to touch the blue sky. I am sure, wall Paint companies have perfectly named a colour taking an inspiration from the sky.
Here one can connect with human relations of sky and ocean, as tied with a bond of a thread called love which is the horizon. Sky plays a dominant part, While sky changes colour and the ocean reciprocates but changing to a seamless blend of colour, too.
A long stretch of Elephant beach is the only place you can go for water sports activities in Havelock, though the facilities are available in Port Blair’s Marine park also by travelling by boat to North Bay Island.
For swimmers and snorkelers, this beach is paradise as the reef is almost right next to shore. Various kinds of corals –soft and hard, Groupers, scorpion fishes and more can be seen right from surface, if you are a snorkeler. Unfortunately, when I reached, swimming and snorkelling was closed because of an NRI’s death due to Cardiac arrest couple of month’s back. A silly example of how Government authorities treat an accident without judging it’s actual root cause.
I was told by couple of guys about Turtle beach as well which is very close to and accessible only from Elephant beach and one can swim with turtles. Unfortunately, entry to that beach was closed.
Elephant beach also has an identity. Driftwood. Logs of various kind of old trees drifted in from the ocean onto this beach. You can look at every log and play with your imagination about it’s resemblance to some or other form, you have witnessed in your life.
Keeping myself fit was another goal, I was toying with. Sooner the long walks stared to Kalapathar beach which was about 4 kms from my place. A little more exploration led to a short trek to a small hillock nearby. From the top of the hillock was the view, one could die for. An open expanse of blue sea in front of you with forest around. One thing I noticed of the Andamans jungle was that it is mystical and takes you to a pre-historical era. If you keep your mind open, every tree has a story to tell you via ahissing sound of wind passing through it with a story to narrate of its birth and growing to more than 50 feet or above. A vast expanse of tree trunk transforms you to ‘Lord Of the rings’ movies forest. Let your imagination go wild to hear the story.
Explore and experience Andaman’s exoticism through my view and lens..
Links of other Andaman’s blogs:
Nomadism is nothing but a perception of looking at the world from different angles.
Here ends my second part of Andmans stories from Nomad’s Nomadism.
Feel free to share your view point