Monday, 20 December 2010

The Andamans – wow!

The chain of islands that make up the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are situated 1000km east of mainland India and rightly so feel very remote. Several areas within the island chain are still off-limits to tourists and are inhabited by various indigenous tribes living relatively untouched by modern development. Now cutting to the chase the Andamans, Havelock Island in particular, are truly stunning.

As the trip continues to draw to a close our transportation seems to be getting less and less reliable (much more to follow in another blog post) and late on the eve of our flight from Chennai Tom nipped out to the internet cafe to check emails, he returned with the words “We have a serious problem”. Kindly Kingfisher the airline we were due to fly with had sent a one line email notification along the lines of “Passenger please be aware your flight has been re-scheduled from 1040 to 0400”. Bearing in mind this was less than 12 hours prior to departure and the flight had been brought forward to the middle of the night we got onto the phone to Kingfisher to get to the bottom of it. After three phone calls of “absolute” reassurance Tom firmly asked the customer service officer to double check with his manager as we wanted to be 100% sure we weren’t going to miss our flight by arriving at 9am for check-in. True enough the flight time had changed. So a slightly stressful start to the final 10 days of the trip but once we arrived on Havelock and saw where we’d be spending our time all stress eased away...

Literally our first view of Havelock's beach no 5 situated right behind
where we were staying
I could say how we island-hopped to explore the archipelago, snorkelled everyday and trekked through the jungle to spot animals unique to the islands, but frankly we didn’t. Instead after 15 months on the road, we dug our toes into the sand and lay back to relax! That said we did manage to muster the energy one day to scuba dive around a couple of cool dive sites.

Whilst in India I’d come across an article online about the Andaman’s swimming elephants. One afternoon whilst sunbathing on what TIME magazine rates as Asia’s best beach (it was very nice) I spotted a large slow moving creature in the distance, Tom and I looked at each other, grabbed the camera and Flip and sprinted down the beach to catch Rajan (the local trunked celebrity) in action.

We went to the Andamans with the aim of a relaxing finish for the end of our world tour, we certainly achieved it. The islands really are a tropical paradise, largely untouched by commercialised tourism and populated with very friendly locals. We couldn’t help but think what a brilliant way to finish our travels!

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