Ep - 3 Havelock Island to Neil Island | Scuba Diving | Kalapathar Beach | Andaman Islands

Ep - 3 Havelock Island to Neil Island | Scuba Diving | Kalapathar Beach | Andaman Islands

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Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. The time is 4.45 AM. We are on the Havelock Island to watch sunrise from the Kala Pathar Beach. The beach is in front of me.

These shops are closed right now. And this is the famous Kala Pathar Beach. For sunrise at Havelock Island. Please come! And I can see a lot of people already here, waiting for the sun to rise. Lovely! The first 15 minutes of the sunrise were quite exclusive.

The colour of the sky had turned golden, orange golden! The only thing we felt was if the black clouds weren't there,... ...we could have had a clear view of the sun rising from the middle of the ocean. Overall, nice experience! Look at this beach where we are standing right now. One is not advised to go beyond one or two feet into the water here. But this is no the beach where you could go very deep into the water. No doubt it is fun to be here.

See, this shop is open even at 5.30 AM. Refreshing! Nice! I felt like I should also enjoy the morning view of the Radha Nagar Beach. We visited this beach last evening. Now, we've decided to see the morning view of this beach before we return to our hotel. This soft sand is the best part of the Radha Nagar Beach.

It feels good to touch and walk on. Come! I don't intend to bathe in the ocean but generally, people visiting this beach do. Like them, see! They seem to be enjoying bouncing up and down with the waves coming in. Look at the clean water, you can see the sand beneath. This will make you realize how amazing this beach is. This is good, isn't it? Look at this.

During sunrise, the sun is right in front of us. If you reach here early, suppose at 3 PM, the sunlight will hit you in the face. But now, the sun is behind me, so I am getting a clear view of the ocean. I came thinking I'll spend 15-20 minutes here.

But the time has flown in such a way that we've already spent 45 minutes here. But now, we will have to leave here. Let us go to the hotel, get ready for the day. We left our hotel to come to the main market of Havelock Island.

Take a look at this market. It has 3-4 shops and some restaurants. In all, there are about 20 establishments in this market.

Now, we are going to have our breakfast here, at Shivaay restaurant. Before going there, I want to tell you something. Whenever you would like to travel to Havelock... ...one of your options could be to hire a cab for the day. The second option would be to take a point-to-point drop. The car in which we visited Kala Pathar this morning...

....and then from Kala Pathar to Radha Nagar Beach... ...that was where the driver dropped us eventually. For it, we paid Rs 2000 this morning. And now that we've come from our hotel to this market... ...we've paid Rs 700 charges, and there is a scuba-diving point nearby as well. A while ago, I asked the same question to an auto-rickshaw driver. I asked him what he would have charged us for our morning trip.

That clarified to me that for a Rs 700 trip in a taxi, the auto would charge Rs 400. For the same journey. This happens everywhere, so you need to have the contact number of auto driver. So that you can call him beforehand for any trip that you want to take.

This is what I've found and am sharing with you now. Come, let's have breakfast. For my breakfast, I've ordered idli-sambar.

They have also served me two different chutneys. This idli is freshly cooked. It looks and feels freshly cooked. This chutney has coconut, ginger, and chilies, but not too many, just enough to lend flavour. Very nice! Wow! See, this chutney is different! And this chutney is totally different.

It has fresh coriander, coconut, and, of course chilies but... ...the main flavour comes from coriander! What an amazing taste! They've created a combination, which would force foodies like me to order more. Both the chutneys have amazing taste! Amazing! In its taste, this sambar is more similar to the one we had in Kerala. I will repeat that this idli tasted so good with the chutney that I didn't really need sambar.

I have also ordered Kerala Parotta for myself, single, with a curry. This is white peas and potato curry. In Kerala, it is called Malabar Parotta. Various eateries serve it in different combinations. It is made of refined flour and comes in veg and non-veg combinations.

This curry is A-class in this combination. Very little spice! Absolutely simple! It just has salt and a couple of spices, that's it. Idli-sambar was very good! And I also liked this Kerala Parotta! What time do you open shop in the morning? We start at 4 AM Sir. Four in the morning! Four AM breakfast! Yes! So, if I come here at 4 AM? No, no! From 4 AM onwards, we do the preparation and then start serving by 7 AM. After 3 hours! Only breakfast! We will start serving lunch, dinner, breakfast, all meals from the next month.

Very nice taste! Thank you! Right now, we are standing near the Beach No. 2. We are here to do scuba-diving with Island Divers. Their office is right next to the beach. The nearest landmark is this famous restaurant, 'Something Different.' They asked me to fill up a form with all my details.

And they also gave us basic instructions regarding Do's and Don't's. They will take us into the sea on a boat & show us how to do things practically and... ..they will repeat the instructions there. Before we proceed any further, we have to get into a wetsuit.

You will be taking us brother? You are saying the water is even more clear during November-December? Yes, more than this. Really! Just look at this crystal clear water. The sand on the ocean bed is clearly visible. The water looks white up to a distance of 20 meters and blue beyond that. Beyond 20 meters. What an amazing thing! You might have to repeat the instructions because I am a slow learner.

I learn slower than the average guy. Hold the strap in your left hand. Just block it with your nose, and wear it like this. And put the strap on the back of your head. We have left the sea shore to go for our drive and Manoj Bhai is with us. He has imparted all the instructions to us in a proper manner.

We implemented those instructions and now everything is clearly understood. Now we are basically headed towards that point in this boat? You said it is known as 'Drive Gate.' So, it must be at least 2.5 KM away from the shore? Watching this beautiful blue water right now is a moment in itself. I don't have enough words to describe what I feel right now. The ocean is peaceful right now, no disturbance on the surface, no high tide in sight! It is low tide right now.

Let us move now. I had requested them to slow down for 30 seconds. Now, we can move at a normal speed. I will put these weights around your body. I've worn a belt that weights 5 kg. Now, please remove your shoes.

There is no left or right in these. Alright. I should push it like this? You should pull straps on either side of it. Has it ever happened that someone lost one of these from their feet? Never! First of all, we will fit you with scuba gear kit.

After kit up...no not now....we'll show it to you. We will first demonstrate its use to you and then kit you up. After the kit-up, you'll need to inflate your jacket partially.

Alright. Okay! Okay! This one! Yes Sir! Mask will remain on and you will have to keep this regulator in your mouth. And to secure the regulator and mask, we need to use the right-hand palm. You will support the regulator with your palm and use your fingers to support the mask. Support means what? Support so that it doesn't slip off.

Because we will be back-rolling into the ocean. For a firm grip, you mean! So, we use this sign to convey 'OK.' We need to use this sign? Yes! We have to. I can't tell you how excited I am about scuba diving. Please hold on to the mask from the front.

Yes! Join your knees together. Ready? 1..2..3! You can remove your hand now. Do one thing. Remove your hand from the mask.

Leave your hands by the side and take the regulator out of your mouth. Now share your experience with us. Well, for starters, I got confused about whether the dive had begun or not. This is seriously interesting! We will descend into the water slowly. You can just lay down.

Should I put on the regulator? Not yet! Beautiful experience! My life's second scuba diving experience. A successful one! Amazing! In this whole experience, if I have to list out 2-3 most amazing things, I would say this. One would be to watch the sea anemone and clownfish. That was like...ahh...amazing experience!

Watching the sea plants! Third, learning to enjoy the underwater breathing technique. Instead of feeling burdened, trying to enjoy breathing through your mouth instead of nose. I didn't feel any particular discomfort. Did you feel any pressure in your ears? To be honest, I didn't feel any pressure because I used the preventive technique that you taught. I would close my nose every 5 minutes so that I don't feel any pressure.

They were moving their tentacles. Actually, that is called Sea Anemone. Sea Anemone! Yes, the clownfish lives inside it. It contains a bit of neurotoxin.

Alright. A slight touch might cause some allergic reactions. It keeps moving its tentacles? Yes Sir! Actually, you can say It was an interesting experience. We are leaving here now. We need to board the government ferry to Neil Island at 2.30 PM.

I feel that 1.5 days that we spent here aren't enough. You need at least 2 days here so that you can visit the mangrove & do other activities too. Or sometimes, you don't want to do anything but just sit by the ocean. For some of us, that is just enough! But if you don't have enough time at hand, you won't be able to do all that you want. We are going back now.

We will have a shower once we are there. This was great! This is enough! Thanks! Sir, you also have soya sauce, chili sauce and vinegar here. You can add these to your noodles according to your taste. Thanks! This place has good ambience! Thank you Sir! We've recently updated the ambience.

You've renovated it? Yes Sir! The quantity of these noodles is sufficient for two. Chilli garlic noodles! Not a lot of chilli. Overall good taste! We saw a helipad on the way to jetty. This helipad is used only to service medical patients at present. It serves helicopters who are here to carry emergency patients to Port Blair. It is difficult for common tourists to use this helipad.

In our previous episode, I had showed you the jetty point of Swaraj Dweep. But now that we are here today, you can take another look at this place. There you can see the private ferry service of Nautica. We are boarding the government ferry, which is coming in from there.

The ferry is right on schedule. It is 2.20 PM right now and the ferry will reach here by 2.25 or 2.30 PM. In another five minutes or so, the ferry will leave for the next leg of journey. We have paid Rs 3540 for four persons for our trip to Neil Island.

While coming from Port Blair, we paid Rs 3520 for four persons. To understand how the private ferry is different from the govt one, I will have to travel on one. It is difficult to say anything except the private ferry is closed all around. This is my idea after I've looked at Nautica.

On the govt ferry, you have a chance to go out in the open and look around at the sea. After boarding the ferry, I kept seated on my chair for about 10 minutes. Thereafter, I felt like going on the upper deck and enjoying the sea journey. And look at how amazing this view is. Lovely experience! Havelock to Neil journey is about 1.15 hours long.

Talking of this journey in terms of kilometers, I asked them to convert the nautical miles.... ...into KM per hour, they told me this journey is 33 KM long. Right! We have already spent 30 minutes enjoying this journey and there are 30 more minutes left. And after that, we will reach Neil Island. It is looking amazing! We've reached Neil island.

Yes, you have. Yes, we have. Great! This guy will take our luggage till the taxi stand. Right up to the taxi stand. There is a fixed porter charge of Rs 200 for Port Blair, Havelock and Neil. You can hire them for help in carrying your luggage till the taxi stand.

Let me give you a hand as well. You can keep it here. Our taxi is parked outside.

Which hotel, Sir? We will first go up to the taxi and then to the hotel. No, I am asking which hotel? What is the name of our hotel? I forgot the name! Ahh! Royal Neil! Did you pack everything? Yes, everything is here. Alright. Let's walk together.

How far is the sunset point from here? 3 KM! 3 KM! What is the name of that place? Laxman Pur 2 Beach! Right now, we are standing outside the Laxman Pur 2 Beach. We will just need to climb a few stairs to reach the beachside. One thing I've noticed here is that this entrance isn't like that on other beaches. We can see some dead corals on the beach. Here, we've met Abhijeet, who guides the tourists.

Tell us something about these dead corals. First, I will tell you why these corals become dead. It is a sea plant, right! And it dies if taken out of water. Alright! It continues to live only if it stays at one place in water for 24 hours.

Okay! It is low tide right now and it has just started converting into high tide. This area will get immersed in water soon. Till what level will the water rise? It will rise up to that sandy area from where we walked down.

Oh! Till that level! And the water won't rise suddenly. It will do so gradually. See, this is an alive 'Shankh' (conch shell) Right now, it is fixed to the surface of dead coral. But during high tide, it will start moving.

Really! It has an animal living inside, which grows this shell. Oh! Great! Come, let us walk further. This is 'Spider Crab' and it is different from other species of crab. It camouflages itself according to the coral on which it is sitting.

Just like a lizard! It changes its colours according to the corals. Living corals are generally more colourful. So it changes its colours accordingly. See, right now, its colours are similar to those of the dead corals. How fast can it change its colours? Sir, in not more than a minute! What do you call this crab? Spider Crab! Spider Crab! Yeah! Everyone needs to follow the same route Sir. Ok?

Okay, so you've come to visit the bridge, which is your main destination. Yes! There you see a rock formation, which is also a natural bridge. There was a huge boulder basically, which was one. It broke off in the center and a natural bridge was formed. Please come! If you look here, you won't feel the water filling in. Yeah! But this place has water already.

This is the reason you see live corals here. None of these corals has a scientific name. They have got shape-wise names. These are Honeycomb corals! The pores in these corals open and close with the bright sunlight. The water here is also crystal clear.

It is because the live corals keep purifying the water during these 24 hours. This is the reason this water is absolutely clean. You have to walk through this water. Never before have I seen live corals like the one I am seeing here.

Put your step here to move on. Where? You see this coral? Yes! Now, we have reached the fish feeding point. You will see many more live corals here. Come on! Okay, do you see the colourful corals down below.

These are collectively called Poly Flower Corals. Because all these are shaped like flowers. Live corals are also home to small fishes. The corals become stationary during night.

You will find thousands of fish here. You can see different species of fish here. This coral is different from all the corals that you've seen so far because... ...it is the hardest and it is covered in a leopard-like pattern overall. One is not allowed to touch live corals. Touching the corals is illegal because these take months to grow.

Each coral takes time to grow, in fact, Sir, this coral grows only an inch in 7 years! Really! Yes! As you can see Sir, not all corals are colourful from the beginning. Firstly, a coral is made with the bacteria found on the fish, algae, and sand. But this process takes up a lot of time. Today, the sunset isn't clearly visible because of the clouds. No Sir, it isn't.

But still, where is the sunset? Right here, in front of you, people watch sunset from this point as well. This is where the sunset happens? Yes, right behind these clouds. Do those islands have a name as well? Yes Sir, it is Port Blair. This in front of us? Yes! This is Port Blair. Oh! Come to this side, Sir. Let me show you the deepwater creatures.

This is oyster shell, Sir. If your finger gets stuck in it by mistake, it can't be released. It closes very tightly and can bite off the finger. See, if I take my hand closer to it, it will turn white. Did you see Sir? What just happened? Because it can sense something passing over it. So, it tries to bite, look! What you see in the distance is Port Blair island.

It looks quite closer when seen with the naked eye. Yes, it is close, but the ferry takes lot of time. The island though looks quite close. On its right, you will see the Havelock Island. We took 1.15 hours to reach from Havelock, which is looking no more than 6-8 KM away. Now we need to walk faster because the tide is increasing.

We will walk in this direction. Sir, come to this side. This line of trees is that of Sea Pineapple.

Its fruit isn't edible. But earlier, the tribals of Andaman used to eat its fruit. See, Sir, this is sea snail.

Alright! These start moving around during high tide. Apart from that, they remain stationary on the surface. Due to the day-long sunshine, algae has grown on its surface turning the surface black.

Otherwise, its natural colour is white. This is known as the laziest animal in the sea, Sir. It is called Sea Cucumber.

It moves from one place to another only with the help of tides. Besides, it remains attached to the coral. Do you see the thorn-like things coming out of its body? It excretes poison through those since it is quite poisonous. If you walk around here without slippers, you might feel itching on your skin. This is another live coral, Sir, Brain Coral! It looks exactly like a brain. And it has not been disturbed in any way, Sir. It continues to grow like this.

Low tide is the best way to visit here. Although, you won't enjoy walking here during a full low tide. Because watching these creatures in shallow water is an experience in itself. During low tide, you will feel warmer. If you keep walking in, at least, knee-deep water,.... ...you will continue to feel cooler and also enjoy watching the marine life. Yes, you are right, during low tide, the coral....

You will be able to see everything, which is not possible during the high tide. Please be careful while putting your step down in the water. What is it? These are tree leaves that are blown away into the water, where they decompose. Besides this, you won't see any other thing here. Because we clear up daily. The only reason to have tourist guides here is because we don't want to destroy marine life.

We keep it safe and protected. The most difficult to preserve is the live corals. As long as live corals are safe, we are safe.

Because corals stop the onward movement of sea waves. That is the reason we have guides here. We have reached the resort. This is where we are staying tonight.

I am standing outside the room. Let me show you around. Our luggage is already in our room, which is the one with its door open. The tariff on a double occupancy basis is Rs 3000, including breakfast.

Tomorrow morning's program would start with watching the sunrise. After that, there are two more famous sea beaches here. Those are called Laxmanpur and Bharatpur. Then, we'll explore more if we have time because we also have to reach Port Blair.

While booking online, we were unable to get further bookings. We weren't getting tickets to go to Port Blair for the next 24 hours. So, we had no choice but to leave this place at 11 AM tomorrow. So, we are in Neil Island only from 4.30 AM to 11 AM tomorrow. For now, I am saying bye to you here. Thank for your time!

2023-12-17 18:57

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