India 2: Andaman Islands and SCUBA fun

After leaving mainland India, we flew for two hours to reach Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman Islands, which are located off the shore of Myanmar. Even before we touched down, we were treated with an aerial view of the Andaman, and I can tell you, we weren’t disappointed 🙂

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a chain of Indian islands which are still very unspoiled and un-touristy. We had booked a stay at Dive India on Havelock Island for 8 days, including a dive package. So when we landed, we took a catamaran to go there at Havelock Island. And it is beautiful! We had our own little cabana, and could walk to the beach at only 100 meters away. Too bad we still had the Delhi Belly…

Fortunately we could still dive, and so that’s what we did twice every morning except on our anniversary. We went to a different beautiful dive site every day, accompanied by the best instructor at Dive India, Tanuj . Our best sites (excluding our last diving day) were called Johnny’s and Dixon’s, which house huge schools of fish. And I mean big! We saw barracudas, trevallies, fusilier fish, tunas, napoleon fish… you name it. At the other dive sites, we also saw many types of coral, sea creatures, and again fish (also many colors of lionfish, tunas, and marlins!).

We also went on a night dive, which was pretty exciting. We saw parrot fish sleeping in a bubble of their own mucus (done to mask their smell to predators at night), as well as many crabs, lobsters, mega hairy starfish and just generally sleepy fish 😉 Then near the end of our dive, we spotted a banded sea krait, a highly venomous (but supposedly harmless due to short fangs) sea snake common here! Then came the literal highlight of our nocturnal adventure: we turned our flashlights out to be surrounded by complete darkness. Then, we started to wave our hands around. Suddenly, all around us, the ocean lit up! We were activating the yellow-greenish bio luminescence of plankton by stirring the water. Words lack to describe how beautiful and breath-taking this spectacle was. Imagine small particles all around you lighting up, in an otherwise pitch-black environment.

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On Joske’s birthday, we went to a far away Japanese ship wreck, 90 meters long. Since this was our last day of diving for our Advanced Diver course, we could now also swim through some semi-open parts of the wreck, which was really nice as it gave you a lot of sneak peaks into the deep interior of the ship. But you have to be careful. Going out, Joske nearly swam into a perfectly camouflaged scorpion fish resting on the wreck. We also went to ‘White Rock’ that day, a unique dive site in the world which has many large white coral fans. Imagine an alien underwater forest and you’re close. Near the end, Jan-Henk and the instructor thought it would be funny to close Joske’s cylinder. You should have seen her face when she ran out of air to breath. She went straight for her alternate, which was obviously connected to the same closed cylinder. We quickly turned the air supply back on, but funny it was 🙂  All in all, it was an amazing last day of diving.

Thinking about it, we didn’t even mention the island above the surface! All around our cabana and the ‘resort’ there were coconut trees. When we opened our cabana door the day after arrival, we saw a fresh coconut ready to drink/eat laying right in front of our feet! So of course, we asked to have it opened, and enjoyed our very own free fresh coconut juice, followed by snacking on the white coconut meat. Yummy 🙂 Talking about food, they have amazing sea food at Havelock. We had lots of tuna, snapper and shrimp, at great prices.

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The island in general is not very large. We rented a scooter for a day (originally to get some very necessary antibiotics to finally exterminate the Delhi Belly germs), and decided to explore the island as we had the scooter anyway. We went south and discovered an amazingly beautiful straight-out-of-a-magazine pearly white beach with crystal clear waters. Nice 🙂 After spending the morning there, we later went to the other side of the island to watch the sunset on the beach. This was the only place where we encountered also Indians taking a holiday. As most of them couldn’t swim (or had no bathing suit), they just go partly into the sea with all their clothes on, a weird sight to observe. Anyway, after a way-to-quick sunset, we scootered back to our comfy cabana and hammock.

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We came as tired travellers, and left as tanned advanced divers. We are now allowed to dive to a maximum depth of 30 meters, and are certified to use Nitrox too 🙂

Time flew by, and before we knew it we already had to take a government ferry (with complimentary cockroaches) back to Port Blair, from where we flew the following morning to our next destination.

And so, we left India, and 10 percent of our body weight, behind. Via a short layover in Chennai, we arrived in Kuala Lumpur, where we are now. We may post some Gopro footage of our dives in the near future if we find the time to edit it.

For now, cheerio!

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