Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Thrill of Snorkeling

"How to explore the mysterious underwater world?"
"By Scuba diving!" (what is Scuba- click here for a picture story)
"What if I am scared of diving?"
"Then try snorkeling".

We the Naval veterans decided to do snorkeling at Elephant Beach in Havelock Island in Andaman archipelago India. See the map below.

Speed boats ply between Havelock jetty to Elephanta beach. Charges: Rs 750/- per person. It includes a short complimentary snorkeling. Max 5 passengers in one boat. First boat leaves at 9 AM. Boat ride takes 15 minutes. You get two hours at the beach for all the activities you wish to do. Same boat brings you back. So, if you start early, you are back by lunch at your hotel.

If you have little more time, you can trek to Elephant beach and back. Nice one hour trek either way. But a guide is essential. Contact the tourism desk at Havelock jetty. I wish I had little more time to trek it!

We were the first set of tourists that day. So, on hearing the announcement from Boat Operator's Control Room, the boat operators ran to their respective boats. Soon, we boarded our boats and cast off.

We reached the Elephant Beach in quick time and anchored. With out-board motors (OBM) folded up, we de-boarded in shallow waters. 
Forest department welcomed us with a sign post.
Yes, we brought back all empty water bottles and any other trash. Implementation at its best.

The Tsunami in 2004 had caused heavy damage to Elephant beach. Some of the uprooted drift wood trees are still there on the beach as a mute testimony. But it adds to the beauty of the beach and provides a ready backdrop for taking pictures.

It was time for action. Water scooter, glass bottom boat and of course snorkeling. We did it all. Pictures of water scooter first.

As young Naval officers in 1970s, we all bought two wheelers as our first vehicle. So, scooters hold a significant place in our life.

Focus now reverts to snorkeling where our story began. For those not fond of water, it may be a bit scary. But few minutes into the water and then you love it! Pictures.

If you feel like seeing the marine life 'live' in a short 4-minute video, click the link below. Video was part of Rs 1000/- fees for snorkeling per round. I remixed it with the banner and music.

 Most of our group members did snorkeling. More pictures.

After one round, Neeta and Vinita were so excited that they wanted to do another round. This is how they looked after the second round of snorkeling.

Those who chose not to enter the water, could view the marine life from a glass bottom boat. We also took a ride. But frankly, it wasn't a patch on the thrill we got doing snorkeling. Rs 600/- per person for a 15-minute glass bottom boat ride is not worth it.

One activity which we could not do was 'Sea Walking'. May be the next time in Lakshadweep we will do it.

All good things must come to an end. Before we realised, our quota of two hours at Elephant beach was over. Time to return.
Here is a 20-second video clip of our return boat ride.

Next story will cover Radha Nagar beach famous for spectacular sunsets being on the western face of Havelock Island.

Bye till then.

   -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with inputs from Gipy and Neeta/ 11th Oct 2016

Postscript: Links to all the ten stories of our visit to the Andamans in 2016 are given below. Just click to browse.

Who were the travellers? - FFA Friends forever asli
Port Blair and its attractions- Kaala Paani, Corvyn's Beach
Sailing to Havelock - weather permitting
Thrill of Snorkeling- Elephant Beach
Kalapathar Beach- Where you discover yourself
Radhanagar Beach- Where the Sun goes down in a blink
Ross Island- Ruins with a story and incredible sound and light show
Chidiyatapu- Where the birds find you

Thanks again.

     Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Neeta Bhargava/ 30th Dec 2016

#Portblair #andamans #islands #cellularjail #ffa #ghumakkadharsh #ghumakkadhb #havelock #elephantbeach #radhanagarbeach #rossisland #scubadiving #snorkeling

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