And-a-Man snorkeling adventures

Turquoise waters and laid-back attitudes are high on the appeal-factor of the Andaman/Nicobar Islands. The questions one asks oneself in these surroundings amount to things like “is it really worth it to get out of the hammock to order chai?” And, “which beach should I got to today? The one in front of my cabin? That happens to be acres and acres of ankle-deep, crystal-blue, bath water littered with coral reefs and fluorescent fish, or should I commit to a scooter ride through jungle paradise to the beach with easy surf, on the other coast of this island. Or wait, it’s pizza and beer night at this one great cafe I know of, but I feel more like fish curry from the canteen around the corner. Should I read this book, or that book. Should I got to the dance party at coconut grove or take moonlight photos of the palm trees and search for turtles coming to shore to lay eggs.

These photos were taken the day we decided to strain ourselves and go on a two hour boat ride to a remote island for some snorkeling. It was a very, very loud and small boat, with very stinky diesel. One guy was constantly bailing water, which wasn’t entirely reassuring. The owner of the place we were staying told us later that he was once on one of these boats a few hours out to sea and the engine just stopped working. They had to get in the water and swim to shore, pulling the boat.  Fishing boats. Not tourist boats. But  hey, this is India, anything is possible.

The fish were beautiful, but the coral in a lot of the Andman’s has bleached this past year, making the snorkeling somewhat desolate. Like the fish are swimming around a giant graveyard. A few years ago I did some snorkeling in Hawaii, and the coral was amazing, the way it interacted with the fish, turtles seaweed etc. Symbiotic. Not here.

I wish I could tell you all that this place really sucks, so that I could come back next time and it would be just as perfectly uninhabited as it is now, but really, this is the best tropical wonderland I’ve visited, and I’ve seen a few.

Signing off for the day in this ten-minute per page loading innernet cafe, Darshi Steeves at the helm, of this crackerjack living I’m trying to make for myself.

[slideshow]

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