03 January 2008

Andaman Trip : Part-2 - Still in Bay of Bengal

This post is continuation of Part-1 of Andaman Trip Series.
Also read Andaman Trip : Summary and Retrospect

Day -2: 22nd Dec 2007.

I woke at 5.30 am. The daemon of witnessing sunrise was running all over my head. After brushing my teeth, I immediately rushed to the front deck where many elderly people were doing morning walk and some were doing pranayama too. Around 6.15 am the beautiful sunrise happened and I managed capture it in my cam, the experience was just amazing to see a sunrise amidst Bay of Bengal on a ship.

At 6.30 am, bed tea was served to our cabin. In the ship there for food there was a strict time table - Breakfast 8.30 am, Lunch 12.30 pm and Dinner 6.30 pm. Looking at our punctuality on the previous day, Subramani warned us that we have to strictly follow the time table and the dining hall will closed on other times. So following his instructions, at 8.30 am we went for the breakfast. Bread, butter, jam and Uppittu(Kharabath) were served. 9.45 am we went to the front deck, had a brief photo session. Bhupathi, Senthil and Subramani joined us. At 10.45 am, we came back to cabin and played Poker. Luck favoured Suhas and Anil who were new to the game and Suhas turned out to be winner. I don’t want to be judgmental, but of all the poker games I have played so far freshers always turn out to be winners.

After finishing bathing activities, at 12.30 pm we went for the lunch. After having lunch, we came back to our favorite place i.e. front deck. This time we were allowed further ahead next to the containers. From the deck, we saw many Flying Fish. I don’t know much about its biology. This sparrow sized fish flies sidewards escaping from the water displacement of the ship. While observing the same, we met one of the fishermen; he narrated his experiences when the ship takes 7 days to reach Port Blair at the time of cyclone.

We came back to our cabin and after lot discussion we continued watching 'Dus Kahaniya’ and finished it completely. At 3.30 pm, we had tea. Then exploring the ship further, we borrowed carom board from the library by paying 200 rupees deposit. The board was good but most the pawns were of plastic, so it was bit uncomfortable. Initially, I pouched two pawns with confidence, but could not continue with rhythm courtesy plastic pawns. We played only two boards and went outside to see the sunset at 5.15 pm.

Meeting a IPKF army man

While taking sunset photographs, one army man just checked out how the photograph has come. He was an army man working for IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Forces). He narrated his experiences of his services at Sri Lanka in 1988 during Rajiv Gandhi’s era. He explained me how mistakes made by Indian army officers led to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. He also shared experiences of his recent assignment of social service at Sudan. His next assignment was at Andaman for that he was going to Port Blair.

He appreciated our enthusiasm for traveling by ship to Andaman and mentioned that it was the right time to travel by ship. Otherwise if the sea was rough there is a fair chance of getting sea sickness (vomiting etc). The discussion went further from tourist places in our country, to cultural richness of our country, to Ram Sethu etc.

Then I came to the front deck for taking photographs of almost full moon. There I met Paniappan, originally from TN, working at electricity department of Andamans for 25 years!!! Even though he was a Tamilian, his conversational Hindi was very good. My first question to him howz the electricity supply at Andaman? He replied there is no power generating station in Andaman. The power which is supplied is generated using diesel generator. The power tariff is Rs. 1.25 per unit for domestic usage and Rs.2 for commercial usage. He mentioned things have changed very much since 2004 tsunami; the government is giving more importance to Andaman. Discussing about places to see in Andamans, he mentioned about one active volcano. It takes 4 days by boat to reach that place. He also mentioned that nowadays it Andaman is better connected to mainland India courtesy cheaper air fares and modern ships. Ten years back it used to take atleast one week to travel.

At 6.45 pm, we had dinner. Since the table was full, we had to wait for 15-20 minutes waiting for our turn. After the dinner we had a brief walk on the side deck. We were discussing something loudly in Kannada. A person from a group sitting on a bench, got up and called us 'Yenri Kannadavara ?'. His name was Mahadev Prakash, he was working for Indian Air Force(IAF) at Car Nicobar. We had general chit-chat and he too mentioned about sea sickness.

Then we came to our cabin and watched the movie ‘The Bourne Identity’. It was re viewing for me, but it was a big relief after the torture of Dus Kahaniya. After the movie I read a few pages of Mark Tully’s ‘India – an unending journey’ and went to sleep.

Day-3: 23rd Dec 2007

From 3 am onwards, I got up frequently every half hour just to check the time. Finally, I got up at 5 am and had a glance outside, it was still dark. 5.30 am, I decided go out to have a look at sunrise, Anil and Suhas joined me this time. Unfortunately the horizon was completely covered with clouds. The sun played eye spice with us. It was very different sunrise than previous day, the sun rays were penetrating between clouds and all of us captured in our cams.

As previous day 8.30 am we had breakfast. It was almost same as previous day, but this time there was Idly in place Uppittu. In the dining hall, we were late by a minute didn’t get seats, ultimately had to wait for 15 minutes. We came to cabin and saw Mungaru Male movie in suhas’s laptop. It was really refreshing even thought I was seeing it for third time. Before bathing we just roamed in the deck. There Mr. Patel told us that a he saw some sharks twenty minutes back. So, we decided to spend time in the deck after lunch.

At 12.30 pm we had lunch, this time we made sure we were at the dinning hall 5 minutes before time. The lunch was pallav and some gravy. As usual dal was also part of the menu. After lunch we went to one side of deck. Myself and Ragha started reading books, anil and suhas waited and waited for sharks.

After some time I had handwriting analysis session with Mr. Patel. He nodded head for my analysis but gave me only 65 percent accuracy. Later while returning to my cabin I saw one man reading a Hindi panchanga. I asked him whether he is an Astrologer. He was basically a Kashmiri pandit but actually he was an army man. He was trying to understand 2008 Panchanga. With a little bit knowledge of astrology I was able to discuss with a few basics of astrology.

Rendezvous with a Crew member

While discussing astrology, a crew member tried to be a spectator. I involved him in the discussion. His name was Raja Gopala. After ending Astrology discussion, I had a Q&A session with him, clarifying my doubts about the ship journey.

Q. First of all, what's the speed of the ship ?
A. Maximum speed is 16 knots, usual speed is 14 knots and 1 knot = 1.82 kmph..

Q. What kind of fuel is used ?
A. The fuel used in the ship is crude oil not the refined diesel or petrol.

Q. Why the ship took so much for departing from Chennai ?
A. Actually there will be many clearances. One of the clearances will be from MMD surveyor for B certificate. They will check whether the ship has sufficient water and ration. In the port between the channel the ship is guided by pilot ship. After crossing the channel it's taken over by the captain of the ship. All these procedures take a lot of time.

Q. Who actually control's the navigation ?
A. The navigation of the ship is controlled by duty officers who work under the captain. They have to make sure that the ship is going in the right direction. From Chennai to Port Blair direction is 279 degree and from Port Blair to Chennai it is 99 degree.

Q. Why the colour of water of Bay of Bengal is so dark.
A. No idea. But because of this dark colour, the cellular jail of Andaman is infamously called Kaalapani.

While discussing I analyzed his handwriting too. He was very satisfied with the analysis and gave me 99 percent accuracy.

At 3.30 pm we had tea. Then, I went with Bhupathi to take photos of bunk class, canteen, library and laundry site. At 4.30 pm I returned the borrowed carom board. Then we took photos of sunset. Because of clouds we hardly could see the setting sun. Then we tried capture rising full moon on the east side. After roaming here and there, we decided to play poker. It was a head to head game. In between the game 6.30 pm we had dinner. Since there no proper dessert, we had ice cream in a shop next to the library. After this we continued Poker. It was a nail biting game. I won it despite being at 249 points for four consecutive games. Later we saw Aaja nachale, in a DVD given by Bhupathi. In between I went outside the cabin, to have glance ship’s movie room. There ‘Jab we met’ was being played. I came back to cabin and continued with Aaja Nachale, the ending of the movie was not there in the DVD. With partial disappointment we slept.

Next day at 8.30 am we were supposed to reach Port Blair. More about it in Part-3.


  1. Anonymous9:01 AM

    i personally liked this better than Part I. This is more informative about the sea.

  2. Great description! Vivid narration..!! Kind of getting addicted to your blog! Congrats!

    Eagerly expecting next part to see your adventures in Andaman!

  3. @spai, yeah i too agree with you, part-2 is more informative.

    @madhu, thanks for the complements. nice to hear that you are addicted to my blog! From next part, actual Andaman adventures will start.

  4. Ur Travelogue is so good. I am also from Andaman and working as a reporter in the New Indian Express, Chennai. For ur info, In India, passenger ship connectivity between Chennai/Kolkatta and Port Blair is the only such service where one feel the sea journey, due to its hours--56 hrs.
    And the jouirney can be enjoyed if travell during November and April. Post more about what you and your friends are thinking about Indian Bastile.
    Thanks for nice post.

  5. hi saran,
    thanks for dropping by my blog and also for the complements. I will be posting many more things about Andaman trip and of course about 'Indian Bastille'. Keep visiting regularly.

  6. Thanks and wants to c more.

  7. Hey me and friends are planning to visit andmams in April. Your blog is great for anyone will to travel andamans. Since we all have decided to take a Ship for port blair, all of us have just one concern which I guess you casn answer. Since the journey is 60 hrs(really long)what all amenities are present in Ship for time passing?Does it have just 1 small movie theatre and few indoor games as you specified? Please give me complete detail na as we might chuck the plan of ship if it has nothing inside it. Please do reply.

  8. hi sunil,
    nice to hear that you ppl are planning to travel Andaman. I agree 60 hrs the ship journey is really long .. 25-30 hrs would have been ideal. the amenities are not that good. the movie room will be always crowded and sound system is bad. also don't expect things such as casinos etc ... As we had carried all kinds of gadgets like Laptop, iPod ..there was no scope of getting bored.

    there are many plus points like experiencing sea breeze on the deck, seeing flying fish and dolphins but you have to bear with long journey, monotonous food.

    In my opinion you can invest 60 hrs for seeing more places in Andaman.

    In case of any other doubts do let me know.

  9. hi,
    absolutely fantastic blog. we are planning for andaman in september.. is that the right season? we can manage leave for just 1 week.. so cant go by ship..

  10. hi manu,
    thanks for the complements.
    I am not sure whether September is the right time to go there ? as per my discussion with local tour guides the season starts after mid October.

    If you have only 1 week leave, then I advise to travel to-and-fro by air, so that you can invest your precious time for seeing places in Andaman.

  11. Shande...
    Do you have any photos of Deluxe Cabin-First Class Cabin-Second class Cabin.

  12. Ranish,

    I have photos of only First class and Bunk Class. Following are the links of the snaps.

    First class cabin
    Bunk class

    Deluxe will have 2 beds and First class will have 4 beds. Not sure about second class. Bunk Class will be like usual railways sleeper compartment.