This is continuation of Part-3
Day-5: 24th Dec 2007
We got up lazily as there was no urge to see sunrise. At 8.30 am, we had breakfast at the hotel; it was Idly, chutney and sambhar. The agenda for the day was to cover three places Ross Island, Viper Island and North Bay. At macro level it was arranged by Subramani(YHAI), but at micro level it was one day trip conducted by Darshan Travels.
At 9 am, our TT came and took us to the ferry terminal at the sports complex(near cellular jail). From there 30 minutes ferry ride took us to Ross Island. The entry for the island is Rs. 20 and camera fee was Rs.10. Right next to the entrance you will find a Japanese bunker, built at the time of World War 2. The bunker seemed to be renovated recently, but it was looking very artificial.
Ross island once upon a time was a self reliant township of Britishers. At that time it had everything from water distillation plant, printing press, church to bakery. Now many of the things are in ruins. All the details were explained in a nice way by Sanjay(guide of Darshan travels). There was a small museum 'Smritika' in which photos of olden days were displayed. Overall I liked the place, since it had so much historical significance.
Next we were taken in another ferry to Viper Island. At the jetty of Viper island there was an old semi inverted boat, courtesy Tsunami 2004. Instantly, Mr. Bhusan named it as a Tsunami memorial. At Viper island there was an old gallow, this was used before the construction of cellular jail. At the same place Sher Ali was hanged to death. There nothing else to see in island. At one and only shop in the island, we had we had Amul strawberry milk to quench our thirst. Time was 1 pm, our next destination was North Bay. On the way, in the ferry we were given packed lunch (pallav and gravy). There were no spoons, we had to eat with dirty hands, but the experience of having food was different.
In 45 minutes we reached North Bay. The place is famous for corals. It can be seen using two ways, one by snorkeling and other by glass boat.
First we were showed a trailer in a glass boat which took us to shores of North Bay. Since it was holiday season, the place was crowded and we had to wait for our turn for snorkeling. After relaxing in water for 1 hour, we got our turn. Initially instructor asked me not wear spectacles. For the first time we couldn’t see anything. In order see properly, I put my head further inside and salt water went inside my nose. Immediately, I took out mask and requested the guide, allowing me to wear specs. Thankfully he allowed, the view got better and I was able see the corals. After this activity we took the ride of glass boat. I expected the boat to be some transparent coracle. Actually it was a normal canoe with 8 feet X 1 feet glass framing at the bottom. Anyway corals were visible from it. For me, the experience was better than that of snorkeling. In the latter one I was not able to see properly due to extra concentration on taking breath from mouth.
At 5.00 pm, at sun was almost set (which is very obvious in Andaman) and we started our ride back to sports complex ferry terminal. During return journey, I had a brief chat with Sanjay (guide of Darshan travels). While discussing about Havelock, he mentioned that there is a beach by name Radhanagar beach, it is rated as 7th best beach in the world. Well, the discussion further increased our urge to go Havelock.
After reaching Sports complex we had tea and coconut water at adjacent shops. On the way back to hotel we bought curd at Gandhi circle. After coming to hotel (bhoot bangla of course), we freshened up ourselves and had dinner. After dinner we had a walk exploring the locality outside hotel. The area was called Portanapur and bus stop name was Brijgunj Junction. Near junction there were a few shops snacks and medicines. We came back to hotel and before going to sleep we reviewed the photos and also the video of corals which Anil took while taking glass boat ride.
Day-6: 25th Dec 2007
On Wednesday the plan was to do local sight seeing. First we were taken to Samudrika, marine museum. It had stuffs such as corals, shells on display. Also, definition and explanation about them were mentioned. The last hall had information about sea archaeology; it included some explanation about Dwaraka etc. Outside the hall, in the lawn there was display of huge skeleton of whale.
Then we went to Government Saw Mill at Chattam Island. This is one of the oldest and largest wood factories. There is nothing much see in this place, except a museum of wooden items, in which items made at Chattam were kept on display.
Next in the itinerary was visit to Cellular Jail museum. Adding to our misfortune cellular jail was closed, courtesy visit of Pratibha Patil. Then we were taken to Aquarium nearby. It was a very small place. Photography was prohibited but videography was allowed for Rs.45. Since I had photographed so much of live marine stuffs in Seoul aquarium, I decided to leave my camera outside. There a few live fishes in the aquarium, while majority of them are kept in formaldehyde solution. One can skip this place if (s)he had seen aquarium abroad. For me after seeing corals previous day, a few stuffs like sea urchin, combination of clown fish and anemone looked interesting to me.
After aquarium we came back to our hotel for lunch. At 4 pm we left to Cabyn’s Cove beach. I and Suhas went into the water. The waves were very less in the beach and we got bored in 10 minutes. We came out and had shower at the bath complex, paying 2 rupees. Later we had tea at a hotel(can’t recall name) opposite to the beach.
Next was the visit to Gandhi Park. We were on the way and the music system of TT was playing the song ‘dil armaan aasuye ke sung beh gaye’. Mr. Bhusan was expecting something unfortunate to happen. Suddenly a call came to Subramani that all roads are blocked in the city and as expected something unfortunate happened. We canceled our plan of Gandhi Park and made a premature return to the hotel.
We bought snacks for next day’s Baratang trip and also curd for the dinner. At our resort(hotel) a big group of 30 people(G-30) had come from Bangalore. There were on a package tour conducted by Vivek Travels and their guide was Vinay(or Vinayaka). Suhas had long chat with him in Tulu. Vinay suggested us to go a place by name Wandoor, where density of corals is more than North Bay. We told that we will come back for details after our Baratang trip.