Wandoor – The Gateway to the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park.

Day 5:

It’s weekend! I was up and about by 5.30 am only to find all the gals still snuggled in their blankets. I decided to be nice and let them wake up by themselves. Got downstairs to check what was going on there. My aunt was already up and the maid is helping her in the household chores. Wished her a very good morning and she was surprised to see me awake so early 😉

They both were engaged in preparing our food and all, from which I sensed that it’s going to be a big day for us. My friends took their sweet time to wake up and we all got ready. Today uncle is home, and we came to know that it’s time for a good drive down south to a place called Wandoor and he is going to join us.

Wandoor is a small village near the southern tip of South Andaman and is around 29 kms from Port Blair. It is well connected to Port Blair with a very scenic, well-paved road. There is bus service from Port Blair to Wandoor, we didn’t try though and the journey won’t be that bad I guess as the roads are in a good condition. The road journey was perfect! The route is surrounded by lush green trees of coconuts and plantations and there are many agricultural research farms of ICAR too.

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We stopped at Sippighat just to have a break from our ride and also to enjoy the scenic beauty of the place. Wandoor beach is located approx. 1 km after the marine park office. Soon we were at Wandoor beach which is picturesque; the vastness of the ocean and beautiful islands adding to its’ charm! Water is clean and the beach is quite for swimming. There are lot of natural caves, formed over decades, probably carved by fierce high tides that surround the beach.

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The beach is an ideal one to sit and relax. It is full of rocks on one side and a lot of algae on the other. Also there were many boards warning about the frequent sightings of crocodiles. There used to be a crocodile sanctuary and it got destroyed because of the Tsunami. Over a chat with the locals, we learnt that there came a lot of changes in the beach after the Tsunami.

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It was around 12.30 pm when started from there and we moved ahead of the place and found another stretch of beach which is far more serene and we settled down there for our lunch which my aunt has neatly packed. Once done with our lunch we headed back to Port Blair and stopped at Corbyn Cove’s beach, a local beach in Port Blair.

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Teeming with people and encircled by lush green coconut palms, the Corbyn’s Cove is one of the busiest beaches in the Andaman Islands. It is ideal for sea bathing and sun-basking. The restaurants in the Corbyn’s Cove Tourism Complex provide a wide variety of sea water activities and some good food. We played in the beach for some time and returned home 🙂 🙂

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Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park basically includes a group of islands around Wandoor, designated as a national park to protect the flora and fauna of that area including the marine life and coral reefs. Joully Buoy Island which is very near to Wandoor and is open only for 6 months in a year and we missed an opportunity of visiting it!

It’s going to be lot more interesting tomorrow 😉

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Ross Island – Paris of the East

Day 4:

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Today’s destination is not a new one for us, but it’s just that we didn’t see it closely. We are seeing it from the day we landed in Port Blair. Probably most of you might have guessed it correctly. Yeah, it’s the Ross Island :), an island which is in the nearest proximity of Port Blair. It takes just few minutes (around 10 or 15) to reach Ross Island by a ferry from the Phoenix Jetty of Port Blair.

DSC04860Unlike other islands, this island has an entry fee of some Rs. 20 I think, sorry for not remembering exactly 🙂 . Ross Island now being controlled by the Indian Navy requires every visitor to sign in on entering. On entering, the island made me nostalgic as it suddenly took me back to the colonial past. Ross Island, the erstwhile capital of Port Blair during the British regime, is one of the seats of British power. It now boasts of breath-taking ruins and an interesting journey to the past.

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Named after the British marine surveyor Daniel Ross, the island was known as the ‘Paris of the East’. The mesmerizing ruins of the swimming pool, printing press, club, church, Hospital, Bakery, Tennis court, Chief Commissioner’s House and other beautiful buildings provide a glimpse to all the modern amenities, the British brought with them.

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The island with historical background and preserved ruins is spread along an area of 0.6 sq kms. This island remained under British occupation till 1942. From 1942 to 1945, the island was under the occupation of Japanese. However, the allies reoccupied the island in 1945 and later abandoned it. Hence we can find some bunkers and if our luck worked out, might be some canon balls or bombs can also be seen 😉

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The island was abandoned at a later period of time as it was hit by an earthquake. And slowly, the nature took its toll on this island, as the Banyan trees engulfed the buildings thus replacing the structures created by man. The specialty of this island is all about the wildlife which we can see here. There are some hundred deers and peacocks which just roam along with us. They are accustomed to human life 🙂

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There are walkways around the island and they are paved very well. The island is filled with lots of coconut trees and other vegetation. Just a few minutes of walk to the backside of the island, we will be greeted with a fine beach which instantly attracts us with it’s splendid and vibrant colors of waters. Looking at the sea, the first thought that hit my mind was that “Had it not been the Ross Island, probably there wouldn’t have been Port Blair after the Tsunami in Dec, 2004”.

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It is this very island that had shielded Port Blair from the mighty Tsunami waves. What surprised me more is that even after the hit, the remnants remained 🙂 . The island remains closed on Wednesdays and there is a light and sound show here too, but we did look at it. Probably the next time 🙂

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Can’t wait to see you again dear Ross :), the Island 😉 😀