The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a breathtaking archipelago located east of India. It is also my next exotic destination as I will work as a scuba diving instructor there for a while. As mentioned in my diary in earlier posts I have a friend there who own a part of a diveshop on the beach that was voted the best beach in Asia in 2004 by Time magasine. When I was offered to come and work at Barefoot Scuba and meet up with the owner Jeremy Zay Blake (Jez) and my friend Wayne Blairs who work there as a videographer I accepted right away. I had several other offers for work over most of the world, also some management positions, but I have always had a small dream of diving in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and to meet up with my friends again.
For you guys who do not know to much about these islands, let me see if I can help you out. They are spread out over more than 800 kilometers in the Bay of Bengal, and looks like the perfect tropical dream. The less than 300.000 inhabitants have 572 islands at their disposal, covered in dense forest and white beaches. The Andman and Nicobar islands are the perfect place to go scuba diving, hiking or camping.
Port Blair is the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. It is the only town of size and has the same atmosphere of any lively Indian market town. Except sniffing the lively atmosphere, you can visit the Cellular Jail. This is a large prison built by the British in the early 1900’s. It still gives a powerful impression of the terrible conditions the prisoners, mostly Indian freedom fighters, were held. It is now a monument to those freedom fighters and had and excellent Sound & Light show, both in Hindi and English. Other sights in Port Blair are the Marine Museum, the Anthropological Museum, and the Chatham Sawmill.
A visit to the Mahatma Ghandi Marine National Park will be an unforgettable experience. You can view the spectacular coral reefs and other life forms through glass bottom boats, SCUBA-diving and snorkelling. The park covers an area of 281.5 square kilometer and encloses open sea filled with coral reefs and as many as 15 islands covered with mangrove creeks and tropical rainforests.
Port Blair can be reached from Calcutta and Chennai in India by air and from Chennai, Calcutta and Vishakhapatnam by sea. Foreigners need a special permit to visit the islands. This can easily be obtained in Port Blair, but only grants access to a limited number of places and islands in the Andaman area.
So there you have it, doesn’t it sound like a perfect paradise on earth? I really do look forward to visit the islands and be able to teach people how to scuba dive in that environment. Accommodation will be extremely basic and I am not sure what to expect food wise, I got a feeling that it will be very basic but hopefully tasty. There will be no Internet for the while I am there and I have been made aware of that the mobile telephone network is very unstable as well. So I will be very isolated with good friends and nice customers. Not a bad set up at all I belive.
It do mean that my site will not be updated until I am back again sadly, I hope my friends and other readers will check out my site from time to time to check when I am back again. I also seriously think about going home to Norway this summer and build up a normal life again. As I get older and the job marked in Norway I should consider going home before it is to late. The good part about me going home is that my site can be updated more often as I will get a stabile and fast Internet connection. So I can finally upload all my photos.
(This post is moved from an old blog I had, and is written originally in December 2007)