Thursday, 21 June 2012

Andaman and Nicobar – The Emerald Islands!! (Part 2 – Havelock Island)


Havelock IslandHavelock Island is the largest of the islands with an area of 113.93 km2 which comprise Ritchie’s Archipelago, a chain of islands to the east of Great Andaman in the Andaman Islands. Havelock is situated 57 km North East of Capital City Port Blair. The island is named after Henry Havelock, a British general active in India during the colonial era. The island’s current population consists of Bengali settlers. The Havelock Island is one of the few places that the government of India has permitted and encourages tourism development, with a focus on promoting eco-tourism.
havelock jetty viewed from ferryThe Aberdeen Jetty at Port Blair has regular government run ferry services run to the Havelock Islands and these are the most reliable & cheap way for travelling to the Islands. Alternatively, one has the option of privately run catamarans or boats, which are also comfortable, however, much more expensive way to reach Havelock!!
The ferry ride to Havelock is very enjoyable, with cool winds, amazing views of the ocean and far away islands on the route. One can sit for hours on the ferry deck, watching the lovely scenery. It takes around 1.5 to 2 hours to reach Havelock depending upon the ferry service chosen.
The Havelock Jetty is totally basic and one gets the feeling of landing on a remote island, the only difference is that there are already some people on it!!
Beach  <a href='http://blog.theotherhome.com/tag/2'>#2</a> - Havlock IslandThe Havelock Island is sparsely populated, but equipped with all basic facilities. The main attractions of the Island are the pristine, beautiful white & golden sand beaches and dense virgin forests. There are a total of 7 beaches on the island and eco resorts have been built along side them. The beaches have been given a numbering system instead of names, although some names like Radhanagar are in popular use. The arrival port/jetty is at Beach #1, the junction at the center is Beach #3 (aka Govind Nagar), the junction near Dolphin Resort is Beach #5 (Vijay Nagar) and so on.
coconut trees viewed from hammockHavlock IslandGovind Nagar is the main “town”, is small and has only a handful of shops and shacks. The resorts are mostly grouped along the road from Beach #3 to Beach #5. From the ‘junction’ near Beach #3 a road veers off to Beach #7 (Radhanagar Beach), which is also the most beautiful spot on the island.  While on the island, the best way to get around is via rented scooters/bicycles as the island is very safe to travel with very friendly & helpful locals. Bicycles, scooters and motorcycles are available for hire near the center of main town centre(i.e. Govindnagar) or inquire at the local guesthouses/resorts. Generally, geared motorcycles are available for Rs 200/day and gearless scooters (Honda Activa etc.) for Rs. 250. If you intend to hire for more than one day, then bargaining can bring down the price further. Petrol is available at some of the shops in the market or and at Petrol Pumps (there is only one petrol pump in the whole of the island!!).
Full Moon Night - Havelock IslandHavelockOne can spend days, if not weeks beach hopping; lazing around on the beaches or snorkelling or scuba diving. Each beach in unique in its beauty. However, Radhanagar Beach (Beach #7) is the most beautiful on the island and was rated as the best in Asia by Time in 2004. It’s silky white sand surrounded by a forest that provides welcome shade looking out over turquoise waters, some stretches with a sandy bottom good for swimming and some with excellent coral reefs that are great for snorkelling – a great combination indeed. Sunsets here are often spectacular and it’s a popular time to be at the beach. The full moon nights at the Radhanagar beach is famed for its spectacular beauty. Scuba diving is probably the biggest activity on the island other than lying around beaches and eating great seafood. There are 3 PADI certified dive centers at Havelock which provide all types of diving excursions. Snorkeling is also popular, with several options at the various beaches. And if one has had enough of the beach, jungle trekking is one of the “different” activities one can try out while on the island.
havelock islandIf you are enjoying the beach bummer’s life at Andamans but have had enough of the Havelock Island, then no worries; head to an even more remote island – The Neil Island!!
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