Great End And A Wonderful Beginning

The title explains all.  It is a short and sweet explanation of the way we ended 2008 and started 2009.  We were so busy for the last 20 months  Everything was revolving around office and work.  There was not a better way to start 2009.

Sunand was planning to have an year end bash at Andamans.  Another option for us was to go for a winter trek to Himalayas.  Considering the change that will bring in and the nature of place, we decided to go with Sunand.  oh!!! Boy!!! I must admit that we enjoyed the trip thoroughly.

All That Ends Will Have A Beginning.

29-Dec-2009:  Started late from Home; as usual.  We are supposed to Pick up Mrudul, Manjula and Snathosh from Hosur road, near Forum mall.  We reached there almost 1 hr late.  Our next stop is HSR layout, to pickup Mohan.  He is joining us to Chennai today.  Finally, we started from HSR layout by around 4:05 PM.  It was not difficult to get out of the road.  The road to Chennai is part of golden quadrilateral and we can easily maintain an average of 90-100km/hr. 

We took a small break at 6:00.  Our plan was to stop for dinner sometime after 7:30.  We couldn’t locate any restaurants on the highway. Finally, we took a detour  from NH4 to Kanchivaram.  Next, we were searching for Saravana Bhavan in Kanchivaram.  We located one, had food and hit highway again after 2hrs. 

First batch was to get down at Airport as their flight is very early in the morning. We dropped them by around 11:00PM and reached Mohan’s house.  Uncle was waiting for us.  He had already booked a taxi for taking us to the airport next morning.

You Gotta Crawl Before You Can Walk

30-Dec-2009: Got up at 3:30AM. I got a call that flight is delayed. We reached airport by 4:30AM.  Jith is supposed to travel with us.  We met him as soon as we completed the check-in. We got the information that flight is further delayed.  Finally, flight took off at 7:00AM; one hr late. 

We could see the island from the flight.  It was spectacular.  Sunand had arranged an Ambassador car for picking us up from the airport. It took 50minutes to reach the camp site. Sunand, our first batch and Xavier, our guide were waiting for us.  Our tents were allotted after a briefing and introduction.   Lunch was very simple and nice.  We were just starting to enjoy the place and people.  We took a small break and then set out for a walk in the mangroves and beach.   The place is kind of TSunami affected.  The terrain is still marshy and one can see a lots of shells moving around. 

We waited for the sunset and returned to camp site. We saw a some documentaries about Romulus Whitaker and Lakshadweep. Xavier briefed about next days plan and we retired for the rooms by 9:00PM

I must say a little about the campsite.  This place is called Andaman Nicobar Education Team (ANET).  This place is part of the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, founded in 1976 by Romulus Whitaker and few other like minded people.   ANET’s primary aim is to help ensure the long-term survival of as much of the A&N natural biodiversity as feasible, whilst recognising the needs of the human inhabitants, especially the threatened aborigines. Since little conservation work or directly relevant research has been conducted in the islands prior to ANET’s formation in 1989, the Team has found it necessary to tackle several different, though ultimately complementary, fields.

One New Year Celebration To Keep In Memory

31-Dec-2008: Today’s plan was to trek 4-6 kms and then take a bus to Port Blair.  We started our trek by around 8:00 AM after a light breakfast.  We walked through a thick marshy forest for the first one hour and then the terrain changed.  It was a walk through the beach.  It was an amazing trek and a unique one.  We all enjoyed the trek, though all of us were wet by the time we reached the bus stop.  The fresh coconut water at the bus stop was very enriching.  We reached Port Blair by 11:00 AM and headed towards the historical Cellular Jail

A Private yacht, Laxmi was waiting for us at the bay.  This has come for the resort owners girl friend.   We started as soon as she arrived.  We also ate the packed lunch in the boat along with some black tea that the boatmen prepared.  It was an unforgettable 3 hr sailing.  We reached Havelock Island by 4:15 PM.  Lolla and her friend (Resort owners labradors) welcomed us.  Preparations for the New Year gala was going on in the beach.  We decided to spend some time in the beach.  Jith suggested that we jog in the beach and that gave us a fresh energy.  What a way to end an year; a wonderful trek in the morning and unforgettable jog in the beach in the evening.  An amazing way to bid adieu to the last sunset of the year.

We took a Jeep from the resort and went to our Chicken Huts.  We are to go back to the beach for the evening party.  We got ready quickly, had our dinner at “Moonlight Cafe” and reached the party place.  It was a moderate crowd and most of them were tourists.  There were a lots of drinks and some amount of food.  Close to midnight, Xavier performed spinning fire pot and then we welcomed Year 2009 with lots of fire crackers and sparklers.  We went back to our huts immediately after that.

Life Under The Sea

01-Jan-2009:  Our plan was to start 2009 with a different note.  We are going to do snorkeling today.  First time for both Anu and myself.  We wanted to go to two spots today; one a moderate one at Henry Island and another one.  Xavier decided to take us to Henry Island for some practice first.  The sea was very rough for the small boat we were traveling.  It made worse when Mridul started moving in the boat and we were watching him so that he doesn’t move in the boat. 

We reached the island by 11:00. It was a beautiful island, more like a private one since only we were there.  We put on our gears and started practicing near the beach itself.  Coral reefs were not very far, just 50-70mts from the beach.  I felt a little difficulty in the beginning, but soon forgot everything when I started seeing the colors underneath.  It is something you need to experience to believe.  I was experiencing a live  national geographic show.   I was moving around alone and watching all these colorful reefs and fishes under the water.  Then water started entering into my snorkel.  I tried to remove it using some techniques Xavier taught us.  It didn’t reduce and then I panicked and screamed.  I started swimming towards the boat.

Boatmen had prepared a delicious lunch and presented like a five star meal.  I couldn’t resist the thrill of eating in the beach and smell of fried fresh fish.  We started back by 3:30PM.  Sea was rough again.  We decided to cancel the second place as it was already late and our return sailing will take at least 2 hrs. 

We are going for Scuba diving tomorrow.  We enrolled for Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) course and met our instructors.  We also selected our gears based on size. 

Deep Sea – You Are Missing This World!!!

02-Jan-2009:

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