SATURDAY 28 JANUARY 2017
SATURDAY 28 JANUARY 2017
28 January 2017 Chidiyatapu, Andaman Islands
The internet coverage on the mobile phone network is absolute rubbish. We were unable to pick up any emails when in Port Blair, so I was pleasantly surprised this morning to find that we had a good enough connection to download my back log of 200 emails. I’ve been subscribed to a Hallberg Rassy Yahoo Group and I receive about 20 emails a day about postings, which was interesting when I had a good connection, but it has blocked any other important emails, so I’ve unsubscribed from it.
The main reason that I want access to my email is that it’s the only way that we can download GRIB files now that we can’t use our satellite phone. I was relieved to be able to obtain a GRIB file and the weather looks to be good for the next seven days with light 10 knot NNE winds.
After sorting out our admin, we made some sandwiches and went ashore. The tide was in, so it was easy to chain our dinghy to a tree at the high water line. Walking along the beach we came across a very sturdy net, which encloses a swimming area that is protected from crocodiles. There’s a life guard on duty overlooking the area. There’s a notice board saying “Swimming not recommended” and says that the most recent sighting was 3 months ago, so that’s stopped us going snorkelling.
The area behind the beach has picnic tables and seating and looks very organised. We walked north out of the beach area along a narrow road leading through very pretty forest with huge trees and then along the seashore. After a mile, we came into a small village where we were surprised to find a “Biological Park”. It was only 50 rupees (£0.50) per person, so we went in to have a look.
We spent a pleasant hour wandering around the place, which is shaded and has various enclosures with local wildlife, including saltwater crocodiles, wild boar, monitor lizards and deer. The enclosures are very large and natural, which is good for the animals, but makes it very difficult for us to see them. We didn’t see any crocodiles, but there were some huge Water Monitor Lizards, the wild pigs were amusing and there’s a herd of beautiful “Bambi” type deer.
There are informative display boards and we found some interesting information on the indigenous native people. I hadn’t realised that there are six different tribes living in the region who have completely different languages. The tribe who lives on South and Middle Andaman are called the Jarawas and are the only ones that we have any chance of seeing.
After leaving the Biological Park, we walked a little further north through the village and came across a beach with two dive centres. The first one was closed up, but the second one is called Lacadives and is run by a guy called Nigel, who speaks excellent English. He charges 3000 rupees (£30) for a dive, so we’re going to do a two tank dive with him, in a few days when we come back north.
We walked back to the beach and joined a well-worn path at the south end of the beach, which steadily climbed up through forest to the lighthouse on the headland. There are some impressive cliffs on the east coast. It was a pleasant two mile hike (there and back).
By the time that we returned to our dinghy, the tide was very low and we had to drag the damn thing 100 metres across the sand to the sea. Fortunately, the sand was hard packed, so our dinghy wheels worked well. Back on Alba, we risked a cooling swim around the boat and collapsed.