A Fond Memory…. Part I#Islandlife

Photo of A Fond Memory…. Part I#Islandlife 1/1 by Vineetha Sanjay

When I got onto the low flying Dornier from Cochin to Lakshadweep, I was too skeptical as the crew handed over a packet of wafers and sandwiches as I entered. Once Inside, to my surprise it was a 14-seater flight with just 4 other occupants. Wow almost felt like a privet jet owned by Gabato’s luxury tours (ref: “Journey to the Mysterious Island”).

The 1 hour 20 mins flight took off and my skepticism turned to pure apprehension. The aircraft was flying considerably close to the India Ocean and there was just blue expanse all around…that is when I realized, even in November, the seas can be quite choppy.

But I remember the pilot being a very cheerful person and he was constantly on his microphone.... jovially imparting interesting trivia and facts about the quaint little island which was our destination. Started with, “though called ‘Laksha- dweep’ it’s a group of 36 islands surrounded by natural coral reefs out of which only 11 are habited. Bangaram is the only island which has liquor permit, Agatti is the only Airstrip in the whole of Lakshadweep and Minicoy is the largest island, it is closer to Maldives than from India and the locals call their sea the Laccadive sea”… and the trivia continued…

Also read: kavaratti islands

After almost 1 hour into the flight.. we passed over a small island.. as I was sitting in the aisle seat, I was straining to get a glimpse of the sand pit… and in came the voice of the pilot again. He told us that the island that we were passing by was called the Petta Island – It was a very unique island as many exotic birds come to lay their eggs, due to its strategic location. This uninhabited island is surrounded by beautiful coral reef on all sides with a small passage where the lagoon meets the sea. Hence, this coral reef island is protected by the India Ocean from all sides making it impossible for any ships or boats to come close to its shores. The entry too is very small for any kind of vessel access. But, then too humans find loopholes. As boats cannot stop at the mouth of the lagoon, the invader has to jump into the ocean near the opening and swim into the reef and reach the island, illegally collect the eggs and swim back and wait for the boat to go round of the island and then return to pick the trespasser again. We were just picturing the scenario, when the our pilot said we are arriving.. we again looked down to see an Airstrip.. the entire island looked like one strip jutting out in an vastness of pristine blue waters…as he was saying this.. the aircraft was flying away from the strip, and I almost felt confused whether I was looking at the same island he’s mentioning, as we were supposed to land on Agatti… then the most unexpected thing happened, the aircraft banked sharply by 90 degree hurtled towards the landing strip.. as the land came closer.. the landing strip became narrower.. and at the landing position the wings of the flight were literally above the blue waters, it was almost like landing on water… wow ! that touchdown was indeed an experience of the lifetime.

The mesmerizing Lakshadweep tales in Part II… very soon