A day in Neil Island

Photo of A day in Neil Island by Wriddhi Bagchi

In December, I and my wife landed on Andaman, India. If every tour as a couple would be considered as a honeymoon, we might have 11-12 in total and still counting, but this story is about the first one. It was my 2nd tour to Andaman but there were small changes in the plan from the last time, Neil Island was included.

Reaching the island

After a few days of Andaman tour, we took the Makruzz to reach Havelock Island and a local ferry from there to Neil Island. It doesn't take much time to go from Havelock to Neil Island. At places, these two islands are very nearby. The closest points might be only of 4-5 km apart but the jetty on Havelock is on the other side than Neil is. So, the boat takes a round of the island to reach Neil.

When we visited, the only inter-island ferry used to touch Neil was this one. That too was the only commute in or out of the island in a day. If you miss that, you have to wait for the next day. You can understand how much isolated it is from the rest of the world.

Stay at the lagoon cottage

Photo of Neil Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Wriddhi Bagchi

The island is of very small size. As per our driver, it might be of 1-2 km in width and 3-4 km in length. You actually don't need a car to roam around here but you don't say 'no' when it is anyway in the package. Tango Beach Resort is near North-West tip of the island. We got a wonderful cottage. From the room itself, you can hear the sea and see the blue water smashing on the brown dead corals, behind the extra green coconut trees. This part of the island isn't a conventional beach. You can't swim there due to half emerged, algae covered dead corals in the water but these corals are what makes the view so special. Part of the beach is the resort's and you can be there as late-night as you want. Dead corals were so abundant there that they made the walkable part of the resort with those.

Photo of A day in Neil Island by Wriddhi Bagchi

Beach at the resort

Sunset at Laxmanpur Beach

Laxmanpur beach is the North-West tip of the island and walkable through the resort beach. It was a treat to the eyes. White sand beach start where the green line of trees ends and goes till the transparent water and scattered brown corals. We walked till the tip and stayed until the sunset.

Photo of A day in Neil Island by Wriddhi Bagchi

Laxmanpur Beach before sunset

Late night at the beach

Photo of A day in Neil Island by Wriddhi Bagchi

After dinner, we went down to the bamboo-made bench on the side of the beach. It was maybe the beginning of dark lunar fortnight. The moon came late, and the sky was full of stars. We could hardly imagine how bright the stars can be in the sky without pollution. Small waves were hitting the corals, creating a fluorescent effect and the only sound there. My camera was not advanced enough to capture that, but what was captured through eyes is still there in memory.

In the dark, suddenly we realized, there were maybe hundreds of seashells moving around and they were moving much faster than a seashell supposed to be. After little running around with a torch, we discovered, those were tiny to small size crabs of different colors, walking on the sand while hiding inside a same colored dead seashell's shell. They use someone else's nature's gift as home and you say only humans are smart!

Sunrise luxury

The beauty of scenic is, it changes itself based on the time of the day and the climate condition. Light from fresh Sun made the brown dead corals even brighter and the water more transparent. And if can watch this lying on a bamboo-made beach-bed under the shade of low-height coconut trees, that's how luxury feels.

Photo of A day in Neil Island by Wriddhi Bagchi

Best possible swing location

The resort hadn't left any chance to utilize nature's generous beauty. With bamboo-made benches and beach-beds, they also made a swing with a broken branch and this strange lady was one of the users of that...

Photo of A day in Neil Island by Wriddhi Bagchi

Coral bridge

As per our driver cum guide, this is living corals formed just like a bridge under water and during the long process of this island getting tilted, it came out of the water. I don't have data to prove or disprove this statement, but it is true that few islands in Andaman, e.g. Ross Island, got tilted during the tsunami in 2004 December and even before that. Independent of the fact how it got created, it is no doubt a wonder.

Photo of A day in Neil Island by Wriddhi Bagchi

A part of the path through the beach to reach this place comes above water only during low tide. So, there is a nature decided time limit to stay there. A word of caution, being most of the time underwater, this place is very slippery and filled with sharp pointed dead corals. We also saw nearly transparent tiny jellyfishes stuck in the leftover water on the corals. Our guide asked us not to touch those as those might be poisonous, but a so close view of jellyfishes was an enjoyable thing.

This beach is on the East tip of the island. The view here was also great but we didn't have much left for the rest of the plan, so came back quickly.

Photo of A day in Neil Island by Wriddhi Bagchi

This is the main beach of this island and is the most amazing one. It is a white sand beach with crystal clear water and the depth is only till waist even when you are half a kilometer inside the water. You can go as far as you want in water and no need to know swimming. This was the first time we came across a lagoon. We were amazed and at the same time surprised.

If a coral is really colorful, you can say for sure it is living. We have seen a variety of living corals and fishes while snorkeling. We also tried water scooter there.

Photo of A day in Neil Island by Wriddhi Bagchi

We had come out of the water and got ready in time, as the only ferry for the day was about to come and we had to leave.

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Photo of A day in Neil Island by Wriddhi Bagchi