The temptress that is Andaman !

6th May 2014
Photo of The temptress that is Andaman ! 1/8 by Aarthi Ganesh
Finding Nemo
Photo of The temptress that is Andaman ! 2/8 by Aarthi Ganesh
Mysterious South Button island
Photo of The temptress that is Andaman ! 3/8 by Aarthi Ganesh
Hey There! Whats up?
Photo of The temptress that is Andaman ! 4/8 by Aarthi Ganesh
All OK signal when diving
Photo of The temptress that is Andaman ! 5/8 by Aarthi Ganesh
Aerial view of one of the islands of the arch
Photo of The temptress that is Andaman ! 6/8 by Aarthi Ganesh
Henry Lawrence
Photo of The temptress that is Andaman ! 7/8 by Aarthi Ganesh
The picture perfect Radhanagar Beach
Photo of The temptress that is Andaman ! 8/8 by Aarthi Ganesh
Barefoot's yummy food

There is a bewitching draw to the Andaman Islands. That is why I call her the temptress. I fell in love with the island's enchanting landscape -the azure water and white sand and myriad colorful life underwater the first time I set foot there. Now the second time I went there, I fell in love all over again. The sea is simply beautiful at whichever angle you care to view her from. And if you think that is all there is to it, wait till you put on a snorkel mask and see the life beneath you come alive - almost magically. We took a boat to South Button Island and snorkeled in the shallow waters near the alluring caves. It was like seeing the animated movie "Finding Nemo" come to life - the colorful parrot fish , the shy lobster, the ominous sea snake, the bubbly jelly fish, the colorful corals, the chubby sea cucumbers, the awesome giant clams, the mysterious squids, the pretty star fish, the majestic lion fish and many more ! Now diving is a completely different experience. If, like me, you come from a fast paced city life and you have forgotten how to breathe, diving just teaches you that. Breathe in; breathe out; get rid of your fears; live in the moment and take in the beauty around you. Overall the day is relaxed and laid back. You get great inexpensive food (especially if you are a sea food lover like me). My itinerary was as follows- take a flight from Chennai/Kolkata to Port Blair. Take a boat ride from Port Blair to Havelock Island. I would recommend the government ferry because it allows you to stand out in the open and see the vast expanse of the beautiful Andaman Sea and we chanced upon a fleet of flying fish! If you take the Makruzz, you will get all the creature comforts but miss out on the natural beauty. Stay close to dive centers as diving/snorkeling expeditions start early in the morning. I have snorkeled at elephant beach where you swim out to the sea from shore, South Button (a mysterious rock in the middle of nowhere) and Henry Lawrence (an uninhabited island that is part of the marine national park) and dived at beach no. 2 and all of them were excellent. I booked my stay and expeditions with Barefoot Scuba Dive Center at Beach no. 3 which is in a central location and allows you to explore the island with ease. If you are looking for luxury accommodation book with the secluded barefoot resorts at the exclusive Radhanagar beach (they are 2 different resorts run by the same company).I have stayed at both their properties and loved both.  They will do your entire booking end to end from flight tickets, airport drop/pick, boat transfer and everything in between for you. Their dive center is very professionally run. David, our snorkeling instructor, has an amazing knowledge of all underwater life and is a joy to snorkel with as he can point out hidden treasures that we would otherwise miss out. You can also book everything yourself online. We stayed at Chaukhat Homestay in Port Blair, which is another little jewel for the tired traveler. Simple and amazing! So pack your bags and find this laid back enchanting little island literally in the middle of nowhere. Get ready to fall in love with the temptress. Many a soul keeps coming back for more and many a diving instructor narrates the story of how he/she came back to live in the island for good !