Kavaratti, Lakshadweep #IslandLife

Photo of Kavaratti, Lakshadweep #IslandLife by Wriddhi Bagchi

Kavaratti island was part of our 5 days/4 nights Lakshadweep trip by ship. We were spending the whole daytime at the island and were coming back to ship by evening and travel to the next island by this ship during night time.

It is a very amazing feeling when you are on a deck of a ship at night with the sky above filled with thousands and thousands of stars and the mighty ocean at the bottom, with no land probably in hundreds of kilometers in any direction and no other light around. You feel small, you feel helpless, but you feel enlightened, wise and lucky. All your life's problems accumulated doesn't stand anywhere in front of this. The waves created by the ship shows fluorescent white color in the moonlight, and it hits back the ship and smashes on its body. The more you concentrate on the sky, the number of stars you can see. Eventually, the sky looks to you as a black velvet paper losing its color and becoming partially white in multiple places.

On the island

Photo of Kavaratti, Lakshadweep, India by Wriddhi Bagchi

Normally, I am a late riser and when it comes to Monday, I don't even wake up till I am about to miss my first meeting of the day. But while on a trip, I dismiss alarm before it rings and never misses the sunrise. This day was not an exception. I woke up before 5:30 am and went back to the upper deck. As it is quite west in Indian time zone, the sun was yet to get ready to rise, but the moon was done with its part of the job for the night, leaving the sky with even more stars than last night. Sunrise happened around 6:25 am. I and my wife enjoyed the sight from the back deck sipping our tea. By that time, a small piece of land became visible on the horizon. This was the first sight of land after we left Kochi last afternoon. Gradually the land came closer and become an island, Kavaratti, our destination for the day.

Photo of Kavaratti, Lakshadweep #IslandLife by Wriddhi Bagchi

After we were done with our breakfast and got ready with wearing life jackets, the public announcement system started requesting the tourists to proceed to the embarkation door. This is a huge ship and can't go to the islands as the islands are surrounded by lagoons and coral reefs. So, small boats do that part of the job. The ship remains floating on the deep sea near the island and it opens the embarkation door on the 2nd floor, which is on the body of the ship much closer to the water level, and you have to kind of jump on the small boat. In a nutshell, you are moving from a huge floating thing to a small floating thing, sequentially smashing to each other and both are waving in their motion. And you are going to do this stunt in the sea. Scary, isn't it! Not, because there are well-experienced people, who are doing this task a hundred times a day, helping you from both the sides and anyway you are wearing a life jacket.

The boat took around 15 minutes to reach the island. SPORTS' person was at the jetty and guided us to the beach resort which was a 5-minute walking distance from the place. The complete white sand at the beach and the color of the lagoon water were sufficient to make us mesmerized, the coconut water welcome drink made it even better. After having the drink and taking some time to feel the beauty of the place, we started for the glass bottom boat ride. This was included in the package. We have been to the glass bottom boat in Andaman also but living corals are much more here. Other than different types of living corals, we could see different kinds of fishes and living big size seashells and all.

Photo of Kavaratti, Lakshadweep #IslandLife by Wriddhi Bagchi
Photo of Kavaratti, Lakshadweep #IslandLife by Wriddhi Bagchi

Once back from the glass bottom boat tour, the next thing on my list was scuba diving. When you don't know swimming, you feel more sensitive to the water and feel like water is always planning to drown you. On top of that when you have the spouse who knows swimming and love to be in the water as much as possible, you feel s/he has also joined the conspiracy. My wife's story is mostly the same. Though she took part in all the other water activities in our earlier and this trip, even with my multiple efforts of encouragement and instructor's confirmation about no requirement of knowing swimming wasn't able to convince her for scuba diving. With no option left, I went for it alone. I did multiple adventure sports earlier, but this was my first try for scuba diving. The instructor gave a brief overview of the process initially and there was a short training too. Once one felt comfortable with the training, they were headed to the scuba diving location which was a little far from the beach. Scuba diving was an amazing experience for me. There is quite a difference between watching something and living it. In scuba diving, you are living the undersea life for some duration. You feel like a fish, who is breathing, watching and living underwater. You are not frightening them with the waves and sound created by the boat, not making them live in a small aquarium for your drawing room beauty. You are visiting their home and meeting them in their comfort zone. The fishes were so comfortable, some of them were watching me floating (and might be thinking in mind, 'I haven't seen a hippo in this region earlier!'). One of the small fish thought my finger as its food, tried to snatch it and got disappointed. Seashells were very introvert though and tried to close its door when I knocked it. There were plenty of living corals and other organisms living on them. It was a 15-20 min tour but enough to make you awake at night thinking about it. The instructor took some snaps and a video too during the diving.

Once back from diving, we spent the rest of the time before lunch in the water itself. What a crystal-clear water it is and smooth white sand it has. The sand of the beach was white and smooth like Maida flour. The main sea waves were smashing far, far from the beach at the coral reef. In the next 2 days, we realized, that is true for all the 3 islands we visited. The lagoon at the white beach is calm, quiet and clear like an enormously spread amazingly beautiful swimming pool with water of different shades of green and blue. You can swim till how far you want with no effort.

Like always, we were late to come out of the water and getting ready for lunch. Buffet lunch with veg and non-veg options were getting served inside shade on the beach itself. The food was good, especially when you like Kerala type chicken curry and tuna fish.

Photo of Kavaratti, Lakshadweep #IslandLife by Wriddhi Bagchi
Photo of Kavaratti, Lakshadweep #IslandLife by Wriddhi Bagchi

The second half of the day was planned for a local fish museum visit and folk dance at the beach. I was not in much favor to leave the beach to go anywhere but you never know what you are going to miss unless you visit the place. After reaching the fish museum we realized, I was right this time and we would have stayed back at the beach itself. Anyways, the best way possible to correct that was coming back on the first trip back to the beach, and we did so. For the next hour or so, we just relaxed sitting on an easy chair under the shade of a coconut tree and was grasping the enormous scenic beauty. At four o'clock the evening tea and a local sweet snack, kind of a version of Bengali 'puli pitha' wrapped in banana leaf, was served. Independent of how well-do one is, I have observed the basic nature of most individuals. When free food is served, everyone wants to have it as early as possible and as much as possible, and ready to stand in a big queue for that even if heavy lunch was served just 2 hours back. I am in a plan to serve poison someday for free to do the same experiment, I am sure I will observe the same result. Anyways, the organizer was having enough food for everyone and we got it even after all hungry ones are done with their fighting. Local folk dance was getting performed by a few kids on a stage at the same place we had our lunch. The local population is 99% Muslim, the songs and dance were mostly Muslim marriage related songs. To be honest, we haven't enjoyed that much and focused our attention back to the beach and the lagoon for the rest of the time.

Then the time comes we had to leave this island and start for our ship. The announcement started to request tourists to get ready with life jackets on and start to board the boats to the ship. The goal was, while coming to an island, start from the ship on the first boat and while going back, having the last boat. I was successful in that aspect in the case of this island. When you are at a place like this, you never want to leave, never want to say goodbye, but when you know 2 more islands are waiting for you in the next days, you somehow convince yourself. All our effort and money invested in this trip already got satisfied by the ship's journey and Kavaratti island visit. Whatever was coming next was a bonus for us, and be with me, the bonus was even higher and higher than the worth.

Jumping back into the ship from the boat was as exciting as the other way around. Back to the deck, getting fresh for dinner, back to deck again and to bed is how whatever time left on the day was spent. Our next island Kalpeni was not much far from Kavaratti. So, the ship was kind of resting for the whole night other than a few hours it sailed.

Other than the memories, we also got tuna fish pickle from the island and tremendously sunburnt faces. I mean, the whole body was sunburnt but the face was mostly visible in the mirror and alarming us most. I was not even able to touch my forehead and nose due to burning sensation.

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