Hello Havelock!

Andaman has been an ideal destination for honeymooners. It has been on the list of top spots when it comes to the Best Honeymoon Destinations in India. Perhaps the credit goes to the Island of Havelock. Yes! Havelock Islands is the home to beautiful white sand beaches and offers serene landscapes and water front’s like no other place does. This is the reason why the honeymooners in India still consider it in the many options and choices available in the country.

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Beautiful it is.

Yet again we had to make up early. This is one thing that I hate the most! I’m on a vacation and I expect life to be a little different than the usual routine. Back in my maritime college, the cadets were to wake up at 0530 hours and proceed for Physical Training which involves lots of running followed by n number of exercises. And now I’m in Andamans and I was forced to clear the bed by 0500. We were to board a ship from the port in the city.

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The Phoenix Bay Jetty

The Phoenix Bay Jetty is situated in the city and is home to all merchant vessels which are responsible for trade and commerce. The Jetty is the boarding point for the ones who want to visit Neil or Havelock Islands. We had our tickets in hand which were booked prior by Mr. Ravi (Tour Manager, Contact: 09434261219). The tickets for Havelock Islands are sold out within minutes. It is advisable to ask your agent/tour manger to get the same booked as soon as you land up in the city. There are private as well as government ship operators which provide connections to Neil and Havelock. Being the off season (August) the private operator (called as Makcruzz) was closed down and the only available option a government run ship.

The tag ‘Government’ automatically lowers the standards and gives me a bad impression of what so ever even before I see it. Anyways, the ship that we had to board was called ‘M.V Jollybuoy’. We were booked in the only available option of seating lounge. One needs to spot his vessel and then proceed for boarding. As we stepped inside the ship, we were greeted by the Chief Officer of the ship who also checked our tickets. He later on transferred us to the seating hall. The so called seating hall had three rows and seats faced opposite to each other. It also had a television set which was cleverly hidden in one of the compartments. The hall seemed more like my seamanship class room with lots of safety boards and demonstrative visuals. Good enough! The ship departed right on time at 0630 and that is when I got to know that we can go on the bridge.

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Sail!

 

Within a few seconds, I was accompanied with my dad to the captain of the ship. Being a small vessel the ship had a few controls and the navigation panel was small. The captain of the ship was proudly sitting on his wooden chair at one corner of the bridge. It seemed that he had nothing to do with the operations of the ship as he was calmly enjoying his early morning cup of tea along with newspaper in his hand. I had a good talk session with the captain and then was when he introduced me to the Chief Engineer. Being an Engine Cadet, I was more interested in the Engine Room rather than the bridge. I was happily accompanied by the Second Engineer who showed me the Engine Room and the rest of the vessel. It was a proper merchant vessel with a standard crew. The ship also had a small galley and accommodation cabins. I was then invited by the Chief to his cabin for a rendezvous session. It is said that whenever the men from the navy unite, they completely forget the world. True that! Our chat session lasted long enough and the Chief shared his experiences which thoroughly motivated me.

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The Officers on the Bridge

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The ship.

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Just a few more months, and I’ll be out there…somewhere.

The journey lasted for two and a half hours and in no time we reached Havelock! I waved off the crew and de-boarded the vessel. Connections to Havelock are available after three hours from the Port Blair Jetty. Every subsequent ship that arrives at Havelock departs after a period of half an hour. We were welcomed by our driver who was arranged by our tour operator. He had to drop us to the Radhanagar beach. If you don’t get a taxi hire by your operator in Havelock, then go for the auto rickshaws. They charge a petty amount and drop you to your preferred beach. Havelock has a few beaches and out of the known are Kalapathar Beach, Elephant Beach and Radhanagar Beach. The last one is included in the list of the world’s top beaches and therefore we had to head to the same. The beach was a few kilometres from the jetty and it took half an hour to reach the same. In the way we found a good number of hotels and resorts. Havelock doesn’t have anything in particular except the beaches. Overnight stays however are good for honeymooners and beach enthusiasts. We were to board the 1530 hours ship for Port Blair which gave us more than six hours in hand.

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The beautiful huts

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Crystal Clear Waters. No crowd. What else can I ask for?

The first reaction on seeing Radhanagar beach was like ‘Wowwwwwww!’. I had just arrived and a mere look at the beach is what made me fall with it! Let me describe what Radhanagar beach was like. The place was super clean and had a handful of tourists. Radhanagar beach was guarded by police officials who were also responsible for the safety of the tourists. Next to the beach was a famous hotel chain which provided accommodation in beautiful huts made of bamboos and natural products. The place was serene and calm. The view of the blue sees was amazing and I had never seen such a beautiful shade of water. The sand was perfect and was near to white. Radhanagar beach also had tourist huts made completely of bamboos. Radhanagar beach is not for the ones who are looking for some action. The beach doesn’t have any facilities for snorkelling, scuba diving or boating.

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A widescreen landscape of the beach

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Lush greenery was a treat for the eyes.

Everything was just the way I wanted to. It felt as if the place was just not on this planet. P-E-R-F-E-C-T holiday destination. As I write these lines, I find myself lost in the picturesque beach and just want to fly back to the place. Radhanagar beach finds a place on the ‘Top 10 Beaches in the World’ list. And surely it proved itself! Every time I pointed my camera I found something unique to capture. As my family was busy playing around with the waters, I decided to walk around the beach. The long stretch of sand attracted me and I wanted to go till the very end. As I progressed I found out beautiful landscapes on the right and the turquoise coloured waters. I also found a tree house which was the property of Barefoot Andamans. The view from up there was as beautiful as it could get.

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Yeah! Yeah! Its me! :)

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H-A-V-E-L-O-C-K Lust!

On reaching the end, the moment I turned back I was amazed to look at the beachside. On my return, I found out a foreign couple who was busy playing around with their kids. Everyone seemed to enjoy to the tip. The elders were busy gazing the landscapes, youngsters were having fun in the waters and the rest of the crowd (including me) was either clicking photos or was playing in the sand. Trust me, of all major beaches in India be it Goa’s Candolim Beach or Trivandrum’s Kovalam Beach, nothing was at par Radhanagar. Radhanagar was just out of this world.

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The very end of the beach.

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Family Portrait.

Radhanagar beach is clean. The washrooms and change rooms are maintained and one can feel it. The place has plenty of dustbins. The entire place is eco friendly and administration as taken good care of the environment. Anyways, we left the place by 1400 hours and we were at the central area after some time. It was time for some good lunch! We hopped in a good restaurant and enjoyed our meals. The prices were reasonable and contrary to what we expected. Soon we heard the ship’s whistle and we boarded our ship on time. The return voyage was a long one as this time the ship was to go via Neil Island. We were booked in bunks and it was a comfortable ride. It is advisable that one should not eat something heavy as due to the ship’s rolling and pitching, vomiting is very obvious. Half of the people in the ship vomited due to the ship’s movement in the high seas. Ahh! I was to see this all my life and I was proud that I could stand it all without vomiting. : )

We were at the Port Blair’s Phoenix Bay Jetty by 1800 hours and were picked by our driver. Evenings in the city are quite dull. You really need to think of what to do and where to go. Each day we passed through the main market and spend some time shopping. Perhaps, the best one can go in the evening is to sit back in the hotel/resort and enjoy. Signing off for now, but not before another quick fact about the Islands!

Did you know: The city of Port Blair employs all ladies as their traffic police officials during the day time? The same are replaced by men when the sun sets.

4 Comments

  • My first reaction seeing the photos is also Wowwwwwww! You have written your travel story so beautifully, I will remember it for long that’s for sure and of course I will revisit your log on this series before I go there.

    My comment on the photographs are “Better than the best”!

    Before I end here, I wish you all the best in your life sailing anywhere!

    Thanks, Naman!

  • Nandan Jha says:

    So now we know a little bit more about the ship. So there is something called ‘Bridge’ and then a ‘bunk’ and then ‘Engine room’ and so on. When possible, help us learn more on these thing by explaining it further :-)

    Waking up at 5 during a beach-vacation does sound hard but then you can not complain if you are headed for this beautiful a beach. Radhanagar with such a simple name, outwits every other beach is what I could guess, after reading your post.

    Thank you for sharing this Naman.

    One of old and close friend drives oil vessels and last we met, he was telling me that unlike a passenger vessel, cargo vessels have very very few staff and this small group (say 6-9 ppl) are there for many days and no other soul to see. I can’t wait for the time when your work takes you to far away lands and we get to read your stories.

    • Naman says:

      Hahaha! Aye Aye Captain. More Maritime English is sure to follow.
      Exactly sir. The Havelock experience was worth the early departure.
      Yes, a cargo vessel has a crew of about 20 people out of which 6 guyz look after the engine, 5 are on the bridge (navigation crew) and rest include the helping hands and galley crew. Just three more semesters…and I’ll be there on the waters! :)

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