6 January 2011

While we were in India we took a week's vacation in the Andaman Islands, primarily to indulge in some diving. We spent most of our time on Havelock Island, which is a couple of hours by ferry from the main centre at Port Blair. Here's some scattered things to share from our experience.

  • The diving was good, but not as good as we've had in Saba. Visibility was rather low and the coral had been bleached by warm waters a couple of years ago. That said it was still a fine diving experience with lots of life to see. (Other divers who had been there before had had better visibility, so we were just unlucky on that front.)
  • We did our diving with Dive India, one of the operators on Havelock Island. They were one of the best dive operations we've been with - both friendly and well-organized. Firmly recommended should you be looking for some diving in this part of the world.
  • Dive India is attached to a small resort, which was booked up long before we made our last-minute plans. It's backpacker-style and fellow divers were happy with it. We made heavy use of the restaurant, Full Moon, which gave us a good range of food during our dive days.
  • Since getting around India can be a bit of a hassle, we worked with a tour operator - Welcome Andaman Travels - to sort out hotels and getting around. We were not happy with their service and do not recommend them. (Yet another reason to continue with our usual preference for independent travel.)
  • On Havelock Island we stayed at the Silver Springs Resort. It was ok - clean and simple. It's on the other side of the island from the main block of resorts. As a result it didn't have a beach (not a problem for us) and was in the middle of Indian farms rather than diver-land resorts. While that was nice, it was a 20 minute bicycle ride from those resorts, which made getting around a bit tougher - particularly at night. As a result, if we were to do this again, we'd prefer one of the resorts in the main resort area.
  • We spent a day or so in Port Blair, which doesn't have much to recommend it. However a high spot was the trip out to Ross Island, which used to be the main government centre in colonial days, but the colonial buildings are now ruins being spectacularly reclaimed by epiphytic plants. Well worth a couple of hours.