Sailing off


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Last days in Port Blair - post by the capitain

Leaving very early in the morning from the port.
If it wasn't for the modern boat in the background this would look like
a scene from a time long long ago.

Tinks and I went on a land trip a visit to the Jarawa tribe.It involved a long car trip attached to a convoy through the heart of the Andaman Island.First part we saw the devastation on the west side of the island caused by the 2004 tsunami.
2004 tsunami damage was rather extensive and only now the area
 is starting to regenerate slowly.All who lost their houses in here were treated
 really we. They were provided with a new brick home food and electricity.
That continues until now.

Then after after joining the line and having our passports inspected we were allowed to travel through native lands (in convoy)to the top of the island where we caught a car ferry to local caves.
The line to convoy which starts only 2 times per day

Robert getting friendly with the local cow

A quick milk tea before the trip

People come in cars and bus loads.
We had a reasonably good car and it was a bone breaking journey.
These people would have suffered greately. Hopefully they were going one

And there is place for business everywhere.
Some deep fried food in an old newspaper is the only way to go here.
Deep fries is good with all the amazing  amount of dust.

The convoy with police in the front middle and back.
Past this point photography was not allowed.
We did see jarawa people bfore this point and must say that they are
rather beautiful
We saw their bags little huts the have built here and heard them.

The Jarawa natives are very protected and photographing them is strictly prohibited. Many of the areas are restricted actually. It is a must do be prepared for dust and grim and begging cows-that's right at the assembly point to start the convoy be amazed by the local cows that follow you and beg for your food.
On the other side of the Jarawa reserve we took a ferry to caves.
Now that was an experience. The pushing crowds DUST goats amazing.
Let's say an experience
Begging cow won. The men on the right was having his meal and she
wanted it. So she pushed and shoved and he got engry gave her his food
and left.

This was not enough for our begging cow so
 she decided to begin the waiting cars.
A professional!

Lunch at the local restaurant.A better one where our driver Ravi took us.
All washed hands in one bowl and time for food it was.
With greatest respect I really wonder how our stomachs managed all the
very different bacteria and survived. We never had a problem.
At the end of our Jarawa eperience we had a late and fantastic cofee.
With grit in our teeth dust in on the lids and smiles it certainly was
a great day to remember.

The last full day was spent around Port Blair a great little town totally different than anywhere we have been.Market shopping not unusual for us but again different than what we have experienced in the past.We found a fabric shop that made saris. Tinks ordered some and they were made overnight.They looked great and she would probably get lost in the crowd if she wore them.After few more supplies from the market a visit to the zoo with a friendly tok tok driver a great Indian dinner set us up for departure.The experience of the Andamans is a must. It's different but the same great people set back in time.
Our last day was spent with paperwork port control customs immigration and harbors master. We cleared immigration at the local jetty the officer came to us stamped our passports out then bought us a local coffee (which is an experience) and a cake and waved us to our boats   ( don't get that anywhere else)!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Islands of the Andamand ISLANDS-our thoughts

Cinque Island one of the best. Lovely and with lots of LARGE fish.
Coral was dead and unfortunately we had no permit to go on land
which took a lot from the experience.

he locals fishing with spears for large speciments.

So on to another island to see if it was going to be better.
We also hadto move because of large swell which turned the boat
all night on heavy cycle

Ruthland Islans. No palms and it is not hard which way the wind blows
when it starts blowing in April.
Looks great from far and that is all we saw.
No permit to go on land. WHY

Cleaning day!
Everything gets so so dirty. Not sure why maybe aroplane emissions.

Early mornings look very dramatic with the most dramatic
Cinque South no palms again and no visits.
Hot days with possibility of crocodiles.

This place is known to have strong wind blows.


Amazing mature trees

We took a drive on Havelock. It was so nice to step on land.
This is a typical house
Tinker buying some mangoes
A woman drying her grain
City centre getting ready for Holi festival when they throw coloured powder
Our driver showing us something that he chews on instead smoking.
Unfortunately when we got back to the boat from our first land touch down
 and trip we had a visit from Apsara and due to health issue they made
 a decission to return to Phuket ASAP. We decided to acompany them on the
 cross over. Anchors up and a 6 hour trip saw us arriving back at Port Blair at night.
overheated and tired

Typical terrain

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cellular Jail Port Blair

Delayed. Today was the day. With the generator working and freezers humming all was well on Cognac so for us it was a discovery time.
Apsaras engine all good now and only waiting for the generator parts to be remodelled by the wiz mechanic.
It was definitely time to see the famous and intriguing Cellular Jail.

The central tower.

This place was build here in the 18th hundreds by Indian people under the watchful eye of Britons who were the designers in the time when Andamans as well as India were their colonies. This island in the middle of nowhere was to be a home for the freedom fighters and the inconvenient ones. A place where they were made harder than mules and where most of them kept on fighting the only way they could or knew how by declining to eat. Consequently great number of them would die of starvation. This jail and its design is fascinating because one guard could watch over the whole floor and a few wings of cells from the central tower.
Overlooking now only 3 legs of the jail from the top of the tower which was the coolest place on the island.
The single cells. There was no way to deliver food.
The cells were of reasonable size and so hot.
The inside of the wing. Easy to see how one person could watch many prisoners

The only happy thing at this jail. A rabbit rubbish bin.
there is a whole story about that.
The jail was finally closed only a few years ago.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Port Blair - the festival

What an amazing sight and so unexpected once a year happening.

DELAYED One of the” fix the boats days” with great news our generator is WORKING and the humming noise it makes normally a bit annoying sounds so WONDERFUL now. Apsara was impressed and now decided to get their generator fixed which is much more complicated and our fabulous mechanic will do it. Our fridges got re gassed  and needed more gas today so fridge man who we found out is also a telco man and washing machine man a man for all needs and all seasons really will come back today...oh well  some time today when he gets the gas . He will call on the 2G phone that is not working too great and between the cracks on the line the Indian accent and word differences is lets say almost impossible to understand.
I decided to call our Andaman born taxi driver RAVI who is the best local driver ( with great knowledge of Andamans and clients like Green Peace)  to take me around Port Blair taking with me my 2Gphone and 25 mile range VHF boat phone so when the mechanic called me on the 2G with the time he was coming I will call Robert on the boats phone because my 2G phone will not call Roberts and vice versa to let him know to pick the fridge guy up from the dock. Talk about complicated.
In the end Ravi who speaks English took me to the hills to see a festival which happens once a year. How lucky for me to get to his taxi in the perfect moment to go there.
On the way the mechanic called and I could not understand a word of what he said so Ravi had to be the translator and even he had difficulties understanding. TheVHF radio I had died and that was it for my communication. Would you believe that in the end Robert had to use satellite phone to call me - a laugh really. He picked up mechanic who was late after few more satellite calls. Ravi and I continued our journey to the festival.

Wow what a treat for the eyes. Hundreds and hundreds of believers gathered on the beach that normally is a quite place for crocodiles with a few Japanese bunkers a reminder of their occupation during II World War and today a bustling busy place filled with COLOUR with music  with people praying in the water others in trans or getting into a trans to ask for favours of one of the godesses. All getting ready either for face piercing and or walking on fire later. There were many man who had their faces pierced and no blood. Those who had piercings were treated like specially .People would come for blessings.All of the participants and their families had only had small amounts of vegeterian food for the whole month prior as well as total abstination from sex.Once the firewalkers get on the hot coals it s believed that their diligency prior wil pay dividends so they dont get hurt. I could not stay for that part. I was indeed very privileged to be here probably the only western person and a woman and a witness to this very special event. I had to be rather aware of where and how close I got to the acts of the soul in trans. Ravi was the one who watched over me and he did it so well. Thank you Ravi from the bottom of my heart. Loved the experience totally.