We had been longing to make a trip to Andaman; and Dad made it possible for usduring the last summer holidays. Soon after the examinations were over, Mom madepreparations for the trip. On the 25th of April, we took the Pinakini Express from Vijayawadaand reached Chennai Central by 1 p.m. After lunch, we hired a taxi for the port.
In the evening, we boarded a ship for Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and NicobarIslands. The ship looked much bigger than our school building. It had four storeys. It set outafter sounding a loud horn. People who had come to see off their friends and relativescheered them up by waving their hands. My sister Amala and I too waved our hands whileMom and Dad smiled at us.
Tall buildings, cell towers and factory chimneys began to vanish gradually. After awhile, the twinkling lights of Chennai bade us farewell. Soon everything around us began tolook dark and calm but inside the ship it was all bright and beautiful. When we closed thewindows and doors of our cabin, we did not feel the movement of the ship.
On the second day, we came to know that we were in the middle of the sea. Theweather was pleasant on the sea. The day was sunny and the sea was reflecting the cloudslike a flat mirror. We saw Dolphins swimming along the ship. They sprang and dived againand again. It was quite amusing.
I was curious to know what other people were doing on the ship. So I went around. I sawsome watching films and some others eating and drinking in the restaurants. A few werebuying things in the fancy stores. I was surprised to see some in a saloon getting their haircut.
The medical staff was busy treating the patients suffering mostly from sea-sickness.The sanitary workers were on their job of keeping the cabins, corridors and toilets neat andclean. The crew of the ship was very friendly and courteous. They gladly answered all myqueries about the ship.
It was the third day. Early in the morning,Mom woke us up to show us the magnificentspectacle of the dawn at the sea. After two days ,wereached Port Blair.
“Dad, do you have any idea about theseislands and the people who live there?’’ I asked.
Dad said, “I know a little. There are aboutsix hundred islands. They are located betweenIndia’s coast and Myanmar. Only 37 of themare inhabited. They have plant, animal andmarine life in abundance.”
We learnt that the inhabitants of the islands were the aboriginal tribes. Some of themlived far away from the civilized society. Despite this, the islands today look like a miniatureIndia. We saw people of different languages, cultures, and faiths living together happily.
We visited a famous national monument, the Cellular jail. We learnt that the Cellularjail was built by the British. It was no longer a jail. It had been converted into a big hospital.
Mahatma Gandhi MarineNational Park :
After a while, we reachedan exciting place, the MahatmaGandhi Marine National Park.The park was spread over a widearea of 15 islands. Open creeksrunning through the park areawere a special attraction. Wewatched coral reefs, fishes ofdifferent colours and seaturtles through glass-bottomedboats. For some time, we feltourselves as a part of them.Amala and I cheered the fishand turtles.
We travelled by a ferry from Port Blair to a place called Havelock island. The ferriescarry people, vehicles and goods. We enjoyed panipuri, samosas and gharam chai duringthe ferry journey.
Havelock Island :
A majestic lighthousegreeted us on our arrival at theHavelock Island. We felt as if thesandy beaches and greenish-bluesea were warmly welcoming us.
Some foreign tourists on the beaches were basking in the sun and enjoying themselves.We saw tourists enjoying swimming in the sea, and riding on elephants. Silky sands, foamingtides and cool breeze of the sea attracted us very much. We took lots of pictures of thebeautiful scenery.