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Monday, July 22, 2019
If you travel to the Andaman Islands, you always have a choice. You can go from island to island or just stay on an island and let life pass you by. You can jump from one ferry to another, explore new and unexplored beaches or just relax in one and see how nature extends over the sky and the sea. The husband wanted a vacation and water is his territory. And so I let him plan the trip, which means it was unexpected, impulsive, last minute, full of fun and relaxation. When we are both on vacation, we don't just travel. We relax.

The Andaman and Nicobar archipelago can have more than 500 islands but only a handful is open to tourists and that too, only in Andamans. And the friendliest of tourists is Havelock. One of the most spectacular islands of the Bay of Bengal, the largest of the Ritchie archipelago in the Great Andaman, Havelock, with its beaches of perfect image and mangrove forests. Adjectives do not do it justice.

We were as always at the last minute. We rushed to the Makruzz reservations office and got the last two tickets on the ferry to Havelock from Port Blair. Ideally it is better to book online.

We were tempted to stop at Neil Island, one of the islands of the Ritchie archipelago that recently opened to tourists. But we decided not to. We had only four days and we wanted to take it easy. And so Havelock was all the way.

The first thing I learned when I arrived at Havelock was that all the beaches had a number and the popular number was 7. Some also had names. When making a reservation online accommodation, be sure to know their beaches.

There is a beach n. ° 1 where you land, adjacent to the jetty. This is his first introduction to Havelock and is probably one of the busiest where he will see many people. And then you realize that as you move towards the other beaches, you almost do not see anyone. There is a small messy market along the beach n. ° 1 and, adjacent to it, there are ferries that will take you to Elephant Beach.

Beach No. 2 is not open to tourists, but diving schools use it to a great extent to provide beginners with a diving experience. It is accessible through a small lane full of houses and it feels as if you are almost entering the backyard of this town.

The beach n. ° 3 and the beach n. ° 5 are where the tourist centers extend in a line. They are named after the villages, Govindnagar and Vijaynagar. Govindnagar has a small market with shops, restaurants and ATMs. Several diving schools have opened their centers here. There was a time when there were only 4 and now there are more than 15, says a car driver when I ask him to take me to my home for the next few days, Beach No 7 was rated as one of the best beaches in the world called Radhanagar .

The trip is the destination. Only the trip to this town, from the main jetty is an experience. Forests, fields, mounds greet you. The whole landscape changes. There is a trekking route from here to Elephant Beach. Although we took a car on the first day, we hired a bicycle for the next few days, just to tour the villages and beaches.

It is not just the scenic landscape or the rustic world that catches your attention. Look around you and you will not have a soul around you sometimes. Birds and flowers are everything that surrounds you in this idyllic little paradise.

If Radhanagar is destiny, then Barefoot at Havelock is an experience. If you visit Havelock and do not stay in Barefoot, believe me, you have not visited Havelock. It's not the luxury shops or the private beach or the excellent food that makes me say this: it's a general feeling. Barefoot in many ways combines the very essence of Havelock.

Show this. You are not staying at a beach resort but in a dense forest. Take a small detour and a narrow path with thick, dark bushes and mysterious shadows of trees will take you to a pristine private beach. The birds land right at your door.

The trees form a canopy so dense and when it rains, you can feel your whole being soaked in the rain. A little crunching in the bushes and you could see a monitor lizard in the desert. It is wild and silent. In addition to birds, you can hear the waves that call you all the time. And that's where I stayed, right on the beach, walking, resting, meditating, lost in the silence of my own thoughts.

It is insufficient to say that Radhanagar is one of the most beautiful beaches. I have not seen anything so pristine, the impeccable white sands seem to have been purged from every speck of land. The clouds float by and the sea keeps changing color.

Time stops here and the only way to follow it is by observing the tides. I try to keep up with the moods of the oceans: restless, calm, angry, excited. Sometimes the waves are full of passion, sometimes they are just a joke. No wonder that the beaches are the most romantic places in the world.

There are no water sports on the Radhanagar beach and snorkeling is not allowed here, although you can swim. The locals told me about the crocodiles that lurk here and it is advisable not to venture too far into nature, near the mangroves or bushes.

Although you can't dive or dive here, Barefoot has its own diving school and they take you on an excursion to South Batton Island or Tamarind Camp or Turtle Bay or just to Beach No. 2 to dive. They even had an elephant that was brought from the continent with which you could dive.

However, if I were you, I would keep my options open with other diving schools, which are equally very good since the demand here is very high. We almost lost a couple of days waiting for Barefoot to confirm our reservations and finally decided to go with Dive India, in Havelock and with Doongy Dive for our excursions. Needless to say, both were fantastic.

I tried diving, but I could barely go a few meters below the ocean. And then I decided that I would prefer to dive. But the husband, a baby of water, plunged into the depths of the oceans and had a date with the marine world and exotic colors.

Last night in Havelock, I decided to move from beach 7 to beach 5 to get an experience of what it would be like to stay at a beach resort. At the other end of the beach, near the beach of Kala Pathar, is Silver Sands, where I had a date with silver sands and turquoise waters. It's almost the last resort at the end of the road and we probably had the beach to ourselves. The kingfishers invited us while we rested in the hammock and watched as the twilight enveloped the skies.

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