Snorkeling in the Andamans

Andaman Islands better known as the Emerald Islands is a very popular tourist destination due to its varieties - World-class Beaches, Coral Reefs, lush green rainforests, Volcano, Swimming elephants, Giant fish etc. It has pretty much as anyone can wish. This was in my wish list since my childhood and I added this to my travel bag this year.

Beach activities like water sports can be experienced anywhere in India, but Snorkeling is something which we cannot. Snorkeling is an adventure activity where one can enjoy the under-marine life and view the rarest varieties of corals - both live and dead. It was told to us that in the Elephant Beach of Havelock Islands, you will have the opportunity, however my personal experience says that in case you want to explore the different varieties of corals; North Bay Islands is a better option. Havelock however have a huge variety of marine life.

Guides are available at North Bay who would provide you with the mask and the floating tube. This is something which anyone who doesn't know swimming can also experience. I also do not know swimming but had a great experience and enjoyed to the fullest. My personal opinion is to take a guide since it would be more interesting to know the names as you see the corals and the fishes.

There was a word of caution from our guide - 'Sir, aapka payer nahi lagna chahiye corals per' as in 'Your leg should not touch the corals'This was primarily due to 2 reasons - the corals are live and it can destroy them, on the other hand there are certain corals which can hurt us and the cut will not be cured by any medicine.

Our guide explained the different corals in the sea bed. It was an out of the world experience getting to know and see the marine life from so near. One of my co-visitor was so excited with this Alive is Awesome experience that he wanted to touch the mushroom corals in the sea bed and asked our guide if he can do so. Getting a nod, he dived deep and had a touch to the corals. There was a beautiful pink coral which remains open until you disturb it. It closes all by itself and our guide mentioned that if by any chance our hand comes in between, it might even cut our fingers.

Not only limited to corals, we could also see variety of fishes roaming around beneath the surface. Who would like to leave this Alive is Awesome experience so soon but alas we had to come back to let others the chance to experience the same. We had a time constraint, else I would have bought the equipment from the beach and tried this myself alone. Knowing the details and the varieties would definitely help the second time.

For someone who are unable to go for the underwater experience via Snorkeling they can take Glass bottom boats and see the marine life upto about 10-20 fts below sea level. This can be exciting as well. Scuba Diving or Sea Walk are a little advanced stages of Snorkeling where one can literally swim with the fishes and go as shallow or as deep as you like.

To lunge into the depths of sparking unknown waters, is awesome.