Beaches ! Clear Water ! Colorful Fishes ! Beautiful Birds ! Orchids ! and everything else…

The Andaman Islands are famous for their beaches and crystal clear water. Even in depth of more than 20 feet, one can see the bottom of the ocean. This makes the place excellent for underwater exploration.
The Andaman islands are spread across a vast area in the Indian Ocean. While hopping from one island to another requires a ferry , navigating within an island is best done by a two wheeler. We enjoyed roaming around the island in a two wheeler inhaling the sea breeze.
Since the islands are surrounded by corals, the water adjoining the islands are insulated from bigger waves. What this means is that the waters are calm and clear. These seas are one of the most biologically rich hot spots in the world in terms of marine life.
One can do snorkeling quite literally anywhere and find different aquatic species. The sheer variety is exhausting for the mind. Since we were new to underwater environment, we had to take moments to cool off in order to grasp everything we saw in the dive.
Dash-and-dot goatfish (Parupeneus barberinus) – This fish feeds primarily on the sea floor. It grazes on the sea floor looking for anything edible. We are quite good in naming all wildlife in land, but we were totally astonished seeing the diversity in aquatic wildlife.
While hopping from one island to another, we were testing our luck on whether we can see dolphins or not. While searching for them, we noticed that small fishes were swimming close to the ferry and then taking off from the water as the ferry crossed their path. These flying fishes were most probably Exocoetus volitans or commonly called as blue flying fish.
Snorkelling in Andaman and nicobar islands. Colorful fishes under water.
Just around the shores one could find colourful fishes.
While most look to islands for beaches, Andaman Islands are much more than that ! These are tropical wet evergreen forests and were teeming with life themselves. The trees were covered with orchids and to our joy 6 species were in bloom.
Where there is abundant plant life, abundant fauna follow. We visited Mount Harriet National Park and were looking for birds and butterflies. While going through thickets suddenly this was staring in front of us – a colony of bees. We have never seen a bee colony this close, its quite a different world.
The Andaman treepie (Dendrocitta bayleyii)
The Andaman treepie (Dendrocitta bayleyii) is endemic to the Andaman Islands of India. Their voices make the forest more lively.
Loxura atymnus
Loxura atymnus, the yamfly, is a species of lycaenid or blue butterfly found in Asia. It has been a while since we spotted this fellow. Infact it was more than 5 years and just when we were chatting about it, this colorful Yamfly came and sat infront of us.
clear water beach in andaman and nicobar islands, trees in beach water
Everyone goes to an island to see this view. We couldn’t get it in Port Blair or Neil Island. Finally when we went to Elephant Beach and walked away from tourists, we saw the beauty of the island.
We took this picture accidentally by leaving the camera on a tripod. During the last day of the week long trip, we had vacated the hotel early in the morning at 4.00 am to reach Chidiya Tapu for birding in first light. We took our stuff in the two wheeler and saw birds and while returning back we stopped for a parakeet. Only later we realized that this picture captured our entire luggage. Isn’t it good to travel light ?!

A few more travels to read about…

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