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 island to island requires a ferry , navigating within the island is best done by a two wheeler. The freedom that personal transport gives to you is tremendous, particularly when one is searching for birds.
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 terms of marine life.
One can do snorkeling quite literally anywhere and find multiple species . The sheer variety is exhausting for the mind. Since we were new to underwater environment we had to take moments to cool off to grasp everything we saw in the dive.
Dash-and-dot goatfish (Parupeneus barberinus) – This fish feeds primarily on the sea floor. It quite literally grazes on the sea floor looking for anything edible.
While hopping from one island to another we were testing our luck as to whether we can see dolphins or not. While searching for them we noticed that we had small fishes swimming close to the ferry which took off from the water as the ferry crossed their path. These were flying fishes. We managed to get a shot of them gliding gracefully.
While most look to islands for beaches, Andaman Islands are much more than that ! These are tropical wet evergreen forests and are teeming with life themselves. The trees were literally covered with orchids and to our joy , some species were in bloom and we were able to spot 6 of them.
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 were quick to click a picture and get out of there.
The Andaman treepie (Dendrocitta bayleyii) is endemic to the Andaman Islands of India, where its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.
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 fellow came and sat infront of us. In a little while we could spot several of them flying around.
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 so that we can 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 ?!