Waking up in Elphinstone Harbour was a magical experience. We were greeted by glorious birdsong, the water was like glass, the sky a clear blue and it was perfectly peaceful and still.
So it was with reluctance that we departed for Long Island, the next stop we had included in the itinerary we had handed into the Harbour Master at Port Blair. As we motored past Guitar Island we marvelled at the stunning, empty and isolated beaches. Paradise!
Although Long Island was marked as an anchorage on the map of the area in our cruising guide, strangely there was no mention of it and we wondered if a page was missing or for some reason the information as been lost in the final edit.We dropped our anchor near the boat jetty on Long Island in the late morning and quite quickly launched the dinghy to go in and explore the island.
There were a few fishing boats on shore but other than two young lads who didn’t respond to our friendly waves, there were no people. We found a concrete road and walked along finding notices warning against crocodiles and not entering the forest without written permission – penalty up to six months in prison or up to 500 rupees fine (About Aus $10 or £6)!
We reached a modern looking medical centre with notices about Leprosy and Polio vaccinations. After walking past a number of houses, a very new looking (but empty resort) and a couple of official buildings we did at last come upon two very small children playing who were incredibly shy.
A couple of people went by on motorbikes but seemed not to notice us or only responded with a half hearted wave when we said “hello”.
We stopped to buy some garlic at a tiny local store. The shopkeeper was shy but friendly and spoke very little English. I wished I had learnt a bit of Hindi when were in mainland India a couple of months previously.
Some young giggling boys playing in the football stand were happy to have their photos taken – they were very cute but again quite shy.
There were quite a few empty dwellings and we wondered if they had been abandoned after the tsunami. There was a Boat Yard with a couple of small craft in the process of being built but what had once been an impressive slipway was now badly damaged.
As there was nothing very appealing about the island we decided to go back to the yachts and keep going to the nearby Button Islands and were delighted with our decision.
Uninhabited North Button Island is absolutely gorgeous – white sand, clear turquoise water, sandstone cliffs and an impenetrable tangle of bushes and trees hiding a variety of birdlife that we could hear but not see.
At one end there was a perfect spit of white sand and it was here that some of us decided to have sundowners. A big mistake for me as we were attacked by an army of ravenous sandflies. Unfortunately I am really allergic to their bites and came up in nasty itchy and painful welts. After a bad night being woken by the angry, irritating red lumps I took an antihistamine tablet and thankfully the aggravating itching settled down.
After swimming and snorkelling we had another great evening together, this time on Beach House where we enjoyed a fabulous tuna (freshly caught) curry cooked Kerala style by Quintessa’s crew member, Michael.
If you have enjoyed reading this blog about the magical Andaman Islands go to: https://dotsailing.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/total-tranquility-fishing-bare-handed-and-living-like-kings/
Or read my previous blog update: