Most people’s image of India is a crowded, hectic, colourful and noisy place. In contrast, waking up in India’s Andaman Islands we were surrounded by the clearest, cleanest water you have ever seen, white beaches and total tranquility,
North Button Island was such an idyllic location we decided to stay another day there. Each of the boats found a way to enjoy a restful morning – kayaking, flying a drone, snorkelling, swimming, fishing or reading a book.
We gathered again for lunch on Quintessa (a motor catamaran which like Beach House, a sailing catamaran, has impressive amounts of space) to eat more sashsumi and mackerel fillets caught by the skipper of Beach House, with an array of delicious salads made by the other boats.
After a beautiful calm night we woke up to lovely birdsong and complete peace. The water was so still that we could see the clouds perfectly reflected on the surface of the ocean.
We left for Middle Button Island (just a few miles away) at 8.30 am, farewelling Smart Choice who were heading north to explore some of the anchorages suggested by their contact in Port Blair.
Middle Button Island looked similar to North Button with a stunning sand spit and cliffs. We didn’t go ashore, but apparently there is a ranger’s station there although we saw absolutely no sign of life.
While the skippers of Quintessa and Beach House went off fishing we took our dinghy on a circumnavigation of the island.
Our first objective was to explore a cave we had spied but when we approached it we realised that it didn’t go back very far and there was nothing to see inside it . So we continued round the island in our dinghy.
Far off in the distance we spied one lonely fishing boat and we joked about buying a fish and then saying something silly like we fished it out of the water with our bare hands. Just at that moment we saw a really large fish floating in the water! We circled round and I was about to sweep it up when it thwhacked its tail on the surface of the water and swam away – I nearly fell out of the dinghy in fright!
We decided to go to the fishermen anyway and see if they had caught anything worthy of buying. They didn’t speak any English but we managed to converse in sign language and ended up buying a nice sized spotted mackerel for 200 rupees (about Aus$4 or £2.45.) The skipper cleaned and cut it into seven good sized steaks.
Our next destination – less than two hours away- was Inglis Island which is an absolute paradise – one of those islands that you see in holiday brochures and think “the sea can’t possibly be that colour, the sand really can’t be that white,” etc. It was also absolutely deserted (no phone service at all!) and the sea was that impossible turquoise and the sand was that white – and once again we were the only ones there to enjoy this magical spot.
We had planned a beach BBQ but decided that the sandflies were too much of a threat to our enjoyment and instead had a great evening on Yantara and for a change had lamb chops and sausages rather then fish.
The fisherman in our little fleet were out and about with their rods and tackle shortly after sunrise the next day. This time they caught sweetlip and coral trout both of which tasted sensational.
Before lunch we had a beautiful swim in the crystal clear waters off the beach. We commented that this was a “bucket list” activity. Diving from the beach straight into deep azure water – quite literally from ankle deep to out of our depth in one step.
While we were having lunch on Quintessa we saw some local fishermen in a boat and our fanatical fishing fellows went out to see what they were catching. It transpired that the local guys had been pulling out cray fish or rock lobsters from rocky crags in the coral reef on the eastern side of the island.
With a promise of catching more, the fishermen sold the three they had caught and an impromptu lobster meal was scheduled for later (after everyone had slept off their lunch!).
True to their word, the fishermen came back with enough for us all to have some. We supplemented the lobster with the mackerel we bought the previous day – all cooked by Quintessa’s crew member and Masterchefs with the addition of more delicious salads including a fabulous green mango salad from Yantara. We were living like kings!
If you enjoyed reading this blog about our experiences in the Andaman Islands go to:
Or read my previous update: