Andaman & Nicobar Islands Diary: Elephant & Kalapathar beach

Havelock: Elephant Beach, a hub of water sports and allied activities, is also famous for its coral reefs which can be enjoyed by snorkeling, scuba diving — Rs 3500 on seashore and Rs 5000 from a boat — or by sea walk where you can feed fish. You can also admire corals from a glass boat (Rs 500 pp) or a submarine (Rs 3500 pp).

Water sports are Elephant Beach’s mainstay. There are a number of adrenalin pumping activities like para sailing (Rs 2700 pp), water scooters, banana boat rides, jet skis, etc., for all age groups. Majority of these rides are priced at Rs 600 per person. On health grounds 60 plus and below 12 years of age are not allowed to go for snorkling.

Two-kg oxygen cylinder which lasts for one hour with amateurs is used for scuba diving. Even non-swimmers after a couple of minutes of hand holding by experts can enjoy this form of diving.
Do not worry if you fail to complete any pre-booked activity. Refunds are quick and hassle free.
Elephant beach is reached by a 30-minute boat ride from the Havelock jetty. The boat (Rs 1000 pp round trip) has a capacity of 10 with a crew of two which doubles up as the group’s guide. They are also responsible for patron’s safe return to the shore. Once you are on the beach you are expected to complete rides in three hours and be ready to board the boat for the return journey.
The boat goes past the island whose dark green forest thrusts out of the ocean as one singular seamless unit with its canopy stretching on to miles. The thick green cover is spellbinding, and one feels like a Lilyput in a boat encircling a giant in deep slumber…To say the least it is a surreal site.

For the young and adventurous there is also an option to go to this beach by trekking through a forest. On way to Radha Nagar Beach is the take-off point for the two km trek to the Elephant Beach. Due to frequent rains the narrow pagdandi (pathway) remains slippery, and coupled with dense foliage of the forest and hilly terrain the option is not advisable if one is on a touch and go visit.

The beach owes its name to captive elephants of the forest department. After being set free in the wild by the department, these elephants started visiting the beach regularly. Hence the name Elephant Beach.

The last attraction of the Havelock is the Kalapathar Beach. A popular sunrise point and a high tide beach is not for swimming. Except for a long strip of white sand, the beach bed is of rocks earning it a sobriquet Kalapathar. In this island of greens lot of drift wood lining the beach is a stark reminder of a life cycle’s completion.

After a restful nighttime to move on to the neighboring Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep).

Sharat Sharma

Sharat Sharma is an indefatigable traveller and explorer from Delhi. For Sharat, age is just a number because what matters is the indomitable will to get moving.

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