The shelf of Havelock island
From the book "Straight to the South", part 3 "Visiting a sea cow", episode 18.
Disappointment #2: there are no beaches on Havelock Island. At least in the Northern part of it. Well, they are and even are numbered - there is no water there. It appears at the shore only at the moments of tides, to catch it is not always possible, often you have to admire the small puddles with clumsy corals sticking out on the surface. To walk on them without shoes is impossible, to get to some place where you can swim - the problem.
Well, at least on the beach #2 near our hotel Sea Shell Resort situation is exactly the same, and the people mostly splashing in the pool.
Well, that's okay, that's not why we're here. The hotel has a dive club Scubalov.in, we will dive with them. Surprisingly, in our age, but there is extremely short the information in Internet about the underwater world of the Andaman Islands. This is despite the fact that every day ferries bring here crowds of tourists, and among them a lot of people who want to join the beauty of the underwater world, because there are almost no places for diving in tropical India with a population exceeding a billion, and Andamans in terms of diving is the best option. Local dive centers are focused mainly on training beginners, qualified divers come here not often, but in vain: there is something to see...
When meeting with the owners of the club and discussing the program of diving we've got disappointment #3 and 4: we will not able to get to Barren Islandwhere the active volcano located – the government recently banned divers to go there – the transition upto 120 km in the open sea is gangerous for small local divers boats. And there are no sea cows or dugongs mermaids near Havelock island at all. If the first is useless to fight, as fight with the bad weather, will try to do something with the second one, for example, to change our plans - to go to the neighbouring Neill Island for three or four days where the dugongs live and we will have a chance to see them...
And while we dive in here. At first, let's see what is happening at the bottom of the shelf of our island. The water always muddy in the strait between Havelock and Neill Islands - a lot of plankton there.
On a diving boat
The coral here is so-so, but a separate bowl of sponges reach a diameter of one meter and more. These aquatic multicellular animals do not have real tissues and organs, and just different kind of cells perform their functions. What amazing forms of life present in nature…
Our dive-guide Akshay
The number of fish was surprisingly large, not often you can see such abundance close to a populated shore. At the first dive site "the Red Pillar" (12°2'51.30"N, 92°59'1.40"E) in shallow water almost immediately came across a couple of giant trevallies – ray-finned fish of the Carangidae family. They can exceed a meter in length and weigh more than 30 kg. Our ones were less, but half of a meter long exactly, and let me close to them... It's good!
Then on the dive site "The Wall" (12°3'18.50"N, 92°57'43.80"E), where was deeper place and were more trevallies: blue-fin trevallies were running in the blue around us in the company of fishes-surgeons and snappers, and closer to the surface, the huge shoal of big island trevallies - Jackfish was circling...
Butterfly-fish and Moorish idols live in these waters, parrot-fish, flocks of bright yellow five-line Lutjanus and gold-spotted sweetlips, large angel-fish, threat scorpionfish, angry dog-fish, fun and bright boxfish, serious hunters - groupers, triggerfish, colorful clowns in anemone... And if you look closely, you can see rare fish goby, small transparent shrimps - cleaners on the bodies of large fish... Also we found a few nudibranches, however, the most common ones.
Clown fish on anemone
Other marine fauna is also sufficient there: sea cucumbers are on every step, large shells of mollusks stick to corals, blue-spotted whiptail stingrays are hiding on the bottom in the sand, cowardly cautious gobies protect their symbionts – shrimp... We met even a big grey octopus, but he stubbornly refused to get out his hole. And at the last dive we were honored with a visit of a fairly large green sea turtle.
<br/ > Yes, it's a bit muddy, but you will not be bored here, we recommend :)