New Year Resurrection

So I got busy, distracted, tired, confused, overwhelmed by this blog in the past year and a half. New adventures would come up and I would tell myself how excited I was to write about it. But then it never happened. It’s ok. Life happens and I have enjoyed my life. That said, I also see the cathartic release of writing to friends, family and some random strangers over the Internet. It forces me to sit down and reflect and plan for times ahead. Or just to move forward. There. This blog is resurrected. No more dwelling on the past.

So quick update. I live in rural India, on the top of a magnificent hill, on a biodiversity reserve in Pune, India. We just came back from vacation in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for Christmas Break. They are a group of islands closer to Thailand than to mainland India with some nice beaches, good snorkeling and diving and just a nice place to get away from it all.

On our way there, we stopped at Port Blair and went south of the island to a new resort called Wild Grass Resort to dive with Lacadives. The resort was just set up this year and is a wonderful getaway in the middle of a coconut plantation. No phone reception, no Internet. It’s serious (and totally perfect for a hard-wired internet junkie like myself). We went for two dives in the warm waters which were great- lots of fish despite the fact that the reefs all appeared pretty dead and bleached. I would gladly have spent a few more days here than we did. The resort is about a 15-20 min walk to the Lacadives shop which is Chidiya Tapu. You can then walk along the coast for a nice adventure to the closest beach where many people where doing their PADI Open Water courses. The birds in the area were very diverse. With many endemic species on the Andamans, it is a true bird lovers paradise. However, I didn’t have my long lens with me so no shots. I’m really a terrible travel/nature photographer. I would definitely return here and spend much more time walking around the beautiful forest reserve of giant teak trees and the various fields. We were lucky to be there during the Full Moon and I was able to capture some nice photos of the resort at night time. Here is my favourite one:

The newly opened Wild Grass Resort in Chidiya Tapu, south of Port Blair in the Andamans, India.
The newly opened Wild Grass Resort in Chidiya Tapu, south of Port Blair in the Andamans, India.

After Chidiya Tapu, we took the ferry to Havelock, which is another island in the Andamans. We stayed at a “resort” called Dreamland- which basically meant that we stayed in a small bamboo shack with a hard bed for 10 days. It was cheap and we spent our days at the beach anyways. The closest one is Radhanagar or Beach #7 which was voted the best beach in Asia in 2004 (the fact of which will be advertised everywhere).

As it happens,  I didn’t take many pictures there because a- I’m always terrified my camera will get sand in it and stop working. True fact, this happened to my very first digital camera way back in 2004 and I’m scared of sand and photo gear combo ever since. b- My work as Head of Communications at a UWC means that I take lots of photos all the time. And although I enjoy photography, I just wanted a break. c- My underwater camera case was leaking and that made me sad.

Havelock was a little disappointing. The reefs were dead, the food was mediocre and I couldn’t dive as this was just around the time I also got massive sinusitis. Excellent. Therefore I spent the days at the beach sleeping and floating on the water. You could literally lie down floating on the water and it is so still that I would still be in the same spot 10 mins later! It was crazy. I even got a little burned! Impressive.

The beach is also bordered by a beautiful “old growth” forest of teak so it looks very inhabited which is great. We used to take the paths in the forest to get further along the beach because walking more than a kilometer in the sand and sun is never fun right? During one of these walks, I captured these images:

The trees growing along Radhanagar Beach in Havelock create a wonderful boundary for the beach.
The trees growing along Radhanagar Beach in Havelock create a wonderful boundary for the beach.
Chance encounters in the forest in Havelock, Andamans. The light was perfect unfortunately I wasn't fast enough to capture her looking at me. Still is a good domestic scene I think.
Chance encounters in the forest in Havelock, Andamans. The light was perfect unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough to capture her looking at me. Still is a good domestic scene I think.
The beach is there. Just beyond the trees. The end of a day.
The beach is there. Just beyond the trees. The end of a day.

All in all, despite the slow pace, it was a great vacation which allowed us to recharge our batteries and get ready to start off the new term with a *bang*. As with all new years, I promised no new resolutions for me (they never work anyways right)? But some new projects on the horizon and some on-going things I’d like to do. I’ll keep that for the next post. Thanks for tuning back in. Love from India.

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