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Marion wrote: I am a sea lover. Seems to be an interesting cruise. david martin Abrahams would love to travel on it.
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news desk wrote: Administered by India, the 300 or so Andaman Islands are the highest peaks of a submerged mountain range that stretches from Sumatra in the south to the Irawaddy delta in the north. The Andaman Islands have everything you could desire from an adventurous eco-tourism charter destination. There are literally hundreds of deserted islands to explore, each one seemingly more spectacular than the last. The beaches are magnificently pristine. The snorkeling and scuba diving is amongst the best in the world with an almost untouched marine ecosystem. There is a live volcano, thousands of square miles of untouched jungle, exotic and thriving wildlife and primitive hunter-gatherer tribes. The fishing (catch & release) is probably the best in the world. The Andamans is also starting to develop a superb reputation as a frontier surfing destination where the reef breaks have never been surfed before.
YV&C News Desk wrote: Administered by India, the 300 or so Andaman Islands are the highest peaks of a submerged mountain range that stretches from Sumatra in the south to the Irawaddy delta in the north. The Andaman Islands have everything you could desire from an adventurous eco-tourism charter destination. There are literally hundreds of deserted islands to explore, each one seemingly more spectacular than the last. The beaches are magnificently pristine. The snorkeling and scuba diving is amongst the best in the world with an almost untouched marine ecosystem. There is a live volcano, thousands of square miles of untouched jungle, exotic and thriving wildlife and primitive hunter-gatherer tribes. The fishing (catch & release) is probably the best in the world. The Andamans is also starting to develop a superb reputation as a frontier surfing destination where the reef breaks have never been surfed before.
YV&C News Desk wrote: Administered by India, the 300 or so Andaman Islands are the highest peaks of a submerged mountain range that stretches from Sumatra in the south to the Irawaddy delta in the north. The Andaman Islands have everything you could desire from an adventurous eco-tourism charter destination. There are literally hundreds of deserted islands to explore, each one seemingly more spectacular than the last. The beaches are magnificently pristine. The snorkeling and scuba diving is amongst the best in the world with an almost untouched marine ecosystem. There is a live volcano, thousands of square miles of untouched jungle, exotic and thriving wildlife and primitive hunter-gatherer tribes. The fishing (catch & release) is probably the best in the world. The Andamans is also starting to develop a superb reputation as a frontier surfing destination where the reef breaks have never been surfed before.


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A Yacht Charter Vacation in the The Andaman Islands
Floating in splendid isolation in the middle of the Bay of Bengal

Administered by India, the 300 or so Andaman Islands are the highest peaks of a submerged mountain range that stretches from Sumatra in the south to the Irawaddy delta in the north. The Andaman Islands have everything you could desire from an adventurous eco-tourism charter destination. There are literally hundreds of deserted islands to explore, each one seemingly more spectacular than the last. The beaches are magnificently pristine. The snorkeling and scuba diving is amongst the best in the world with an almost untouched marine ecosystem. There is a live volcano, thousands of square miles of untouched jungle, exotic and thriving wildlife and primitive hunter-gatherer tribes. The fishing (catch & release) is probably the best in the world. The Andamans is also starting to develop a superb reputation as a frontier surfing destination where the reef breaks have never been surfed before.



Sitting astride the ancient monsoon trade routes between China and India, the Andaman Islands first appeared in our historical records during the 2nd Century BC. From the earliest recorded times the Andamans were infamous for the ferocious, cannibalistic pygmies who inhabited the islands.

Bizarrely the inhabitant’s themselves led to the islands being named the “Andaman” Islands. The small stature of the pygmies and their tradition of wearing trailing grass skirts that resembled a monkey’s tail led to the belief in surrounding countries that these islands were inhabited by devotees of the Hindu monkey god “Handuman”. This resulted in the people being known as the “Handuman people” which ultimately gave rise to the name “Andaman Islands”.

With the Andaman Islands’ strategic position  directly across the major monsoon trade routes in the Bay of Bengal and with an abundance of fresh water and wildlife, it is very surprising that the Andaman Islands were not colonized or settled in ancient times by India, China or Siam. Perhaps the fearsome reputation of the inhabitants discouraged visitors. It is also likely that the pirates, who used the Andaman Islands as a base to attack merchant shipping in the Bay of Bengal, exaggerated the tales of cannibals and warlike tribes to keep competitors and authorities away.

The descendents of these ferocious negroid pygmies are still there today, although they are somewhat friendlier than their reputation would suggest. Amazingly these tribes still live a traditional hunter-gatherer existence in tracts of Andaman jungle that have been set aside for them.

The only warlike tribe today is the Sentinelese who inhabit a tiny isolated island called North Sentinel. This island is roughly circular with a diameter of only 4 miles. Completely surrounded by fringing coral reef and deep ocean, the Sentinelese live out their lives in complete isolation from the outside world. Following the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, the Indian authorities sent a military helicopter to North Sentinel island to check on the Sentinelese. The helicopter returned to Port Blair with several arrows embedded in the underside of the fuselage. The message was clear: “We are fine, just leave us alone!”

In 2001 we ran a charter in the Andaman Islands for a UNDP sponsored scientific survey of the surrounding coral reefs. During this survey 3 new species of coral were discovered in a survey that encompassed hundreds of miles of pristine reef and a unique and intact underwater ecosystem. Clearly there was much to protect. The Andamans was duly declared a World Heritage Site in 2002.

The Andaman Islands are difficult to get to, which keeps them well off the tourist trail. There are only 2 flights per day (one from Kolkota and one from Chennai on the Indian mainland) into Port Blair which is the administrative centre for the islands. There are no international flights into Port Blair, except the occasional private jet.

Port Blair is a quaint, colonial, Indian town that looks like it has been dragged from the 1930s into the 21st Century. Three-wheeler auto rickshaws weave between the more sedate “Lincoln Ambassador” taxis, surrounded by the constant cacophony of sounds and colors of a busy Indian market town. An Indian policeman dressed in khaki uniform and a white pith helmet stands at each road intersection, somehow managing the seemingly suicidal task of directing the traffic. Holy cows, beautifully attired with jewellery and painted horns, stroll unconcernedly along the streets ignoring both the traffic and the policemen.

Tourism is very much in its infancy in the Andaman Islands. There are only a tiny handful of yachts that offer charters in this incredibly remote area. With almost no tourists and hardly any fishing fleet we have on occasion spent up to a month in the Andamans without ever seeing another boat or person. This is a truly unique charter destination for adventurous people who really want to escape from the modern world for a while.

The Andaman Islands have never been commercially fished. As a result the fish life is truly incredible. As the fish in this area generally die of old age rather than being caught, they grow to a remarkable size. It is quite a strange feeling to be regularly swimming with fish that are much larger than you.

I have run out of superlatives to describe the fishing in this area. During a recent trip to the Andamans we went fishing on most days from our dinghy. We would set off from the yacht in the evening trolling lures behind the dinghy along the reef edge. On occasions we actually managed to travel up to 300m without catching a fish!

Of all the islands in the Andamans the remote volcano islands of Barren and Narcondum are unique. Located about 100 miles to the east of the main Andaman Islands, these volcanic islands rise almost vertically from ocean depths of more than 2000m. Narcondum is a long-extinct volcano. Barren is very much live with spectacular lava flows into the sea. Diving and snorkeling around these islands is an unforgettable experience. At Barren island, the underwater landscape has a backdrop of black volcanic ash. Against this matte black background the normally vibrant colors of the coral and reef fish seem almost psychedelic.

It is essential to plan to visit the Andamans between December and May. December to the end of February is the best time for sailing in the Andamans with warm, sunny conditions and a reliable 20 knots of wind. March and April have little wind and are the best months for diving and snorkeling – this is also the time of year when the migratory whales visit the Andamans. April is the best month for surfing with large swell from the south-west that gives spectacular breaks along the west coast.

From May to December the Andamans is effectively closed with strong winds, very rough sea conditions and continuous torrential rain.  




About Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson is the owner of Ilala Yacht Charters which offers adventure sailing, kayaking and diving holidays into the Mergui Archipelago. All photographs courtesy of Ilala Yacht Charters.

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Administered by India, the 300 or so Andaman Islands are the highest peaks of a submerged mountain range that stretches from Sumatra in the south to the Irawaddy delta in the north. The Andaman Islands have everything you could desire from an adventurous eco-tourism charter destination. There are literally hundreds of deserted islands to explore, each one seemingly more spectacular than the last. The beaches are magnificently pristine. The snorkeling and scuba diving is amongst the best in the world with an almost untouched marine ecosystem. There is a live volcano, thousands of square miles of untouched jungle, exotic and thriving wildlife and primitive hunter-gatherer tribes. The fishing (catch & release) is probably the best in the world. The Andamans is also starting to develop a superb reputation as a frontier surfing destination where the reef breaks have never been surfed before.

Administered by India, the 300 or so Andaman Islands are the highest peaks of a submerged mountain range that stretches from Sumatra in the south to the Irawaddy delta in the north. The Andaman Islands have everything you could desire from an adventurous eco-tourism charter destination. There are literally hundreds of deserted islands to explore, each one seemingly more spectacular than the last. The beaches are magnificently pristine. The snorkeling and scuba diving is amongst the best in the world with an almost untouched marine ecosystem. There is a live volcano, thousands of square miles of untouched jungle, exotic and thriving wildlife and primitive hunter-gatherer tribes. The fishing (catch & release) is probably the best in the world. The Andamans is also starting to develop a superb reputation as a frontier surfing destination where the reef breaks have never been surfed before.

Administered by India, the 300 or so Andaman Islands are the highest peaks of a submerged mountain range that stretches from Sumatra in the south to the Irawaddy delta in the north. The Andaman Islands have everything you could desire from an adventurous eco-tourism charter destination. There are literally hundreds of deserted islands to explore, each one seemingly more spectacular than the last. The beaches are magnificently pristine. The snorkeling and scuba diving is amongst the best in the world with an almost untouched marine ecosystem. There is a live volcano, thousands of square miles of untouched jungle, exotic and thriving wildlife and primitive hunter-gatherer tribes. The fishing (catch & release) is probably the best in the world. The Andamans is also starting to develop a superb reputation as a frontier surfing destination where the reef breaks have never been surfed before.


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