Chronicles of Andaman III

There were three surprises in store for me:
*        The sight of the sand bar
*        The sight on the other side of the sand bar.
*        The sight of a shh….
Read on to know more……..

There is something nice about the word ‘Cinque’. I loved to let it roll off my tongue, ‘Cinque.’ Maybe because it sounds like sink but is not.
Cinque is one of the Islands of the 572 Islands of Andaman and Nicobar. Cinque is actually two Islands Cinque I and Cinque II. The beauty of Cinque is that when the tide is high Cinque I and Cinque II join to become one and when the tide is low they become separated with what we call a ‘sand bar’ in between.Tourists need to get a permit to visit these islands.

Cast Off

We reached Chidiya tapu, another beautiful beach of Port Blair, small in size flanked with sea walls, well ahead of schedule. The sea looked rough and water roared with anger and beat the wall threatening to erode and pull it down. Our dongy bobbed up and down beckoning us to anchor it with our weight! One by one all the families assembled donning shorts, hats, sun screen lotion and holiday mood. We were to divide ourselves into two groups and get into the now, two dongies bobbing up and down. After a frantic ‘I will get on in this one, no-no I want to get on that one’, everyone settled down. Our fate was now sealed with the choice we had made. I thought it reflected so much to life. We time and again make choices in life. To abandon the chosen choice would mean jumping into the ocean and swimming towards the other dongy. The question then arises, ‘are you ready to take the risk?’

The boat sailed out, away from the beach and into the sea. Surprisingly the water was very calm. It was behaving rough only near the sea wall. The sun was bright and shining down upon us. A small canopy provided us with a welcome shade. A soft breeze wafted, the dongy floated up and down with the waves; the movement ever so mild that I felt like I was gently being rocked in the bosom of mother earth.

A school of flying fishes caught some ones attention and soon everyone was wide awake watching the fishes skim over the water and leap up and land way ahead in water. After an hour and a half we could see the Cinque Islands in the horizon

Cinque I...Sand bar...Cinque II

As we approached closer I saw that all the trees seemed as if they were wind blown from one side. All were leaning on the right even though there was no wind. 

Wind blown from left

We beached on Cinque II and after stretching our legs got ready to snorkel. I bravely put on the snorkels; my heart rate immediately went up. I waded into the water and ducked my head down. Almost immediately my fear vanished. I saw rows and rows of stag-horn and table corals. It was a  forest of corals down there.

A forest under sea
  A huge two feet groper stealthily watched the fishes swimming in and out of the corals, a brasse darted by, smaller sized multicolored fishes swam together. We saw an Angel fish, a butterfly fish, clown fishes and school of barracudas.

Their life, their world, their destiny all floated in these waters.

Blue face Angel fish

Chromies around staghorn coral

Busy bodies

Forked caudal fin with black tip?

Juvenile grouper?

I don’t know how the time passed
but it was time to return to the beach.

On my way back I was escorted back by a whole of baby jelly fishes. They pricked and stung all over but I was alright, no major rashes or bumps. The tide was low and so it was decided that we could go to see the sand bar.  We immediately got into a Gemini and went towards Cinque I. We reached the sand bar in fifteen minutes. We climbed over the sand bar to see the other side. Nothing had prepared me for the sight that unfolded. It was breathtakingly beautiful. It was a feast for the eyes.

View standing on top of the sand bar (Nokia mobile pic)

Soon it was time to return from this paradise back to Chidiya tapu. We climbed again into the dongy, a tired lot and sailed out and away from Cinque. We had only gone a little ahead when we heard a warning ‘Shark.’ I looked up, in the general area where we had been snorkeling just a little while ago and saw the telltale fin of  a shark speeding along, keeping pace with our boat. We stifled any noise coming out of our mouths and watched half mesmerized, half terror struck. Suddenly the shark leaps out of the water and goes straight up, all of us shrieked, it did a flip in the air and landed with flop then.. swam away from us cutting the water with its fin once again. A babble of excitement spread through all of us, adrenaline rushing, all of us speaking at once. ‘What an unbelievable sight!’ ‘What a relief it went away.’

An amateur's attempt to capture the picture of the shark