Monday, 14 March 2011

Tinakara Island, Lakshadweep

The morning starts with same routine of changing security details and picking up a hefty lot of fish curry and roti's for Indian breakfast.

Local cargo ship in the Agatti Is. lagoon

Meanwhile I have come down with a heavy head cold so diving is out my activities. In the afternoon we dive near Bangaram Island (SW side) and is according to all divers the best site so far. I could see bottom fairly clearly and there are deep rifts in the corals where the divers find small grottoes where the fish and other creatures hide.

Morning walk on Agatti Island

Local boat named after the pan-Islamic Indian Independence fighter

Next step in program is to set up BBQ on Tinakara Island and that takes us some time as we have to negotiate the coral reef between Tinakara and Bangaram, luckily most of it is buoyed to the resort that is at Bangaram but after that the rest goes solely on having a lookout sitting on the bow and showing the way.

Seasonal algae growth in the Tinakara lagoon

Coconut store

As we passed Bangaram a lot of people crowds the beach. According to our diveguide, Sikandar, they are local inhabitants of the Island and many have no jobs now when the resort is closed due to some business deal gone sour. The case is in court pending decision, meanwhile the resort stays closed. Well, I suppose they have gone back to their old profession of fishing and coconut harvesting.

Tinakara Island

We set up the BBQ and I walk around the Island, it is fairly big and in the middle is a couple of huts that is probably used for coconut storage and is also having signs of intermittent habitation as I can see fish hanging on a line for drying. It looked like it had been hanging there for quite awhile though.

After some time I meet a group of locals, they speak no english but with some sign language I get them to pick a few coconuts for me. The climbing technique still baffles me, I recall trying it out in 2007 in Maldives but still could not get up the trunk, I guess I'm more of a gorilla despite being born in the year of the monkey.

Coconut picking

At the beaches I can see countless empty bottles of alcohol, interesting considering Lakshadweep is a muslim community with zero tolerance policy.

William is also completing the started dive course and the two students are ecstatic having concluded their first dive.

Alok, my 3rd Officer

As the sun starts to set we pack up and make our way back to the ship, it would not be fun navigating the channel in the dark as it is lined with huge coral boulders just under the surface. Once we are in the channel we floor it and make it back just in time.

In the evening we go for night fishing with a local fish expert of some kind. No matter how many times we change fishing grounds the fish still eludes us. Eventually the night breeze becomes quite strong so we head back for the ship and call it a night.

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