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Saturday
Mar062010

Port Blair to Beach No.3 (or 5) – Havelock.

After spending the morning further exploring the shops and markets of Port Blair, we checked out of the Holiday Resort Hotel and headed for the jetty to catch the 12.30 ferry to the island of Havelock. The public ferry, I should point out, as opposed to any kind of luxurious private effort. The first obstacle encountered was the gangplank. I say gangplank because that is just, and exactly, what it was - a plank. No handrails, and a very visible drop into the sea between the quay and the ferry. As I have got older, I have come to dislike anything that involves a combination of balance and height. The combination can make me go quite white. The only other person, in the world, that is aware of this phenomenon, is MBG who observed me on the spiral staircase at the top of the rock of Gibraltar. But then again, she loves me, so there is a good chance she will keep quiet. Not too sure about John, though.

Casting off at Port Blair - they very nearly got into a nasty tangle!Therefore, after several deep breaths, I scuttled sideways down the gangplank, rather in the manner of a terrified spider-crab. Like all bad things, such as involuntary euthanasia, it was ok after that, lugging a 20Kg suitcase down to the bowels of the ship was almost a pleasure, especially as our reserved seats were empty, a rarity within any Indian reservation system.

Then there was the blackboard. It stated, quite clearly, that the ship was travelling from Port Blair, to Neil Island, and thence to Havelock. Thus, at the first docking of the ship, when we were still scouring the upper decks for suitably unobserved cigarette opportunities, John noticed a sign on the quay that was unequivocal in its greeting: ‘Welcome to Havelock’. Time to get off. Me? I would have probably have waited till Indonesia, or perhaps Fiji, but anyway we found ourselves ashore.

Welcome to Havelock!

Havelock is a large island to the east, and north, of Port Blair. Only a small proportion of the island is inhabited, and there is a small road linking the inhabited bits. At one end of the road is the port, where the ferry docks. At the other end, is Beach Number 7.  In between, fairly obviously, are beaches 1 to 6. When you land, your auto-rickshaw driver either asks you, or works out for himself, what your likely budget will be, and starts taking you around the appropriate hotels.

The real Holiday InnIn our case, we settled on The Holiday Inn (sic), which was located at either Beach No 3 or Beach No 5. I never did quite work out which, and incidentally, don’t ask me what happened to Beach No 4. They said that they were Beach No 5 so its good enough for me.

Accommodation was available in either some rather flimsy bamboo matting beach huts, or some rather more substantial huts, with their own bathrooms and running (cold) water.

My hut was third from the far end.

We, being elderly, chose the more substantial version, one each, and paid three nights in advance. We discovered that it was a, rather tiring, 30 yard walk through the coconut trees to the beach. Which was idyllic.

The beach - 30 yards from my hut.