Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Minicoy Island, Lakshadweep



Minicoy is said to the most beautiful of all the Lakshadweep Islands. Due to its geographical closeness to Maldives, Minicoy gives you the feel of being in Maldives. If you look at Lakshadweep in the map, you will notice that Minicoy is a single dot quite far from the cluster of Lakshadweep Islands. People in Minicoy speak the same language as Maldives whereas rest of the islands of Lakshadweep speaks a mixture of Malayalam, Tamil & Urdu.

Minicoy Island
Welcome to Minicoy Island !!!

Men at work
Men at work
Had good intention of getting up early to see the sun rise but all in vain. I slept like a dog. However Parth & Nikhil were up and on the upper deck to watch the sunise. But they got a shock of their lives when they discovered their DSLR’s had fogged up (AC to non AC) and were showing no signs of clearing up for at-least an hour. Both of them used my camera to take pics of the sun rise.

I got up when the announcement speaker was shouting that the canteen will be closed soon for breakfast and the disembarkement will start shortly. After a quick shower and a quick breakfast, we were ready for our first disembarkment and excited to visit Minicoy Islands.

The ship had anchored in the open sea around 5 kms from the main island because it could not go near the island as the island was surrounded by shallow lagoons. Small boats from the island came to the ship to pick us up in small batches. It was compulsory for us to wear the yellow colour “Huchilco” life jackets made in New Zealand. SPORTS staff was very warm and guided us in disembarkement.

Soon we boarded a medium sized boat and were off to Minicoy Island. As we moved closer to the shore the sea water became more and more emerald green and finally became transparent.

Disembarkement from M.V. Kavaretti
Disembarkement from M.V. Kavaretti
The sight of seeing our ship from the small boat was something to behold. As we drew closer to the island we could see the shape of the island coming into form. Then gradually we could see the greenery – which became swaying coconut trees on closer look.

Finally we reached the island and we were immediately taken to the light house in cars & pick-ups. It had started drizzling but it had stopped by the time we reached the lighthouse. Minicoy had narrow but well maintained cement roads, street lights and absolutely no litter.

Coconut Water - Welcome Drink
Our Welcome Drink

Our welcome drink was coconut water and we were then advised to see the light house.

Lighthouse at Minicoy Island
There is no ticket required for the light house but you need to pay Rs. 20 if you want to take the camera. The lighthouse offers some breathtaking views of the island from the top. Every inch of the island is covered with coconut grooves and you can see the blue sea along with the vast horizon.

View from the top of the Lighthouse
View from the top of the Lighthouse
After enjoying ourselves atop the light house we were taken to a resort. The beach was deserted with pristine clear water. White sand, clear water, untouched beauty.. it was breath taking. Also, since it was a lagoon and isolated from the main ocean the water was calm and the waves were not hitting the beach.

In the middle of no where
We were given free time till lunch to enjoy the beach & water sports. We could do kayaking (included in the package) and scuba diving (on extra charge). First we just went inside the sea… went in to feel the clear water, the soft sand, to feel the spot less beauty. After spending some time in water, Nikhil and Parth went for scuba diving and Preeti and I went for kayaking. After a while I again went for kayaking with Pramod. We kayaked to our hearts extent and then came back. It was relaxing and loads of fun (but requires lot of energy pheewwww).

Kayaking at Minicoy Island
When I looked around, I found that most tourists were busy kayaking, collecting shells, playing in the water, children just jumping in the knee deep water. The water – a beautiful shade of blue, white sandy beach, and cloudless blue sky all combined together cast a spell on the eyes of the beholder. It was so serene and pleasant that you just want to keep staring at the view, hoping the moment will never end. Just looking at it was like meditation.

By then it was lunch time. We all changed into fresh clothes and had lunch. After lunch we were given some time to relax on the beach and were then taken for sight seeing. 

Minicoy Island
Minicoy Island
We were shown a long snake boat which was made by the people of the island and which is used in the boating competition which happens between the islands.

After the evening tea and snacks it was time to leave Minicoy Island and head to our home on the sea. We got on the small boats and headed back to our ship. 

Back to M.V. Kavaretti
Back to M.V. Kavaretti
Once on the ship we freshened up and went to our favourite place of the ship (deck) to capture the stunning sunset. There is nothing like a beautiful sunset to end a fun filled day.

Taashi - Kaku Moment
Taashi - Kaku Moment
The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire.

Tangerine Sunset
Tangerine Sunset

Shades of Sky
Shades of Sky
We also had the opportunity to spend about 30 mins at the bridge of the ship. This is the place from where the ship is run (like a cockpit in an airplane). there are many instruments panels which help gauge the wind direction & speed, sonar to spot the reefs, panels reflecting the air temperature & pressure within each section of the ship, PA system and also a device which charts out the route map to your next destination. Its exciting to see the calmness with which the crew is at ease keeping an eye on all these instruments and keeping the ship on course.

Post our dinner at 8:00 pm we all enjoyed a movie of Charlie Chaplin on our laptop and went off to sleep. Tomorrow we would visit another island – Kalpeni Island.

Points to remember:
  • We went to Lakshadweep Island through Lakshadweep Samundram Package which is a five day cruise to visit the islands of Minicoy, Kalpeni and Kavaretti by ship M.V. Kavaretti. The package is arranged by The Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports (SPORTS), a Government undertaking. The island tour is organized during the day with lunch and refreshments ashore. Nights are spent on board the ship. M.V Kavaratti has 150 Diamond class accommodations. Swimming, snorkeling and other water sports are arranged during the day tour. Children from 1 year and above up to 10 years will be treated as child.
Package include:
  1. First class cabin accommodation
  2. All 3 time meals [breakfast Lunch and Dinner] morning and evening tea or coffee
  3. Welcome drink at the island.
  4. All 3 island sightseeing.
  5. Water sports Kayaking Snorkeling and glass boat 1 time 
  6. Entry permit and Entry Ticket
  7. Compliment T Shirts and Caps
  8. All the Government taxes.
  9. Our personal assistance on the ship and Island
Please note scuba diving is not included in the package. You can avail scuba diving by paying at the scuba diving center.
  • There is no mobile network on the ship and on the islands except of BSNL. So, say goodbye to facebook, watsapp, twitter or whatever else that you are hooked to. You might find network on Kavaretti Island.
  • If you get sea sick, kindly take your medication along.
  • Foreigners are not allowed in Lakshadweep, except on Bangaram Island.
  • Lakshadweep is a no plastic zone. Please don’t litter.
  • You are not allowed to carry corrals. It’s a punishable act.
  • Expense Details of the day:

Expense Particulars
Amount for 4 people
Amount per head
Scuba Diving

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