The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India are the perfect vacation spots for all kinds of holidays, whether it is a romantic honeymoon getaway
, or a summer retreat for a family with kids, or even a
solo trip for some peace and quiet. I was stunned by its untouched natural beauty, and quite enjoyed lying on the white sand beaches and relaxing and unwinding, with a picture perfect view of the majestic Andaman Sea. The sunshine and warm waters surely washed away all by cares.
However, it doesn’t end here; Andaman Island also offers a wide array of water-related activities for people looking for some excitement and adventure. The best and most unique of these was the Sea Walk on North Bay Island. This breathtaking patch of land is known for its abundance of corals and marine life, so much so that it is also known as Coral Island. The Andaman Sea is home to some 200 species of corals and 500 species of fish, and a lot of these are found on the reefs on this Island. There are also chances of spotting the 4 endangered species of turtles that reside here. What all of this means is that your Sea Walk experience on this island is the best ever, and I certainly found it to be my favorite activity on this island!
What is Sea Walking anyway?
No, a Sea Walk does not enable you to walk on water. What it does is even better; takes you down to the bottom of the sea and lets you walk on the sea bed, for a wise man once said, “Staying on the surface of the sea is like going to the circus and staring at the tent”.
You can slowly walk underwater like an astronaut, and explore the wonders all around you; the beautiful colorful corals, the abundance schools of fish swimming all around you, it all makes it quite a magical and fantastical experience, and is something everyone should try at least once. And the best part is that it is very easy, and there are absolutely no risks. You wear a round space suit like helmet which protects you from water pressure on the ears and lets you breathe normally as you walk around.
Gearing up for the walk of a lifetime
I started with a ferry ride to the North Bay Island, as this particular island in uninhabited, and then took a ride in a small boat to the Pontoon a little way out to sea. Before we went down there, our instructor/guide gave us a few tips, and explained about the helmet and how there is oxygen supply built in so one can breathe normally underwater without the need for masks and what not. This is extremely convenient, as the idea of breathing through tubes and masks as you do in snorkeling and diving is something that has always freaked me out.
Once we were in the water the guide put the helmet of our heads. This was probably because the helmet is otherwise too heavy and so it’s better to put it on once in the water. It is transparent so you can easily see everything when you go down, and so we dived in to explore the deep blue. You need to know swimming in order to do this, as some skill is required as the guide leads you around 10 meters down to the sea bed.
Once we were there, I was completely dumbfounded. The immensely colorful world that came alive in front of my eyes literally took my breath away. The whole experience of walking in this unusual place was totally unreal, like something out of the twilight zone. It was like being in a parallel universe where the laws of nature are reversed.
I casually strolled the sea bed, walking among massive live corals, and watching schools of fish happily swim by as if nothing was out of the ordinary; they are probably used to the throngs of tourist that take this tour every day. There were a million species of fish and so many mesmerizingly beautiful corals that I didn’t know where to look. The guides will advise you however to not touch or step on the corals, as they take 100s of years to grow, and one touch can kill them. It is best to listen to them and not harm the marine life under the sea.
The instructors had given us a bag of fish food, so I was able to feed the fish in their natural habitat. As soon as you open the bag the hungry fish so crazy, and this is the most magical experience ever, watching these excited creatures frantically swim about you like hyper children jumping around for the candy in your hand. It was like being in a fairytale, except for the bubble-head helmet of course.
You can opt to have a photographer with you as well, but you have to pay extra for this, which is usually an added Rs 500. The photographer will get some nice shots of you in these extraordinary surroundings, feeding fish and being blown away by the hidden natural beauty under the surface of the sea.
The instructor then signaled when it was time to head back, and we went back up to the Pontoon and changed. You can wear your normal clothes during this tour, so you should bring an extra pair of clothes to change into, or you can just opt to go in a wetsuit. We were then taken back to North Bay Island. The whole thing will cost you around Rs. 2700-3500 depending on the company you go to.
This was a truly amazing experience and I’m so glad I went for it. There is no better way to explore the ocean and all its wonders than becoming a part of it. If you plan to go to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
anytime soon, this must be at the top of your must-do list, so you can enjoy this truly out-of-this-world experience!