(Andaman trip – 2)
On the morning of 2nd day (17/1) we left the hotel after breakfast and proceeded to Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex jetty to take the boat to Ross island. As only last month the island’s name had been officially changed to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island, it still has not come into popular use and I will continue to use the old familiar name. The Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex offers safe water sports activities and also adventure water sports activities such as joy rides on speed boats & Jet Ski. Boats to Ross and North Bay islands ply from here. There was quite a crowd here waiting for their respective boats and only after a period of wait we got our boat. Ross island is situated 3 km east from central Port Blair and after around 15 minutes ride we reached the island. The island is under the control of Indian Navy and no civilian settlement is allowed by the authorities here.
This Island was the capital for the most of Andaman Islands from 1858 until an earthquake took its toll of the island in 1941. It was the headquarters of the Indian Penal Settlement for nearly 80 years. Then it had everything at that time like bazaar, bakery, stores, water distillation plant, church, hospital, cemetery etc, but now all of them are in ruins. In 1941, the Japanese converted the site into POW camp, and built war installations, remnants of which can still be seen, like the dilapidated bunkers with tunnels. During the period of Japanese occupation Netaji Subash Chandra Bose visited the island and hoisted the Indian tricolour at the top of the Government House. The island was reoccupied by the British in 1945 and after independence it became part of the Union territory of Andaman Nicobar islands. In April 1979, the island was handed over to the Navy, which set up a small post, INS JARAWA, named after one of the indigenous tribes of the Andaman group of islands. On 30 December 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi renamed Ross Island as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island in a ceremony in Port Blair. The island is full of palm and coconut trees and spotted deers are seen in the island. We spent our time in the island leisurely walking among the ruins wih periodical rests here and there until it was time to join the boat for the next island, North Bay Island.
North Bay Island is a beautiful beach island, placed just northwards of Port Blair. There are various adventure sport activities available at North Bay beach. These activities include scuba diving, sea walk, speed boat cruise, snorkelling etc. This is also known as Coral Island as there are corals spread over a large area underwater. Coral Safari is a semi-submarine which takes you into the deep sea in a most comfortable 100 seater cabin, fully air-conditioned. We went on this safari, watching the undersea world through the large glass windows inclined at 45 degrees. The trip was for one hour and we reached the ship for coral safari by riding a boat from the shore. After the ride we returned to the hotel for night stay.