Located 400 miles from Phuket, on the west coast of Thailand, you will find the Andaman Islands, which are part of the union territories of India. Made up of over 550 islands, islets and rocks, situated in the Bay of Bengal (Indian Ocean). The Andaman islands are notable for stunningly beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, virgin forests teeming with nature, world class diving, and India’s only active volcano.
Some 36 islands in the archipelago are totally uninhabited, others are rich in aboriginal culture, such as the out-of-bounds North Sentinel where indigenous inhabitants are among the last people on earth to remain virtually untouched by modern civilization.
The Andaman Islands are a place of immense natural beauty. Forests lead down steep hillsides to rocks, hard-packed beach, white sand, or, in sheltered areas, small mangrove forests. Along the shores are fringing coral reefs where the ocean depths show their wealth of sea life.
The Andaman Archipelago is an oceanic continuation of the Burmese Arakan Yoma range in the North and of the Indonesian Archipelago in the South. The natural vegetation of the Andamans is tropical forest with mangroves on the coast. Most of the forests are evergreen but there are areas of deciduous forest on North Andaman, Middle Andaman, Baratang and parts of South Andaman Island. It is always warm, but with sea-breezes and the climate is typical of tropical islands of similar latitude.
For hikers the highest peak in the Andaman Islands is the impressive Saddle Peak. Saddle Peak stands at 725 metres and its worth hiking, even if it takes the whole day.
Port Blair and the Cellular Jail
Blair, the capital of the Andamans, is where you fly into and where we meet you before embarkation aboard the yacht. Here one can explore the remnants of the British Raj Headquarters, and visit the Cellular Jail, where Indian freedom fighters were held in the 18th Century during British colonial times – now preserved as a reminder to future generations of the Indian struggle for freedom.
Scuba Diving in the Andamans
One of the biggest attractions for visiting yachts and liveaboards is that the Andaman Islands are a scuba paradise. Dive sites here are characterised by huge fan corals, very good underwater visibility, deep vertical wall dives, pinnacles, and coral gardens with huge barrel sponges. This is also a good place to see whale sharks, manta rays, and dugong.
At places like Fish Rock, clouds of surgeons and barracuda gather in mid water. Snapper and sweetlips swarm over the rocky reef, and big fish like Giant Trevally and Bumphead Parrotfish are seen on nearly every dive. Among the best sites are isolated volcanic outposts: Narcondam and Barren Islands. Each features healthy hard corals in the shallows, but the best areas are steep drop-offs and pinnacles, where you’ll find huge barrel sponges and fans, plus stunning soft corals. Both islands have dark volcanic sand bottoms, but the substrate at Barren is particularly striking, being almost jet-black, which really emphasizes the vibrant colors of the soft corals and red encrusting sponge.
Surfing in the Andaman Islands
In April and May southern ocean swells begin to pulse through the Indian Ocean bringing surf to the west-facing Andaman coastline. First featured in Jack Johnson’s surf documentary “Thicker Than Water” the Andaman Islands are now a recognised world-class surfing destination with perfect, mostly empty waves. Charter yachts can take groups of surfers from Port Blair to the surf spots around the southern islands.
Interested in a yacht charter in the Andamans? Contact us.