The Andaman Islands is home to South Asia’s only active volcano. Here’s why you should plan your trip.
A sight you’ve only imagined in dreams or read about in textbooks – smoke and volcanic ash flying out from an active volcano – the only one in South Asia – Barren Island.
Close to 100 kilometers from Havelock Island lies this active volcano in the Andaman Islands which can be seen from a safe distance onboard a fishing trip with M.F.V. Caiman. Rich flourishing reefs and marine life from the open oceans surround this gift of nature.
Barren Island is an island formed by solidified lava and is 3 kilometers long. The only way to access the island from the Andamans is on a chartered boat.
The boat charter trip starts early morning from the main harbor in Havelock and takes about 2 hours to reach Barren Island. The trip can be shared at the cost of Rs. 25,000 per person for a maximum of 8 travelers or the boat can be chartered exclusively at a cost of Rs. 1.2 lakh for a trip to Barren Island.
On occasion, this active volcano can be heard rumbling as it spews out ash that lands on the boat. However, those on a visit to see the volcano have nothing to worry about as they are observing the island from a safe distance and can sail away quickly onboard the M.F.V. Caiman.
The shallower reefs can be seen while sitting on the boat through the crystal-clear waters. A trained snorkeling guide is available onboard for those who want to jump in and experience a sight of a flourishing reef and unusual terrains and natural structures. Coral grows against a black background and the color of live hard coral pops out in contrast. Snorkelers have had the chance to swim with oceanic Manta Rays, Turtles and other marine life.
It will be an early morning start, just a head’s up for those who like to sleep in until later. To make the most of your trip to Barren, start bright and early. If you were leaving at 6 am, you could be at Barren by 8, depending on sea conditions. There are tea and refreshments available onboard, so don’t get delayed by trying to grab breakfast. A lunch is served on the boat later in the day as well. The cost of all of this is included in the cost of the trip. A permit charge is charged additionally for foreign nationals of Rs 2,500 per person which goes to the Andaman administration.
After spending a few hours fishing and snorkeling around Barren Island, you can dry up and get changed for a comfortable ride back. On the way to Barren Island there are regular sightings of Dolphins and they swim fast to keep up with the boat. A view of the sunset on the way back completes a perfect trip to Barren Island.