2009 marked our 10th anniversary of professional sailing, many of them spent in remote places such as Alaska, Patagonia and the vast emptiness Southern Pacific.. That's why we decided to celebrate the occasion with a series of special cruises and expeditions, beginning with the adventure in the mythical Andaman Islands .
Join the crew of S/V Mozart in their amazing adventure in the South Atlantic and our mountain guide in his exploration of the peaks and valleys of the island where Shackleton was buried.
When: January 2016 - 14 days
Departing/returning: Phuket, Thailand
Difficulty: medium - two crossings
Budget: 200 euros pppd full board
Vessel: S/V Mozart
Captain: Wolfgang Riessbacker
|Floating in splendid isolation some 400 nautical miles north-west from Phuket in the Andaman Sea is this archipelago of over 500 islands, islets, rocks and reefs. They stretch out over a length of 430 miles and are an unparalleled destination for nature lovers and divers alike. The climate is somewhat cooler than Thailand or Burma, seabreezes further reduce the temperature. You may actually find a need for a jacket in the mornings.
The aboriginal peoples on the Andaman and Nicobar islands are of Negroid and Mongoloid stocks. The main tribes are the Onge, Andamanese, Shompen, Nicobarese and Jarawa Sentinelese. Above water the islands are a veritable Garden of Eden and a naturalists haven. The rainforests are a habitat to a vast number of plant-, bird-, and animal species, many of them unique in the world. The canopied forests themselves have an amazing variety of timbers, foliage and blooms.
The Andaman Paduk, the Yellow Hibiscus, the White Lily, the Pandanus as well as many varieties of Orchids are but a few of the over 700 species of plants to be found. Flocks of parrots, Bahminy kites, hornbills, sea eagles, and herons will delight the birdwatcher. Around sunrise one can often sight spotted deer along the shores.
Another unusual sight is the swimming elephants. After a day's work the mahouts (elephant trainers) take their pachyderms for a refreshing swim. The elephants can actually swim under water using their trunks as a snorkel!
|The most striking feature and the big attraction of diving in the Andamans is the sheer number and variety of fish one can encounter. The diving is for this reason world class.
Because of the almost total absence of commercial fishing and industrial pollution the sealife is extraordinary healthy.
One can almost lose orientation whilst swimming in vast schools of snappers or jacks. Other species one routinely encounters are mantas, tunas, grey reef and silvertip sharks as well as turtles, dolphins and occasionally whalesharks.
Reeffish and smaller life are also abundant. Excellent corals are to be found throughout the area offering opportunity for divers and snorkelers alike. Visibility you can expect to be in the 20 m+ range. You will always have the divesites to yourself as there are virtually no diveboats in the entire area.
Some of the offshore sites such as Narcondam are generally not to be recommended for the beginning diver, this due to strong currents and sometimes large swell. The inshore sites are generally suited both for beginners and more advanced divers. Permits may be required for some destinations. New divesites and splendid anchorages are continuously being discovered and explored, lending a unique expeditionary feel to these trips.
The price per person for the 2 weeks will be Euro 3,150.-
|The price includes:
• Services of Captain & Chef/Hostess
• Running cost of yacht (fuel & berthing)
• 3 main meals each day & snacks & fruits
• Coffee, tea & iced water
• Snorkeling & fishing gear
• Linen & bath towels
Prices do not include:
• Airline flights, transfers or hotels
• Holiday and medical insurance
• Yacht delivery (if applicable)
• Rental vehicles or water taxis
• Meals or drinks in restaurants
• National Park fees when applicable
The "High" season during the northeast monsoon
from November - March is the best time to sail to the
Andamans. The weather is usually settled by mid/late
December, early in the season you may encounter some
stormy conditions. January and February are the most
settled months. By about the third week in March a
southerly ground swell starts to kick in, heralding the
onset of the southwest monsoon.
On the east coast you will typically encounter
northeast or northerly winds.
There are some fairly
strong land- and sea-breeze effects, so you may often
experience northwest breezes in the afternoon especially
on the west coasts, or further south.
The climate here is lovely! Being further north, it's
much cooler than Phuket at night, but still lovely and
warm in the day time. (The range is usually between
22°C and 33°C.)
You can arrange with Port Control on VHF Ch. 16
to go to Hope Wharf (north of Chatham Is.) to take on
fuel and water. However, most yachties tend to fill jerry
cans at fuel stations or get their agent (or someone like
Ravi, see 'Contacts' below) to get the cans filled.
Likewise you can buy drinking water in large 25 litre
bottles (60R plus deposit each) which can be brought
to the dinghy dock for you to fill your tanks before
returning the bottles.
There are now several touch-screen ATMs at the
banks in Aberdeen, Port Blair. Otherwise you can still
change money or cash travellers' cheques in most large
banks and hotels.
The main shopping centre in Port Blair is Aberdeen
Bazaar. Along this road you'll find all kinds of shops. The
clock tower at the top of the hill is a well-known landmark
in navigating around town. Turn right here and you'll
find the C&C Co-op store (- almost a supermarket) great
for dried goods, spices and curry mixes. The market is
at the bottom of the hill opposite the bus station, and
you can buy a good range of fruits and veggies here.
Take the left fork out of the market and you'll get to
Pioneer Chicken. (This is not a great place for vegetarians!)
Due to a lack of homes with fridges, most Andaman
chickens are killed and dressed to order. You can get
frozen chicken here too, but the live ones are usually
Close to the Chatham anchorage, you can also get
fruits and veggies from the causeway on Chatham itself,
or just up the hill towards Haddo. (Haddo also has a
Pioneer Chicken & C&C Co-op if you don't want to go all
the way to Aberdeen.)
If you want to shop for clothes or other items, there
are also lots of good shops in the Junglighat area of Port
Many shops and restaurants are closed during the
heat of the day, so shop before 11 a.m. or after 5 p.m.
Restaurants in Port Blair
Temptation: Superlative Indian cuisine for dinner
(but still cheap.)
Gem Continental: Good tandoori and all the classics,
air con or outdoor.
The Lighthouse: Good tandoori, but open air dining
can be smelly.
||New India Café at hotel Jai Mathi: Traditional Indian lunch spot.
(Check re: licensing laws. E.g. no alcohol in New
India Café but has locals bar next door, some unlicensed
restaurants will let you BYO or buy-in from next door
Internet: More and more internet cafés are opening
in Port Blair.
Phone: It's possible to buy an Indian SIM card for
your mobile phone; go up Aberdeen Bazaar, turn right
at the clock tower and look for the air-conditioned
Emotion travel (Indian Visas)
104, Rasada Road, Phuket Town
Tel. (076) 222 320
Fax (076) 222 420
(From abroad dial +91 3192 before the phone/fax
Harbour Master: Capt. Mukherjee
Tel. 232 834 / 233 674
Fax 237 804 / 236 069
Immigration: Tel/Fax: 233 307
Customs: Tel/Fax: 233 698
Coast Guard: Tel. 232 584 Fax 240 845
Forest Department: Tel. 233 549
(For permission to visit Cinque Islands etc.)
Tel. 233358 Fax 230109
T.S.G. Tour Wings
Tel. 231894 Fax 242799
Andaman Is. Yacht Service Co.
Tel. 239398 Fax 239246
Not an agent, rather a taxi-driver-come-entrepreneur,
Ravi is the man who gets things done at Chatham.
He can organise water, fuel, boat parts, just about
anything, all for a good price. Let him know you're
coming, or simply meet him on the dinghy dock:
P N Ravi
Mobile: 943 426 2030
Port Blair Underwater: Tel. 285 389
Andaman and Nicobar Scuba Diving Society
Andaman Adventure Sports: Tel. 230 295
www.and.nic.in : general information about Andamans
www.weather.nic.in : weather
www.tmd.go.th : Thai met office, for weather covering