CAMPING & DIVING SAFARIS TO THE NORTH ANDAMANS INSLANDS:

Long Island:

Departure dates: Every Monday (6 people min) from Jan to Apri
Trip Duration: 4 days
Planned no. of dives: 8

Type of accommodation: Huts, with and without bathrooms.

What to expect: Long Island is a small but beautiful island, with tall tress, dense forests and a pristine beach in the north. We will be staying in a small & cosy owner-run resort a few minutes away from the beach. Rooms are clean and comfortable, but simple. The diving is great - long drift dives, superb coral and on our exploratory trip there, even a large, amorous leatherback that took a shine to Sayeed. We expect a lot of pelagic action on these dives.
To book a Long Island trip, please read the FAQ below and then plan your dates such that you have Monday-Tuesday free for the trip - you are back in Havelock on Thursday and can take the ferry to Port Blair on Friday (it may be possible to take the ferry on Thursday itself, but it isn't advised, as that is cutting things too close) and then fly on Sunday.
Also, please note that we need a minimum of 6 divers in order to run this trip. We can run it with fewer divers, but a surcharge will apply. With 4 or 5 divers, this surcharge is quite small. However, with 3 or fewer divers, the surcharge gets quite high, and while we can still run the trip if you want, odds are that the trip will likely get cancelled instead.

Mayabunder:

Trip Frequency: As per group's dates
Trip Duration: 5 days
Planned no. of dives: 9

Type of accommodation: Camping (in large walk-in tents)


What to expect: this is a nature-oriented camping trip. Meals will be simple but tasty affairs (freshly caught fish, meat stews, and similar; occasionally, we will bring in home-made Karen (Burmese) food from outside. Bottled water and beverages will be provided, as will cookies, breads and other snacks. You won't go hungry! Also, there is no electricity or running water - although we will provide fresh water buckets for daily ablutions, and there will be separate shower and toilet tents. The diving is a good mix of big and small - barracudas, trevally, turtles and occasional sharks and mantas, mixed with vibrant reefs and all the usual assortment of reef denizens.
This trip is also suitable for non-divers and nature-lovers - there are plenty of activities other than diving, including birding, croc-watching, mangrove tours and simply relaxing on our large, virtually private beach.
At present, Mayabunder safaris are for dive groups only (min 8 divers). If you are traveling in a group of 8 or more and are interested in this trip, please let us know an we will plan it for you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What does a typical itinerary look like?
Please check the Itinerary page for a sample itinerary.

2. What is the diving like?
In one word - undiscovered. As the emphasis is on new, we combine trips to known dive sites with trips to unexplored reefs. This means that there is always an unpredictable element in this trip (after all, that is what exploring is all about, isn't it). This trip is about diving, yes - but it is also a lot more. It is a chance to experience frontier diving, the way things were like when we first started diving these islands.

3. What is the food like?
Meals will be simple but tasty affairs, cooked on the beach by our staff. Breakfast will be tea, eggs and bread. Lunch and dinner will consist of freshly caught fish (hopefully), meat stews, and similar stuff that can be cooked on a campfire or on a stove; occasionally, we will bring in home-made Karen (Burmese) food from outside. Bottled water is included, as are cookies, chips, breads and other snacks. You won't go hungry!

4. What are the facilities like?
In Mayabunder, the tents are large 10ft x 10ft walk-in jobbies, with proper beds, mattresses & inflatable pillows. Each camper will also be given their own set of sheets and a towel. In Long Island, we will be staying in comfortable, clean but simple rooms - some with shared bathrooms and some with attached. Remember - you are among the first group of divers visiting these locations and this is the first time any kind of tourist amenities are being offered here (the quasi-legal beach camping of old aside). So please keep that in mind.

5. What about ablution facilities?
In Mayabunder, we will have a shower tent set up, and will provide fresh water buckets for bathing. There is also a separate long-drop toilet. In Long Island, we have traditional toilet blocks, both en-suite and shared.

6. Electricty?
In Long Island - yes. In Mayabunder - no. We will provide lanterns for each tent, so you have some means of illumination. If you need to charge anything, let us know and we'll try to make arrangements.

7. Movies, entertainment, shopping?
You're joking, right!

8. What do I need to bring?
Mosquito repellant is a good idea, as is sunblock. A Petzl or similar flashlight/torch is also recommended. We provide pretty much everything else you will need for the trip, so you don't need to bring any specialized camping equipment.

9. When are you running these trips?
For Long Island - every Monday, starting Jan 5, 2009, until the end of April 2009. For Mayabunder - as per the group's dates.

10. Who is a good candidate for this trip?
You will enjoy this trip if you like the outdoors, you like camping, you like diving and you are not too fussed about creature comforts. From our side, we don't treat this like a bare-bones camping trip and will be doing everything in our power to make your life comfortable; however, we will be essentially bush-camping, so please set your expectactions accordingly.

11. Is the diving better in Havelock or in the North?
It is difficult to say. We've been diving Havelock for quite a few years now and have discovered a lot of really special sites. However, the North shows a lot of promise - and were you to compare the diving there with the diving in Havelock at a comparable stage of development, the North is ahead. However, as we said above, this is an exploratory trip mixing previously-discovered sites with some new reefs, and the big appeal is that you never know what might turn up. If your goal is simply to have consistent diving, you're probably better off in Havelok. However, if you like the unexpected and fancy the thought of being the first person on a reef or the first diver a fish sees, this is the trip for you.

12. Any minimum number of people needed?
For Mayabunder, we need 8 people to book together as a group in order to plan the trip. Long Island trips are open to everyone, but the only caveat is that we will need 6 people in order to do the trip. If there are less people, we can still run the trips but a surcharge may apply.

13. So if 1 or 2 of us book a Long Island trip, there are no guarantees you will go?
See, our philosohpy is simple - you are taking the time and expense to come to the Andamans, so we will bend over backwards to do what it takes to make sure you have a good time. So we will try our best to make the dive trip happen - even if it is just 4 people, we will try to make the trip - but keep in mind, in such cases, the surcharge may become quite high indeed.

14. What happens if you don't go?
Well, we have come up with a special offer for guests who are staying with us, which, for a small surcharge, guarantees their room in the event that the trip doesn't go. We encourage you to explore this option, as it gives you a lot of flexibility. Otherwise, in the event that we do not go, we will help you find accommodation in Havelock.

 
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