Southern Andaman Islands

30 January 2017    Rutland South East to South Cinque Island, Andaman Islands
It was a fairly rolly night, but not too bad - apart from something “clicking” in the cupboards next to my head.  Damn irritating because it was intermittent and I couldn’t find out what was causing the noise.  After a leisurely breakfast, we upped anchor and headed towards the Cinque Islands and had a pleasant 4-mile sail with a 10-15 knot North-east wind.

There was a swell coming from the north-east and it seemed likely that the anchorage at 11°18.74N 092°42.40E would be untenable, so we headed to the south side of the island around  11°18.25N 092°42.16E.  The seas were calm and it looked like a good spot off a beach, but we couldn’t find any sand patch to drop our anchor.  To me, it all looked like rock or coral, so after ten minutes of searching, we gave up and headed south.

Two Octopii

We finally dropped our anchor at South Cinque Island in 7 metres of water at 11°15.86N  092°41.64E.  It’s a gorgeous looking bay with a white sand beach, backed by forest and some cliffs on the headland.  Even better is that our anchor is completely buried in good holding sand.

We hopped in the dinghy and went snorkelling next to some rocks near the shore to the north of our anchorage.  The water was nice and clear, but there was no coral at all - just flat rock.  However, there were plenty of fish darting about and the day was saved by Glenys finding a couple of large octopii, which were hidden in a crevice.

The way that they camouflage themselves is incredible.  One was tucked right into the corner of the crevice with just a single eye visible, while the other was a little more visible, but had altered its colours to be the same as the surrounding rock.  Interestingly the octopus on the outside had a single tentacle stretching back and touching the other one - almost like a male giving reassurance to his mate.

After lunch, we went snorkelling again on the large rocks off the point to the north of the anchorage, but again there was no coral apart from a few scattered isolated clumps on the rock.  It didn’t matter too much, we spent a happy hour diving down and looking at the plentiful fish.  There were some huge 3 foot Bumphead Parrotfish and a very photogenic Blacktip Grouper .

In the late afternoon, back on the boat, Glenys noticed some dark shapes swimming around the boat.  I grabbed my camera and lowered myself into the water to find that there was a shoal of ten Rays, with a 4 foot wing span, swimming around.  Unfortunately, the light was poor and the Rays kept a watchful distance from me, so I couldn’t get a decent photo - I think that they were Devil Rays , which are similar to Manta Rays, but smaller.  As the sun went down, a small group of Spotted Deer arrived on the beach to forage.  I like this place even though it's rolly.

Nasty Jellyfish Sting

31 January 2017    Rutland South East, Andaman Islands
A couple of days ago, I noticed a weal and a dozen spots on my right shoulder, which I assume was a sting from a jellyfish obtained when we swam around the boat after our hike.  I didn't feel the sting at the time, but over the past few days it has become inflamed and there are blisters forming on the weal.  I washed it and applied some antibiotic cream.  Later in the day, I washed it again, broke a couple of the blisters in the process and then applied some Betadine antiseptic wash.

We were planning to go snorkelling this morning, but my jellyfish sting looked so bad that we abandoned the idea and headed off for an anchorage on the west coast of Rutland Island.  Unfortunately, by the time that we got there, the wind was 15 knots from the north-west bringing 2-3 foot waves into the anchorage.

There was nowhere else close by, so we carried on for 12 miles, past Jolly Boys Island and back to Chidiyatapu West .  We anchored further west than last time at 11°30.02N 092°41.67E in 9 metres of water.  We’re very close to the Lacadive Scuba Centre and we’re hoping that my jellyfish sting will be starting to heal tomorrow and we can go for a dive the following day.

1 February 2017    Chidiyatapu, Andaman Islands
We had a chill out day.  My jellyfish sting is still looking angry, but it’s better than yesterday, so I nipped ashore and organised for us to go diving tomorrow morning with Lacadive.  

For the rest of the day, we worked on researching the Maldives.  We have various blogs and cruising notes written by other boats that have passed through the area in recent years, so we extracted information on anchorages, copying and pasting it into a summary document, which will act as our cruising guide while we are there.  We also have a set of KAP charts, which are essentially Google Earth Images.

Glenys on a mission

The Maldives has hundreds of small atolls and sand bars where it would be possible to anchor, but with only seven or eight weeks there, it will be hard to choose where to go. 

2 February 2017    Chidiyatapu, Andaman Islands
We were up at 06:15 and loaded our gear into the dinghy to go ashore for breakfast at the Lacadive Scuba Centre.  Unfortunately, there was a very low tide and it was impossible for us to get ashore, so we rang the dive shop and arranged for them to come and pick us up from Alba.  We did two dives on the north coast of Rutland Island. 

The first was called Suwarmundi and starts in a bay at 11°25.80N 092°41.01E.  From the sandy anchorage, we headed south west to the rocky reef and then headed east to the point.  There wasn’t a huge amount of coral, but there was a good variety of fish and a rocky wall where there were half a dozen Painted Lobster hiding under rocky ledges.  At the end of the dive, we were led further east across sand flats where there were Garden Eels. 

The second dive was called Stingray City and started off as a muck-dive under a pier at 11°27.64N 092°40.69E, where there were some interesting fish.  We then headed north-east across sand flats populated with rocky outcrops, numerous old tires and Bluespotted Stingray.  It was an interesting dive and we spotted a lovely little Pale Headshield Slug.

Both dives are exposed to swell and current, but you could do both dives by yourself - restrict yourself to the bay at Suwarmundi and dive under the pier - forget the sandy area. Two other dive spots in the area are the Pinnacle at 11°28.68N 092°42.21E and a Wreck at 30 metres - there’s a red mooring ball on the wreck about 150 metres to the south west of the pinnacle.  Both are exposed to current, so go at low or high tide.

We had a great day out and were treated to a nice curry lunch at the dive centre.  With our own equipment, it cost us 2,700 rupiah (£27) per person per dive and was well worth the money.