Andamans


The name Andaman presumably comes from Handuman, which is Malay for the Hindu god Hanuman. The name Nicobar is Malay for land of the naked (people). There was a prison here in the British rule. The Indians imprisoned here referred to the Island and its prison as "Kala Pani".

Superb, near-deserted beaches, incredible corals and marine life, an intriguing colonial past and the remnants of a Stone Age culture lure travelers to these mysterious islands, 1000 km off the east coast of India in the Bay of Bengal.

Of the various places offering Scuba Diving in India, Scuba Diving in Andamans is one of the most scenic with crystal clear water and coral reefs teeming with fish and other water based wildlife that you might not see anywhere else in this region. These are all offered by Pugmarks under the Andaman Tour Package.

Objective of the Andaman Tour Package Camp :

This camp serves dual purpose. Learning about the natural history of the rainforests on these islands is fascinating. Anthropology is an added input – learning about the aboriginal communities – some of them having no linkages to the modern civilization. The marine life is the other fascinating facet of Andaman’s.

Geography of the Andaman :

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands comprise around 572 islands (only 36 islands are inhabited) formed by a submarine mountain range, which separates the Bay of Bengal from the Andaman Sea. The islands attain maximum altitude at Saddle Peak (730 m), formed mainly of limestone, sandstone, and clay.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands are located in the Bay of Bengal. This group of 572 islands lies 193 km away from Cape Negrais in Myanmar, 1255 km from Calcutta, and 1190 km from Chennai.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands is now a relaxed tropical island outpost that belongs to India but is geographically closer to Southeast Asia. The Andaman Islands are a group of islands in the Bay of Bengal, and are part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territory of India. Port Blair is the chief community on the islands, and the administrative centre of the Union Territory. The Andaman Islands form a single administrative district within the Union Territory, the Andaman district (the Nicobar district was separated and established as a new district in 1974).

The Andaman’s Camp takes the participants to the exotic islands of Andamans. They are exposed to the tall and lofty Harriet National Park. The rain forests here are imposing and give an insight to the ecology here. The Cellular jail visit leads the group to the tormented time that the prisoners faced. Neel Island gives an opportunity to peep into the marine wonderland. Snorkeling and also optional Scuba diving are both a life time opportunity.

Fauna

The Andaman Islands are home to a number of animals, many of them endemic.

Mammals

The island's endemic mammals include

Andaman spiny shrew (Crocidura hispida)

Andaman shrew (Crocidura andamanensis)

Jenkins' shrew (Crocidura jenkinsi)

Andaman horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus cognatus)

Andaman rat (Rattus stoicus)

The banded pig (Sus scrofa vittatus), also known as the Andaman wild boar and once thought to be an endemic subspecies, is protected by the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (Sch I). The spotted deer (Axis axis), the Indian muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) and the sambar (Rusa unicolor) were all introduced to the Andaman islands

Interview Island (the largest wildlife sanctuary in the territory) in Middle Andaman holds a population of feral elephants, which were brought in for forest work by a timber company and released when the company went bankrupt. This population has been subject to research studies.

Birds

Endemic or near endemic birds include :

Spilornis elgini, a serpent-eagle

Rallina canningi, a crake (endemic; data-deficient per IUCN 2000)

Columba palumboides, a wood-pigeon

Macropygia rufipennis, a cuckoo dove

Centropus andamanensis, a subspecies of brown coucal (endemic)

Otus balli, the scops owl

Ninox affinis, a hawk-owl

Rhyticeros narcondami, the Narcondam hornbill

Dryocopus hodgei, a woodpecker

Dicrurus andamanensis, a drongo

Dendrocitta bayleyii, a treepie

Sturnus erythropygius, the white-headed starling

Collocalia affinis, the plume-toed swiftlet

Aerodramus fuciphagus, the edible-nest swiftlet

The islands' many caves, such as those at Chalis Ek are nesting grounds for the edible-nest swiftlet, whose nests are prized in China for bird's nest soup.

Reptiles and amphibians

The islands also have a number of endemic reptiles, toads and frogs, such as the South Andaman krait (Bungarus andamanensis) and Andaman water monitor (Varanus salvator andamanensis).

There is a sanctuary 45 miles (72 km) from Havelock Island for saltwater crocodiles. Crocodiles are not only found within the sanctuary, but throughout the island chain in varying densities. They are habitat restricted, so the population is stable but not large. Populations occur throughout available mangrove habitat on all major islands, including a few creeks on Havelock. The species uses the ocean as a means of travel between different rivers and estuaries, thus they are not as commonly observed in open ocean.