Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cruise to lakshadweep

Organized by SPORTS
Booking agent: mintvalley kochi
Islands : Kalpeni & minicoy
Ship : MV lakshadweep sea
package : coral reef

Lakshadweep is one of the best places to travel if you would like to get away from the city for a couple of days. Nice warm shallow beaches, warm hearted people, world class facilities, amazing sea creatures and super duper food.
Mintvalley tours kochi (pretty - 0484 6062011) are one of the best agencies to reach out to for booking a slot on SPORTS. Make sure you plan your vacation a month in advance and always choose coral reef package over samudram package. Samudram is a 3 island tour with 158 co-passengers which creates unnecessary competition for fewer resources, while coral reef takes you to 2 islands with 8 passengers.
Make sure you travel by MV Lakshadweep which is one of the newest ships with world class facilities.
It is better to travel by 1st class which includes individual cabin with attached rest room comfortable bed, TV, radio, study table and window to the sea and centralized AC.  You also have an agent of SPORTS accompanying you on board the ship.
Food + tea + snacks on board the ship and islands are part of the package, which was a pleasant surprise.
The ship usually leaves by around 6pm even though the agency asks you to report by 1:30pm to sports office. Make sure you take a taxi or cab to sports office on indira Gandhi road, willington island, kochi as auto’s usually demand more than double the fare once they reach the destination and it might get ugly.
Once you reach the sports office on the second floor they offer you a complimentary t-shirt and cap and provide you with boarding pass and original bill of the trip. They then take you via auto (paid by them)to the boarding point where you and your luggage are checked thoroughly many times by the CISF, who themselves have no clue, as to what are they looking for. You are then loaded onto a bus and your luggage on a truck to the harbor.  The journey from here on is nothing but pure heaven.  Porters take your luggage to your cabin and the ship takes more than an hour to start its journey. If they leave by 6pm the first island kalpeni can be reached by 6:30 in the morning. A mechanized boat takes you from ship to the island where you are greeted by a sports agent who takes you to the report in a jeep.
Kalpeni is a peaceful island with predominately sunni Muslim population, preachers from the main land have slowly turned them into an orthodox yet peaceful population. Only men are seen everywhere while women generally stay home. Everyone speaks hindi and Malayalam. Snorkeling is the major highlight of this island as you can see corals and ornamental fishes in plenty, you also have canoeing and local sightseeing via jeep. You are also taken to local cloth factory where you get quality t-shirts at throw away price.  Make sure you buy tuna pickle from kalpeni. By 6 in the evening you are dropped back to the shore where a boat takes you back to the ship.
Minicoy is the most awesome island of Lakshadweep, I was truly taken aback by its natural beauty and the warmth of the people. Minicoy is ruled by women and they still retain their cultural identity and their way of life unlike kalpeni. Apart from snorkeling canoeing and visit to the lighthouse you also get to visit a local village. These people are a stark contrast to the city dwellers. Unity, honesty, community workmanship and selflessness are every evident in all the islanders. They speak very good hindi and malyalam and are in tune with the latest bollywood news. Their waters are loaded with tuna and islands with coconut trees. No dogs or crows on the island yet.  The boat drops you back to the ship and you reach kochi by 9am. No security check on arrival to the mainland.
Make sure you take a bottle of amla drink (concentrated vitamin C) to keep you from feeling sea sick.
Also carry an extra pair of T-shirt and tracks on the island and mineral water as well. Pics available on my flickr link.


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