Long Island: frozen in time

Long Island is a beautiful island covered by lush green forests, tidal swamps and magnificent mangroves making it a paradise for birds. It is reachable by a ferry from Phoenix Bay jetty, Port Blair and from Yerratta near Rangat. It takes about 4-5 hrs to reach this beautiful heavily forested island by ferries from Port Blair that ply on alternate days, excluding Sundays.

Visiting this island is an unforgettable experience. It is as if time came to a standstill a long time ago; you’ll feel you’ve stepped back several years. The place is quiet and laid back, and you can hear every single shrill note of the birds. Only a small part of this island is inhabited.

There is a small bazaar with barely 10-15 shops catering to the needs of the locals there. There are no roads but only four feet wide laid out pavements. Only two wheelers are to be seen.

People are simple and helpful. It is best to hire a two wheeler to take a trip around; they are available at one or two shops in the bazaar. The island has its own power house, a Senior Secondary School, a hospital and a boat building yard.

Long Island is famous for Lalaji Bay beach, a long sprawling white sandy beach, which is about a 2 hour trek through the thick forest for which a special permission is to be taken from the island’s Forest office situated near the jetty. There are only two places to stay- 1) forest guest house 2) Blue planet resort.

There are benches along the shore where one can sit and enjoy the scenery and the sunset. The benches along with the paved pathways add to the old world charm of the place. You can enjoy a walk along the bazaar road in the evening and socialize with the locals who are friendly people.

Alternately, you can enjoy hot chai and fresh samosas at one of the shops while you watch children play with stray puppies; or you can join them and chase chickens around. Long Island is the perfect place to go if one desires peace and quiet; this place shuts out all material disturbances and allows one to connect with the inner self.

A regular ferry service operates from Yerrata jetty, Rangat to Long island. It is an unforgettable experience especially for the city dwellers as the ferry cruises through the Yerrata creek lined with thick mangroves on either side; making it a heavenly 45 minutes for nature lovers.