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Ross and Smith: twin islands of Andaman

Ross and Smith are two islands located so close that they’re connected by a sandy patch thus, earning the name of twin islands. They are under the jurisdiction of North and Middle Andaman and the closest major town in Diglipur (about 20 km away). Boats can be booked on demand almost all days of the week from the Aerial Bay jetty.

Each boat is given a fixed time of a maximum of 3-4 hours after which the tourists have to return. Ross and Smith are only open for day trips and there is no accommodation available there. There are changing rooms and bathrooms on Smith in addition to eco huts which you can sit under.

The twin islands of Andaman, Ross and Smith are connected by a sand bar which disappears during high tides. The surrounding waters are clear and emerald green. Though not much is to be seen in terms of coral life, the quietness and the beauty of these islands is something that one continues to crave for later on.

As you get off the boat onto the beach, the beaches to your left are part of Smith Island and those to your right are Ross. As you walk from Smith to Ross, you’ll notice a change in the texture of the sand. The sand is finest in the patch that falls between the two islands and there is often a water pool there.

The Tsunami of 2004 caused a lot of damage here. The earthquake jolted North Andaman up by about a meter; evidence of the damage is visible here. The uplifting caused a lot of corals to be exposed to warmer shallow waters, causing the sensitive organisms to die out. A vast stretch of dead corals is seen on Ross and you’ll have to walk a lot to get to waters deep enough to swim in.

Ideally, you’re not supposed to collect shells from here. The “bring nothing, take nothing” policy applies to a lot of tourist places in the Andaman and must be followed, if not for the people then for the environment. However, what you need to carry is a change of clothes, waterproof sunscreen and a hat. A sunburn is extremely painful, and you shed skin like a snake afterwards!

Occasionally, currents from the open ocean bring floating debris from unknown places which get thrown up by the waves. They can be anything from a jerrycan of oil to out-of-India empty bottles of exotic alcohol. You can most definitely collect these bottles, but do hand over the oily stuff to the officials present there!


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