A stomp through the jungle

Flighty little bastard

Flighty little bastard

A few days ago, I went out hunting geckos and frogs and reptiles, oh my! with a team of researchers from Serbia/Croatia. The Andaman Islands, where I’ve been for a couple weeks, are relatively unexplored, scientifically. The researchers were doing initial scouting for a grant proposal. I was playing tag-along journalist.

I also managed to embed several spines from a random vine in my hand. Note to self: Don’t grab random plants in the jungle. They finally worked their way out today (four days later).

One key mission was to find the rare and largely unstudied Andaman Islands Day Gecko, but more about that later. In the meantime, enjoy this little guy, a common lizard.

Also, I was dark for four days, have one day near the Internet and will be mostly dark again (more scuba and remote beach time) for some time until January 8 or so. Happy New Year!

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Beasts of burden, island style

Nose hair, anyone?

Nose hair, anyone?

It was actually a rather sad visit to the Forestry Department elephant training camp on Havelock Island. Elephants chained to trees wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. Wondering what PETA thinks.

But this guy was rather frisky, even if the exposure was problematic.

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Peace on earth

Paradise found

Paradise found: Empty beaches near Kalapathar, Havelock

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Time is running out for your post card…

The 2009 Mazaa Post Card Bindaas Giveaway ends soon. Send me your U.S. mailing address — e-mailed to ajadhav@gmail.com — and I’ll guarantee you a cool post card from India.

I need addresses by December 31, 2009.

Happy Holidays.

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≤20 Seconds: Delhi’s wonderful chaos

This is the colorful, chaotic India that is old Delhi. It’s also the antithesis of my slow, island life of the last couple (and next couple) weeks.

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Have yourself an underwater Christmas

During my time away from modern telecommunications, I became a PADI-certified open water and deep water diver. It was a somewhat expensive, incredibly rewarding Christmas(ish) excursion. I find diving to be a near perfect combination of the exhilaration of exploration and the relaxation of meditation.

I also couldn’t waste an opportunity to commit journalism and reported a story on the nascent dive industry in India, a country where most children are never even taught to swim. There’s beautiful unexplored water here which, of course, creates some tension between divers, the environment and, of course, local fishermen.

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Beach art courtesy of sand crabs

Busy little crabs

Busy little crabs

Little, semi-translucent sand crabs scurry everywhere along the beaches of Havelock Island. They are heartily afraid of anything, even shadows.

But leave them enough time to themselves and they’re rather industrious in their digging. And they leave behind some fun “art.”

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Bounty of the sea

Fishing the rocky surf at Havelock's Beach No. 7

Fishing the rocky surf at Havelock's Beach No. 7

The beach in either direction was nearly deserted. The sun dipped low in the sky. Meru deliberately, slowly worked the shallows along a small rocky headland at Radha Nagar Beach on Havelock Island.

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Noticing the little things (with claws)

30-second shutter delay and he still only peeked out.

30-second shutter delay and he still only peeked out.

Taken at Havelock Island’s Beach No. 7

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Disconnected and loving it

The blog has gone dark for a reason: I severed ties to modern telecommunications for more than a week. And it was glorious.

When I came to Havelock Island for some reporting, sun and surf in a tropical Valhalla, I completely lost touch. Hell, for several days, the Internet was literally a half-hour drive from my hotel.

And when I finally did stop at a cafe, I (re)learned the painfully slow (glacier-like) reality of dial-up Internet 500 kilometers from anywhere. We’re talking pre-1998 data speeds.

So while I have had many thrilling adventures involving new friends, good food, tan lines, a deadly banded sea krait and one near-fatal (overdramatic: could have been fatal if I had freaked-out and acted utterly stupid) hiccup, the retelling of those tales will have to wait a bit longer.

I should be back to a bit more civilization (sadly) in a few days, so perhaps there will be time to recount my shenanigans then.

Happy Holidays to all.

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