Published: What lies beneath… India’s nascent dive industry?

Vibrant waters, ripe for conservation or destruction

My latest reporting: a magazine-style, travelogue/environmental essay published by my favorite Indian magazine, Caravan.

The piece focuses on my various experiences diving in India and asks in general whether the Indian government, environmental movement and people are in a position to conserve or consume this great underwater natural resource.

Many thanks to Dave, my editor, who gave me leeway to experiment in form and content. And to think it all started with a giddy, roof-top conversation over small cups of tea.

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Lingering devastation of the tsunami

Dead, bleached trees are the most visible legacy of the tsunami

Dead, bleached trees are the most visible legacy of the tsunami

Hut Bay, Little Andaman, which was struck by a 30-meter wall of water five years ago, still carries a few scars: now-empty beaches where homes once stood. But photographing that dramatically is a bit akin to taking pictures of something that isn’t there.

The most stark reminder: sun-bleached trees along the forest line (above) that were stripped of their leaves by the force of nature.

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We’re sorry, but Adam is unavailable right now…

Stttttrrrrrrreeeeetttccchhhhhh!

Stttttrrrrrrreeeeetttccchhhhhh!

We apologize for Adam’s lax handling of this blog of late. We assure you that he will someday soon get back to chronicling his shenanigans.

Today is January 8; Adam set this post to go live should he remain without Internet for this long. Previous posts, since December 29, have been automatically appearing without his assistance.

We believe Adam is somewhere on Havelock Island. He is probably scuba diving. The Internet generally doesn’t work under water.

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The lights of Port Blair

One-second exposure of the bay at Port Blair.

One-second exposure of the bay at Port Blair.

It’s painfully slow, but the Internet has followed me at least as far as Port Blair. I take a ferry from this lush, green, ramshackle burg tomorrow morning to an isolated beach. We’ll see if the Web comes along. (My phone however doesn’t work. Same carrier as the cell modem, but no signal.)

The above is a long exposure after sundown of the sea wall of Port Blair. Nothing stellar, but I like the “texture” of the water.

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Holiday Special: Get a post card from far away…

Friends and readers:

I’ve been far more in touch with life back home (to the point of disrupting my sleep schedule) than I thought I would be. But as I depart Tuesday for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which officially will be the most remote I’ve ever been, it’s entirely possible that I will be abandoning electronic communication for a while.

As such, now begins the 2009 Mazaa Post Card Bindaas Giveaway. Limited time only. I promise everyone who sends me their address now will receive a wicked cool post card at some point in the near future.*

Send them via e-mail: ajadhav@gmail.com. Include an update on you and yours. (To qualify, you must do so, even if you already have previously.)

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Of beaches and elephants

Since I read about the Andaman and Nicobar Islands almost eight years ago during my first backpacking trip in India, they’ve been third from the top on my list of destinations. I knocked off No. 1 (Cuba, and specifically Havana) and No. 2 (Madagascar) this year, so I’m going for the hat trick.

I leave next Tuesday via overnight train to Calcutta. From Calcutta, I fly to Port Blair, once home to the prison used by the British for undesirables during the heady years leading up to Independence.

I’ll be there for almost four weeks roaming about; I plan to return to the mainland by ship, a three- to four-day journey.

I’ve got a full list of story ideas to pursue, some of which will almost certainly be jettisoned once I feel the siren call of island life.

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