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Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Time Event
12:21a
Diving!!!
I finally got to go diving here. It was a bit disappointing, since the
visibility is poor because of the rough water, and we had to stay close
in for the same reason. But it wasn't too bad, and I'll give it a
couple more days, although I may leave before the 2nd, to get to
mainland India sooner. It was pointed out to me that the Andamans have
no beggars-everyone is taken care of. It's been a good introduction,
though.

The boat was what they call a "donghy", and was made by hand-hewing a
dugout, and then attaching hand-hewn planks to the sides, with ribs, to
build up more freeboard. It's got a single cylinder petrol engine in
the open driving the shaft directly. The boat crew was two locals, as
was the very friendly and competent divemaster, named Jonny. The other
assistant divemaster was Austrian, and two young Swedish women and an
Israeli man were the other customers.

Our radio group was four Germans (one originally from Croatia), two from
France, two from Italy, three from the US, and one Indian. There
aren't any other Americans in the three largest lodgings on Havelock, so
now that Joe has left I may be the only one on the island.

They ran two ferries today to catch up. A small freighter (25m)
capsized two days ago, close to where we were diving today, so the
warnings were not excessive, apparently. The crew were able to swim to
safety, though.

I am pleasantly tired right now, and will read until time to try to find
some dinner companions.

Written about 14:00 local, with Jami Sieber's cello on the MP3 player.

Later, Frank showed up and we've made an arrangment for dinner. We
talked about trying to do something to get more Indian hams on the air,
as well. I've donated an antenna to the Polytechnic College in Port
Blair, and there are two licensed hams there, but they'll have no radio
after a couple of weeks. Considering the amount of equipment that was
carried in and then back out, this is not good.

17:45 local, to the sound of the roaring fans in my room.

I've decided I will move to the bamboo huts, since there's now a deluxe model available, and my friends as well as a couple of other divers are staying there. It'll be only slightly less comfortable than here, too.

21:00 local
12:21a
a catchup post from the Andamans
Behind the cut I've posted what I wrote a couple of weeks ago, just to
get on record.
Read more...Collapse )
3:29p
Sunday at the Emerald Gecko
I moved down the road to the Emerald Gecko and am now in a bamboo hut. It really is built of bamboo, with large intact bamboo structural members and panels of split bamboo. I have one of the deluxe two-story versions, with ensuite bath. I had dinner tonight with my four German friends, and two young English women, one of whom I was diving with today.

I expect much of this trip to be a lot of waiting for things to happen.
In fact, diving is often like that. I spent 5 hours in the boat today for about 1 3/4 in the water. We went out to Button Island, 2 hours each way, and must spend 1 hour on the surface between dives. I did much better today in air conservation, and wasn't the first to signal 50 bar, which is when we start ending the dive here. BTW, I was wrong about the engines in the boats- they're not petrol, but are Diesels. I spent all four hours about 10 feet from one running, and they are loud, so I put in earplugs. There's another donghy out on the sand here (low tide) that has two of those engines, side by side, and two screws. It's pretty big, but the plank sides above the dugout keel is very obvious. Jonny told me there are still trees around big enough to make these boats, and those are reserved for that purpose. I also learned he has 9 brothers and 3 sisters, his grandparents came to North Andaman about 60 years ago from Burma, and that two of the other employees of the dive operation are some of his brothers.
Tomorrow is my last day of diving here, since I need to travel to Port Blair on the 2nd to get on my flight to Chennai on the 3rd.

Frank and I wrote some emails soliciting aid to give a transceiver to the polytechnic college in Port Blair, so we'll make a special effort to get all this email out tonight.

All is well, although I've got lots of mosquito bites, and am presently hiding under a mosquito net. There was a gecko running around on top of it earlier feasting on the bugs attracted to the light just above it.

I don't know how to comment to comments by email, if it's even possible, so can't follow threads that way, b ut do read the comments that are to me in email.

This was written Sunday evening 30 April at about 20:30 local time

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