A story of love far from the main lands. Love that involves togetherness as well as aloofness. For long, long time they stood together holding hands in hands, braving all the perils. They romance within the jade green water and lure us all with their tale.
Smith is somewhat social and maintains little worldly contacts while Ross is shy and generally remains aloof, all within itself. They love to stay close holding each other’s hands. But every day they get into a fight and separates. Followed by a patch up and togetherness again. This is their day to day story. Since the Cretaceous age, they have been romancing each other and fighting too. 🙂
Still curious about Ross and Smith? So let me reveal the true identity of Ross and Smith. These are two small islands located in the Andamans seas close to Diglipur in the North Andaman. These islands are connected by a narrow sand bridge. The most interesting and the amazing fact is this bridge is only visible during low tides.
Along with many other astonishing islands in the Andaman group of islands this pair is one. The Andaman archipelago or the Island arc was formed by the collision of the Indian Plate and the Burmese Minor Plate (the two oceanic lithospheres) some millions of years ago. From the Gondwana, the Indian plate separated and moved northward to meet the Burmese Plate. This collision resulted in subduction ( a geological process in which one edge of a crustal plate is forced sideways and downward into the mantle below another plate).
In simpler terms, it can be said the rearrangement of the layers of the plates. Thus this beautiful Island arc was formed. And so was Ross and Smith. Fishermen boats are available to ferry visitors to the Smith Island during low tides from Aerial Bay Jetty in Diglipur. Each boat with the capacity of carrying five visitors are ferried to this wondrous twin island and after a duration of two hours, the passengers are brought back by the same boat.
With Port Blair and the popular islands of Neil and Havelock becoming too much touristy these days, this twin islands is still a respite from the crowd. But there is a sad reality for any isolated destination today. We do not travel responsibly and make these places touristy and in turn harm the ecosystem. I fear, Ross and Smith may face the same consequences some day.
Permission and tickets for the boat can be done from the counter near the Aerial Bay jetty. The 25 mins ride through the blue sea is enjoyable enough. The only bothersome thing was the life jacket. Even though they are the vital safety item for any ferry. Never do I like to put on those loathsome bulky jackets. I feel crippled under the burden (in reality they are very light) of these jackets. With limited movements, I hardly managed a few clicks.
Nearing these island we could see the beautiful white sand bridge. The shy Ross on the right was under thick forest cover. This is an uninhabited island and permits are required to enter this island. The permits can be obtained from the guards in the Smith Island. Smith on the left is much larger as compared to the Ross. This Smith has very scarce and scattered human habitation which is away from this side of the beach.
There is no jetty to park your boat. The fun part of visiting any island means getting wet in its saline waters. So no fear my friend! Just jump into the knee deep transparent water and walk to the shore. There are series of loungers laid by the beach. The shade of the trees and the circular shady platforms are there to relax with the view of the sea. There is also the arrangement of fresh water to rinse off the salt after the joyful dip into the clear blue waters of the sea.
There are also facilities for changing and washroom. The green cover on the clean white sandy floor was providing a good contrast of colours. With the passage of time, the sand bridge was widening. The water was receding due to low tide. While the Smith was the hub of all the activities the Ross stood alone with its thick green rainforest.
The light transparent water here is so enticing that even water fearing people could not resist the temptation to take a plunge. Staying in the waters even for hours was not enough to satisfy. But the lonely Ross was waiting for us. Holding each other’s hand, I and my husband took a romantic walk through the sand bridge to reach Ross. It was an out of the world experience to watch the panoramic view standing in between the connecting bridge.
We could not move forward, we were spellbound and remained still soaking in the mesmerising nature. This is when our boatman gave us a call for our return. We could not go to the Ross. But just like Ross and Smith we hold our hands and boarded the boat with a promise to get back to Ross together, sometime soon.