DAY 6 YEP INDIA EXPEDITION
6th of February, day 6
We woke up as usual around 7 am! The weather was still very calm in Golug Ma and we saw two local fishing boats passing along side Pangaea. After a hearty breakfast we lifted up the anchor and starting to head on to Laccam Harbour, around 8Nm from our anchorage. Laccam Harbour is the village of entry for Havelock Island and for our Young Explorers it was the opportunity to meet with local people and experience the vegetable market. A great opportunity to restock the fresh produce on the boat.
The first thing we could notice on our arrival at shore were the plastic bottles, plastic bags and other garbage lying and floating around the beach. It seems that everyone dumps his trashes on the shore which results in a disgusting amount of garbage. We couldn’t figure out exactly whether this garbage is removed regularly and shipped to Port Blair or burnt on site but there certainly was no signs of any recycling campaign! What’s more, the local people were not at all concerned about this eyesore on their beautiful beaches and clearly any sustainable development of this village did not seem apparent in the near future!
As usual in Indian villages, we saw lots of dogs and goats walking around. But Havelock Island is also famous for other animals, elephants! Two were standing just in front of the police station, waiting for their masters to go to work. After a few minutes, two guys jumped on the necks of the elephants and left across the village to go into the forest.
A few hundred meters from the police station we saw a primary school. Paridhi, our local interpret, went to speak with the teachers and learnt that three kilometers down the only road going out of the village we could find a bigger college for elder students. We quickly jumped into a bus and grab the opportunity to try and speak with the students and professors about the Pangaea expedition. We were warmly welcomed and within 10 minutes, chairs and tables were ready for us on an improvised stage. Paridhi took the microphone and started to speak in front of 500 curious students. Each of our Young Explorers had to shortly present himself and show on a map where he came from. Paridhi gave them a further introduction about the Pangaea expedition and we tried also to sensitize them to the importance of respecting the environment and tried to introduce the concept of protecting the amazing nature they have around Havelock Island.
Before we left, the younger students were happy to pose for some photos with our Young Explorers. We walked down the road back to the village where we finally found a vegetable shop and where we also tried some local take away food and drink of refreshing coconut milk.
Back on the boat we lifted anchor and set sails to Inglis Island. The wind was blowing a bit stronger than in the morning. We stopped before sunset and just had the time to go on shore by day light.
After a good dinner on the boat, the real adventure would start!! At 8pm our Young Explorers were loaded back onto the dingys and dropped off at the opposite side of the island. From here they would walk across the island and make a night camp somewhere amongst nature at its purest. Mike gave the Young Explorers a thorough briefing about survival in the forest and a crash course on navigation. They left with GPS, a radio and a satellite phone and let the excited youths go. They thought they were alone… but Mike was discretely following them!
After one hour, the Young Explorers hadn’t reached the other side of the island and were moving so slowly that Mike finally decided to show himself and lead the group. A few minutes later, Mike found a nice place to set up camp for the evening. He helped our Young Explorers to set their hammocks and get ready for the night. A gentle wind and the sound of the sea gave a perfect ambiance to the camp.
Mike left the Young Explorers and gave them a meeting point for the following morning for a pick up on the beach. Our Young Explorers will have to wake up and find their way back. Let’s hope they all return unscathed by their jungle experience.