Emerald Isles – Wildlife Photography Tour of Andaman

Explore the wildernesses of Andaman - November 11 to 19, 2017

 

  • Andaman – the name brings to mind pristine beaches, clear emerald waters, lively coral reefs and lots of sunshine. This archipelago is also home to some of the most beautiful evergreen forests. The varied habitats of the islands are thriving eco-systems, with many flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. Experience the natural bounty of these islands, up-close, on Emerald Isles – Wildlife Photography Tour of Andaman.

    On this carefully designed tour, we’ll visit wildernesses around Port Blair. And explore the forests and beaches on a rarely-visited island – Little Andaman. Many species of birds call this island their home – their only home in the whole world! Photograph these endemic birds, along with the beautiful islands they live on, under the expert guidance of the Darter Photography mentor.

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  • Tour Dates

    November 11-19, 2017


    Tour Price
    ₹ 78,650/-
    Max. Participants – 6

Overview

On this tour, we’ll get a glimpse into the different facets of the Andaman islands. And we’ll have a great time photographing all this!

There are more than 20 endemic species (and subspecies) of birds on these islands. Most live in the pristine rainforests here, including the Andaman Treepie, Andaman Shama, Andaman Woodpecker, Andaman Crake and the elusive state-bird of the islands, the Andaman Woodpigeon. There are also 5 species of owls on these islands, including the Andaman Scops Owl, Andaman Hawk Owl and the Andaman Boobook. Many species of birds – like White-breasted Woodswallow, Pacific Reef Egret, Glossy Starling and Long-tailed Parakeet – are found only here and nowhere else on the mainland in India. The rich forests are bound to keep us mesmerized as we walk under their tall canopy, looking out for endemic fauna.

We’ll visit some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. The clear waters are always welcoming, with some amazing views at sunrise and sunset. They are also amazing places to see and photograph birds like the colourful Collared Kingfisher, waders like Whimbrels and Ruddy Turnstones and the majestic White-bellied Sea Eagle.

We’ll also explore the history of this place which has played an important role in our Independence movement. The historic Cellular Jail, remembered with dread for the horrors committed within it, is also an engineering marvel with a scale that is breathtaking.

The tour itinerary is as follows:

  • Day 1 (Nov 11) – Arrival in Port Blair. Introduction and orientation sessions. Overnight in Port Blair.
  • Day 2 (Nov 12) – Explore wetlands and Chidiya Tapu. Overnight in Port Blair.
  • Day 3 – 5 (Nov 13-15) – Explore the forests of Little Andaman island (6-8 hours from Port Blair by speedboat). Overnight in Hut Bay.
  • Day 6 (Nov 16) – Return to Port Blair. Visit Cellular Jail (if there’s time). Overnight in Port Blair.
  • Day 7 (Nov 17) – Explore the forests of Mount Harriet National Park and the wetlands around Port Blair. Overnight in Port Blair. Overnight in Port Blair.
  • Day 8 (Nov 18) – Explore Chidiya Tapu/Jirgatang/Mount Harriet
  • Day 9 (Nov 19) – Tour ends. Possible visit to Ross Island, depending on flight schedules.

Is This For You?

Emerald Isles is designed for photographers of all levels of expertise – amateur and serious – who would like to photograph the natural wealth and wildlife of Andaman. As in all our tours, the group size would be limited so that the Darter Photography Expert can interact closely with every participant. Wildlife enthusiasts who are not photographers, but are keen to see and experience Andaman, are also welcome to join this group. This extensive trip, covering some of the most beautiful places in Andaman, will keep you enthralled from start to finish.

Our tour is designed in such a way that we

  • work closely with every photographer
  • help beginners understand the basic nuances of photography and get beautiful images
  • facilitate expert photographers to visit and capture the natural history of Andaman, assisting them further when necessary
  • allow wildlife enthusiasts to explore the biodiversity of Andaman.

Tour Price

The price of the Emerald Isles tour of Andaman (Nov 11 to 19, 2017) is Rs.78,650 per person (inclusive of all taxes). The tour starts and ends in Port Blair.

The price includes

  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis in air-conditioned rooms at Port Blair and Hut Bay
  • Breakfast and lunch on all days. Dinner on Days 3-5 at Hut Bay
  • Fees of birdwatching guide
  • All ground transport during the tour
  • Water transport between Port Blair and Little Andaman
  • Forest entry and still camera fees
  • Photography sessions, on-field assistance and image reviews
  • All applicable taxes

The price does not include

  • Transport from your location to Port Blair and back
  • Additional beverages, snacks and mineral water ordered at the resorts
  • Medical and insurance costs
  • Gratuities and other expenses not mentioned in the includes list above

Please note that the above itinerary is subject to favourable weather and other conditions. Also, ferries and boats at Andaman can have unpredictable schedules. In case of any obstacles, we will do our best to make alternate plans. The price of the tour or any part of it will not be refunded in the event of unfavourable conditions during the tour days.

Photography Mentor – Shreeram M V

Shreeram is a wildlife photographer, photography mentor and naturalist. His passion for exploring the diverse landscapes of India has taken him to multiple habitats – rainforests, high-altitude deserts, grasslands, rocky scrub, coasts, islands, deciduous forests. His approach to wildlife photography has evolved into telling stories about the place and its habitats, biodiversity and human interactions with nature.

He is a well-published and awarded photographer. His articles and photographs have been published in diverse print and digital magazines such as National Geographic Traveller, Sanctuary Asia, Saevus, Lonely Planet India, Terrascape and JLR Explore. He was part of the team that won the Yes Bank – Saevus Trailblazers Award in 2014 for their story on Lion-tailed Macaques of Valparai. He is currently working on a Coffee Table Book with TVS Motor Company Ltd.

He mentors amateur photographers through his organization, Darter Photography (www.darter.in), where he focuses on traveling to less explored places and habitats. He believes photography is a great bridge for people to re-connect with nature and encourages his participants to put their photography to good use in raising awareness about nature.

See some of his work at Visual Quotient

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1  – Nov 11:  Arrival in Port Blair and check-in to hotel. In the evening, the team gets together to introduce one another. We’ll then have an orientation session about the bird life at Andaman and tips on photographing wildlife in the islands. We retire early as we have an early start tomorrow. Overnight at Port Blair.

Day 2 – Nov 12: We head out to the wetlands around Port Blair to arrive in time for sunrise. A lot of water birds are active in the morning and we should get to see scores of Purple Swamphens, Common Moorhens and Lesser Whistling Ducks. Yellow and Cinnamon Bitterns try hard to camouflage themselves in the reeds close-by. White-bellied Sea Eagles soar in the skies, scanning for a juicy snack in the waters below. With some luck, we may even encounter our first endemic of the tour – the Andaman Teal. In the afternoon, we head out towards Chidiya Tapu to look for forest birds in the evening light. This forest is home to most of the Andaman endemics. After dusk, we explore the forests and farms for endemic species of owls like Andaman Hawk Owl and Hume’s Hawk Owl. Overnight at Port Blair.

Day 3 – Nov 13: Early today, we set sail to the island of Little Andaman. Around 6-8 hours away by speedboat from Port Blair, this island is rarely visited. The forests here are pristine and teeming with birdlife. We’ll explore this island over the next 3 days, starting this evening. Overnight at Hut Bay.

Days 4-5 – Nov 14-15: We start early on both days to explore the forests around Hut Bay in Little Andaman. Nicobar Pigeons, renowned for their beauty, call the depths of these forests their home. While we keep a watch for them, there are many more endemic species of birds that we might encounter here. Expect long walks (around 5-6 hours every day) as the roads through the forests may not be motorable. We’ll also spend time around the coast during low-tide to explore the diversity of life in the tidal pools. Every evening, we keep our ears open for the owls (and they are plenty of them here). Overnight at Hut Bay.

Day 6 – Nov 16: Today, we sail back to Port Blair after soaking in the solitude that is Little Andaman. After checking into the hotel, we’ll head out to the Cellular Jail in Port Blair (if we are on time). The monument, known for historical atrocities, is nevertheless an architectural marvel. And we might come across birds here too, like the Edible Nest Swiftlet. Overnight at Port Blair.

Day 7 – Nov 17:  This morning, we’ll visit Mount Harriet National Park. The beautiful evergreen forests of this park are mesmerizing – not only are they dense but the towering trees makes one feel so diminutive. The view from the top of Mount Harriett shows the extend of the canopy. This park is home to many endemic species of birds, like Andaman Cuckoo-Dove, Andaman Wood-pigeon, Andaman Serpent Eagle and Andaman Woodpecker. After sunset, we can expect to encounter 3 endemic species of Owls. Overnight at Port Blair. After lunch at Mount Harriet, we’ll drive down to the water bodies around Sippyghat. These lakes, some of them created after the tsunami, host many resident and migrant waterfowl, including the rare Andaman Teals, Long-toed Stints, White-bellied Sea Eagles, Bar-tailed Godwits, Pacific Golden Plovers and Yellow Bitterns. We’ll also visit some mangroves looking for the rare Mangrove Whistler and Ruddy Kingfisher. Overnight at Port Blair.

Day 8 – Nov 18: In the morning, we’ll visit the forests at Chidiya Tapu or Jirgatang to look for endemic species of birds, including Andaman Bulbuls, Andaman Treepies, Spot-breasted Woodpeckers and Andaman Coucals. In the afternoon, we’ll decide on Mt. Harriet or Chidiya Tapu depending on the species that we’d like to photograph.

Day 9 – Nov 19: After breakfast, if you have time before your flight, we’ll make a trip to Ross Island near Port Blair. A 15-minute boat ride takes you back in time to ruins from the British era. It is a wonderful example of how nature reclaims the area if left alone. We might also encounter birds like the Pied Imperial Pigeon, Orange-headed Thrush and the Black-naped Monarch here.
It is now time to bid goodbye to the Andaman islands. The memories will linger on in the many photographs that we’d have captured during this time, along with friends that we’d have made on the journey and the adventures we’d share with them.

Throughout the tour, we would have Andaman’s finest birdwatching guide with us. He has an amazing knowledge of endemic birds and his spotting skills and enthusiasm are an inspiration for the most avid of birdwatchers.

In addition, the accompanying Darter Photography Expert would help you with:

  • On-field assistance from a photography as well as a naturalist’s perspective
  • Sessions on photography that would help you get good photographs during the tour
  • Photography review sessions to give you feedback on your photographs

Please note that the itinerary above is subject to fair weather, boat schedules, bird sightings and other factors. Darter Photography reserves the right to make changes to the above itinerary at any point of time.

Registration Details

Write to us at register@darter.in to join the tour. Alternatively, please fill in the following form to get in touch with us regarding the tour.

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