After a couple of hours trying to buy tickets, we eventually managed to jump on a boat for the twenty minute ride over to Ross Island. We’d had a few days to kill before our boat to Little Andaman, and decided this would be a worthwhile escape from the heat of Port Blair.
During the British occupation of India, the Andaman Islands were used as a penal colony for political prisoners and revolutionaries who challenged the British rule. As well as a large prison on Port Blair, many of those imprisoned were forced to work for the British officers as they holidayed and relaxed at their so called administrative center on tiny Ross Island. The level of luxury they had there is quite shocking in contrast to the no-doubt horrendous conditions suffered by the prisoners, and indeed the conditions in which most of India lived, and still lives. As if it wasn’t enough being surrounded by a perfect blue sea that glows almost hypnotically in the midday sun, they had a swimming pool, a ballroom, a bakery and houses scaled up to the size of small mansions.
Despite the clear injustices of this place, and the quirky Indian signs and layout, Ross Island is now a great place to explore. Since eventually being abandoned after World War Two, nature has quickly overturned much of the island. Trees and vines wrap and warp around many of the ruins as they reach for the sun. The lush green palms and cool flashes of blue are refreshing against the decaying British architecture. And there is something peaceful and haunting about the emptiness of the large barracks and dance hall.
Later we headed back over to Port Blair in time for a few more of our favourite parotas and fish curry. The next morning we set off early and excited, for adventures on Little Andaman.
More soon on our trip....