Ross Island is located at a distance of 2 km east of Port Blair. You can reach Ross Island by a ferry ride from Port Blair. It takes 10 minutes to reach the island. You can avail the private ferries or take a short boat ride from Phoenix Bay Jetty in Port Blair.
Ross Island is a small island extending over an area of 460 kms square but occupies a big role in the history of India. It is situated 3 kms from Portblair downtown. The island showcases significant remnants of British occupation. Ross Island was the administrative headquarters of the Andaman group of islands for 85 long years till a major earthquake tore it apart in 1941. The remnants of the rich heritage, the ruins of the great and notorious past still exist to tell tales of atrocities, sufferings, war and patriotism. The abandoned structures, the British club houses, the dilapidated churches, swimming pool, hospital, shops and bazaar all of it unfolds the ghost city of the past. The brick structures look deeply mysterious imprisoned and tightly gripped by the ever growing giant ancient banyan roots. The huge trees and an unearthly silence prevail all over barring the constant roar of the seas creating a magic, forbidden and forlorn ambience.
North Bay Island:
In Port Blair, you reach the Port Blair jetty. From the Phoenix Bay jetty adjacent to a park with cosy sitting arrangements, the snorkelling and the coral enthusiasts can take a ferry ride. Visitors should reach Phoenix bay jetty, Port Blair before 9 a.m. It takes approximately 15-20 minutes to reach North Bay Island from Phoenix jetty. The ferry tickets costs Rs.150/- per person and children below 5 years of age need no ticket. Video Camera or still camera has no extra charges.
Water sports are concentrated in the North Bay Island which is 10 kms away from Portblair and can be covered in a day trip. There are ferries connecting Portblair to North Bay Island and it takes approximately half an hour to reach the hub of various exciting water adventures.
There are several options to choose from
- Dolphin ride, an exclusive boat built using Russian technology, known to be the only one in Asia. It is provided with a glass bottom and glides on the coral reef and gives you a glimpse of the colourful and mysterious underwater life till the depth as far as the sunlight can penetrate. So it unfolds before you approximately 20 feet of deep sea experience even without wetting your nails. This is especially attractive for people who are not courageous or fit enough to go for the more adventurous scuba diving, sea walking or snorkelling.
- Banana boat ride – A long air-filled raft that carries around six or more people and is pulled by a speed boat for a bumpy ride cutting through the waves and surf. You sit with your teeth gritted and try your best to keep your balance till the speed boat swerves playfully dipping you into the refreshing waters.
- Glass-bottom boat ride – These are small fancy boats fitted with glass bottom that glide past the coral reef and gives you a chance to peep into the colourful and exotic rich sea life of the beautiful blue Andaman Seas.
- Jet ride – These are the master thrillers with a speed that kills. Go for a jet ride leaving a zooming white froth and take in the salty breeze and fill your senses. Hang on for dear life as the boat etches 45 degrees swerves. Not for the faint hearted!
- Tube ride – Where you are perched precariously in a tube and you are again pulled by a speed boat. You bob up and down and gush through a white froth and trails behind a speeding motor boat crying for life and balance.
Viper Island is located in the South Andaman district at a distance of 4 kilometers west of Port Blair. The island is named after the sunken vessel HMS Viper that met with an accident and whose ruins were discovered near the island. Viper Island bears remnants of the gallows at the top of a hillock to show that this island had once been used as the location of a Jail during the era of India’s freedom struggle. This island with the jail was abandoned once the famous Cellular Jail was built.
Viper Island is serenely peaceful and naturally beautiful. This island is situated near Port Blair jetty and is at a distance of just 20 minutes by water from the Phoenix Bay jetty. This place is of an uncanny interest to the people who are interested in the pre-independence days of India and the significant role that this island played. Tourists thoroughly enjoy the historical ruins and also the enchanting picnic spots on a backdrop of captivating natural splendour.
Among the most notorious stories that haunt this island are the ones that narrate that this jail had inhuman conditions to torment the jail inmates. It was infamous by the name Viper Chain Gang Jail in which the freedom fighters were chained together in the confines of the jail and this ‘Chain Gang’ as they were called were put into extremely hard labour. Kishore Singh Deo more popularly known as Maharaja Jagannath of Puri died in this jail in 1879. Also Sher Ali, the Pathan from Peshawar was hanged here after he assassinated the then Viceroy of India, Lord Mayo.