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Old 18th February 2014, 21:45   #1
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Default Andamans: Pristine Nature in all its glory

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

--John Masefield


Andamans: Pristine Nature in all its glory-1.jpg

Once you visit Andamans, you would never disagree with John Masefield. For, on those shores, you feel peace as soon as your toes touches the pure white sand. And the urge which draws you more and more into the ocean.

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"Andamans- You can never get enough of it"
Blurted my friend when I first told him that I am coming over for a short visit of four days.

(image courtesy: wikipedia)
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He was rather appalled. He couldn't digest it that I had planned only four days to meet up with uncle Andamans. I couldn't understand why.
I was soon to find out.

No sooner did I type in the search string, Mr Google threw me snaps in buckets and galore.
Soon I was searching for my phone to reach my travel agent to try and extend my bookings. Sadly, that did not materialize and I still had to make good with four days.

Nevertheless, I decided to make most of whatever time I had and set forth for the journey

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Last edited by dhanushmenon : 18th February 2014 at 21:49.
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Old 18th February 2014, 22:16   #2
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Default re: Andamans: Pristine Nature in all its glory

Andamans is one of the very few places I have ever visited where I did not drive to.
Not that I had an option too!!
My car still doesn't have sailing capabilities.

The flight from Chennai was at 0500 hrs, which percolated to a reporting time of 0400 hrs. Gathering my two little 'shetaans' from sleep, so early is definitely not an enviable task.

With time clutching on heels and two sleepy toddlers on tow, my wife and I just about managed to reach the airport in time for security clearance and boarding.

It is said that all your pains will be rewarded. And justice was delivered sooner than I expected.
Boy!!! the sunrise from the aircraft... Wasn't that a sight to behold?

The morning rays streaked out of a sheet of cloud, slitting the horizon as small whiffs of cirrus clouds spread beneath like scattered clusters of pearls.

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I glanced to the seats next to me.
There sleeping so peacefully were my two kids with the slant rays of rising sun painting a hue of orange on their cheeks.
I had two of the best creations on either side- Nature and Innocence.
I couldn't have asked for more.

It's true. There are some things in the world which words cannot explain.

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Old 20th February 2014, 22:58   #3
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Default Milan Display 2014

On the outset, I would like to submit that this was not my first visit to Andamans. I'd been here before; but back then it wasnt a pleasure trip. It was official.
Also back then, I didn't get much time nor had the inclination to roam around the places in the islands.
Yes, I know. Stupid me!!
I repent it now

The best time to visit Andamans, I would say is between November to February.
Immediately after March, it tends to get very hot.
And before November, it rains cats, dogs and even buffaloes in Andamans.

Jan and Feb are the months in my office where all the work and deadline rockets get extra propulsion.
Thankfully, due to my very accomodative superiors, I was able to sneak out in Feb this year.
When I landed in Port Blair, I realised that I couldn't have timed it better.
'Cos, During the days of my visit, Port Blair was also hosting a Naval Exercise called Milan.

An hour and a few phone calls later, there was no one flashing more teeth than me.
The tickets for Milan Display and the International City Parade which followed the next day were waiting for me.

So, after the long prologue, here I start my travelogue. Since the Milan came into the scheme of things, my already short stint of four days were again cut short. A recent boat tragedy in the islands got all boat services suspended.
This meant that no visit to places which included a boat ride.
So, off the equation goes Ross Islands, Jolly Buoy, Red skins and everything else which has the element of boat attached to it.
This unexpected development further curbed my flexibility of places to visit.

What remained was Carbyn's cove, Chidiya Tapu, Cellular Jail, Jogger's Park and Mount Harriet (which was accessible by a ferry)
However, I still had the topping of the cake to devour- Milan.

In the chronology of this excuse of a travelogue, I will first cover the Milan part.
'Cos, witnessing Milan is a unique experience for a visitor as it happens only once in two years.
And more than just timing to be there during the period, the entry to witness these is hard to come by.

Therefore, my effort to capture the astounding beauty of these islands through the lens will follow only later. Please allow me to hog the initial space to cover the act of the sky diving team, the bulleteers of the Indian Army and some little tit bits from the city parade.

A little insight into Milan.

MILAN is the result of an initiative by the Indian Navy in the early nineties to create a forum for the littoral navies of the region. (India, Srilanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh). This was primarily formed to exchange thoughts in the area of maritime cooperation.
The first MILAN was held in the year 1995.
The event is designed to be conducted once every two years, and every time it is hosted by Port Blair, the Headquarters of the Andaman Nicobar Command of the Indian Navy.

The congregation of navies has grown over time to include countries from South-East Asia, and the larger Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region (IOR). (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, NewZealand and Australia)
MILAN has evolved as an effective platform for social, cultural and professional interaction.

The 9th edition of Milan was conducted from 4th to 9th Feb 2014 at Port Blair. During this Milan, there were numerous activities spread over the five days including foreign ship visits, cultural programs, food festivals, displays and a city parade.

MILAN Display

There's not much to explain here.
The photographs to follow are self sufficient I believe.

The Army motor cycle dare devils, The Tornadoes, stole the show with their awe inspiring performance.

And then dropped down from the sky, the Indian Airforce Sky diving team- Akash Ganga.

There were other performances too like martial arts display by the Andaman Police, Kick boxing display by the visiting country athletes and also canine performance and display by the Police.
However, what still remains vibrant in the memory frame is the colourful sky dotted with parachutes and the roaring thump of the bullets.

They literally swept through the proceedings.

A few videos of the Army motor cycle dare devils, the Tornadoes-

Initial line up




Double scissor crossing




Scissor crossing





Last edited by dhanushmenon : 21st February 2014 at 12:20. Reason: Fixed YouTube links
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Old 21st February 2014, 11:18   #4
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Default re: Andamans: Pristine Nature in all its glory

Enough of my rant. Let the pics do the talking now.

The entry of the Tornadoes. Led by Lt Col KK Nair (in white pullover)

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Jump through the ring of fire.

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Jump over 19 persons

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Smashing the brick wall

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The Roman Salute

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The standing salute to the dignitary

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I am a ROCKSTAR!!! But I dont get a stage to perform often. So I make amends here

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Head stand with reverse ride

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Double Side stance

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I dont know what they call this...

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The horse ride

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The human triangle.

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The joker's party

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Gulp... I cant find words for this.

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When I don't get time for parallel bar chin ups, I do it on a bike...

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Proudly displaying the regimental flag

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And finally, the flutter of colours they represent

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Bye bye all...

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Last edited by dhanushmenon : 21st February 2014 at 12:28.
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Old 21st February 2014, 12:27   #5
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Default Akash Ganga- IAF sky diving team

The flag bearer of the Indian Air force

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The first landing

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short finals- before touch down

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The tri colour setting

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The incline before execution of a turn to final approach

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The final line up post landing

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Old 21st February 2014, 22:00   #6
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Default International city parade

The International City parade (08 Feb 14)

The International city parade saw the Indian Navy, Airforce and the Army showcasing themselves through various events.
This included another scintillating display of sky diving by the Akash Ganga team, A ride through by the Bullet dare devils, the Tornadoes, march past by the visiting nation contingents, Air power and operations demonstration by Airforce and Naval aircraft, Continuity drill by Airforce contingent which kept the audience on toes, Nicobari and Bhangra dance, Army and Naval band display and finally the ceremonial sunset ceremony.

No amount of snaps or words would do justice to the enthralling show they put up.
Not withstanding, attaching a few snaps:

The sky diving team being dropped from the Orange Akash Ganga MI-8 helicopter. This snap was taken at full zoom of my camera. The drop is from a height of 8000 ft. The clear skies and good visibility aided a clear shot

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Falling out of nowhere

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The chute of pride

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The tri colour being formed up

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And this is the result

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I'll fly you to the moon and back...

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A double trap and the tri colour formation

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Interesting fore ground...
I had to crane my neck to some acute angles to take this snap. Don't ask me to do it again

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The colourful flutters

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Airforce Jaguars on a high speed low pass

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Mi-8 helicopter demonstrating combat insertion. Comes in with a gemini boat onboard!!

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Gemini being lowered

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Gemini lowered and established hover

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Commandos Slithering down to the boat

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The versatile Chetak helicopter

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Last edited by dhanushmenon : 21st February 2014 at 22:09.
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Old 21st February 2014, 22:23   #7
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Default re: Andamans: Pristine Nature in all its glory

After the show stoppers in the air and water, came the show stoppers of the Indian Airforce Continuity drill team.
Boy!!! Didn't they get us on our toes!!!

Here, take a glance.



(image courtesy: open source web)

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Army bagpiper's band

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Nicobari dance

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Even the Bhangra took centre stage

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Navy Band display (image courtesy: open source web)

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The Army and Naval bands forming up for the ceremonial sunset ceremony

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Old 21st February 2014, 22:51   #8
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Default Jogger's park and Carbyn's Cove

Joggers Park

This is the only place which I know of from where you can sit back on a park bench and look down on to a runway as if you are going to make a landing on it.

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The place is best visited during sunset time or at around 7: 45- 8:00 Am when there are departing aircraft traffic.

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The park, as the name suggests, is a calm and quite place where people come over for an evening walk/ jog or to sit easy on the park bench and take in the beauty of nature.

The place is well maintained and turned out to be one favourite place for us for the singular reason of the lit up runway at night and also for the view it gave of an aircraft taking off.

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Aircraft taxiing to take off point

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Un stick

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Up...

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Up...

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And Away!!!

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Carbyn's Cove

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This is the only beach of Port Blair.
All other sea smothered shores in Port Blair are rocky and not conducive for swimming or bathing.

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Other beaches near Port Blair are in neighbouring districts and entails a little bit of travelling.

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The first thing which strikes you at any beach in Andamans is the crystal clear water

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However, my son soon was to find out that sea water is always salty, irrespective of the clarity it offers to the sea bed...

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Last edited by dhanushmenon : 21st February 2014 at 23:11.
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Old 22nd February 2014, 12:44   #9
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Default Chidiya Tapu aka Munda Pahad beach

The time spent at Chidiya Tapu (Munda Pahad Beach), I would rate as the best quality time I spent in the whole trip.

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In the lap of nature, and quality time with family.

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Especially, for the joy in the eyes of my kids. The bubbles of joy on a child's face is arguably the best tool for a disarmament campaign.

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Well, it is a whole different story that they now want to go to "that swimming pool wala beach" every other day.
My wife accuses me of having spoilt them!!

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Chidiya Tapu is a remote beach some 30 kms from the city of Port Blair.
The drive in the initial part is just normal. But as we leave the ruckus of the city, the road leads us through jungles and then onto a stretch laid just beside the expanse of the ocean.
It is hard to believe that it indeed is sea which we see. Cos, it is so calm and placid like a lake.

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Some clicks enroute

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After a relishing drive, we reached Munda pahad beach, which is the Southern most tip of Andaman Island.

Information board about the beach. Worth a read.

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The first glimpse of the beach

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The sit out benches on either side of the walk way leading to the beach.
Carved out of Pedauk wook, these wooden sofas are perfect to lean onto and leave the world behind.

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Advent of technology.
LOGIN...

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And LOGOUT!!!

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Rooted out...

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And striking that "gaze to eternity" pose.
Where the hell is the ramp??
Attached Thumbnails
Andamans: Pristine Nature in all its glory-39.jpg  


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Old 22nd February 2014, 13:14   #10
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Default Chidiya Tapu aka Munda Pahad beach

A fallen tree which lies jutting into the sea.
And yes... It is sea and not a lake. Don't be confused by the absence of waves.

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Absence of waves is one characteristic I've noticed of all beaches in the Andamans. Be it the beaches in the main island of Andamans or the beaches in the Southern most island of the island group- Campbell bay. (snap of a beach at Campbell Bay for reference)

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And all of them beaches and water, are incredibly clean.
Something which is hard to come by in our mainland

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Some snaps of Campbell bay which I had taken while I was in Andamans back in 2009.

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The trees lying on the ground and the broken walkway (pictures below) is remnant of the destruction which the Tsunami unleashed in 2004.

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On tripping point.
Lazing around with kids. (Or "lambing" around as Kochi Bhpians would call it ) figo_mba, are you reading this ??

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Be it rocks, hedges, trees or even roots... this guy will never stop climbing!!

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The beach

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Lifeguard station. Quite nice, I would say!!

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Swimming... anyone??

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The walk way across a stream which joins the sea

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Sand castles, sand castles; but a boat sits atop it

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And she waters it for nourishment too.
I need to teach her a lot!!

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And some cheerful guys took the trek and reached the tip

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And a glorious sunset, painting the horizon

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Last edited by dhanushmenon : 22nd February 2014 at 13:17.
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Old 22nd February 2014, 16:22   #11
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Default Re: Andamans: Pristine Nature in all its glory

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 22nd February 2014, 21:04   #12
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Default Re: Chidiya Tapu aka Munda Pahad beach

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushmenon View Post
A fallen tree which lies jutting into the sea.
And yes... It is sea and not a lake. Don't be confused by the absence of waves.
Let me be the first to comment!


To say that this is excellent is actually an understatement.

This is excellence personified! Truth be told.....Well! I am actually running out of adjectives, so as to describe your post. Words such as 'remarkable', 'perfect' actually fall short...

Oh! And yes! Good photography as well. Mind sharing details on the camera used?
Details about lenses?

Once again , this is excellence personified.

Cheers!

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Old 22nd February 2014, 21:15   #13
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Default Re: Chidiya Tapu aka Munda Pahad beach

Quote:
Originally Posted by FINTAIL View Post
Let me be the first to comment!


To say that this is excellent is actually an understatement.

This is excellence personified! Truth be told.....Well! I am actually running out of adjectives, so as to describe your post. Words such as 'remarkable', 'perfect' actually fall short...

Oh! And yes! Good photography as well. Mind sharing details on the camera used?
Details about lenses?

Once again , this is excellence personified.

Cheers!
Thanks FINTAIL for your extremely kind words.
"Excellence personified"??
I have already grown two inches taller

The camera used is Nikon P 510.
Its a normal camera with some flexibility of settings.
Otherwise, no additional lenses used.

And thanks again buddy.
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Old 22nd February 2014, 21:53   #14
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Thumbs up Re: Andamans: Pristine Nature in all its glory

Amazing pics and nice write-up
I love beaches and Andamans is on my list since long! Will make it there someday.

Just an observation, those bikers are wearing helmets with no 'jaw' protection
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Old 22nd February 2014, 21:59   #15
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Thumbs up Re: Andamans: Pristine Nature in all its glory

Excellent Pictures Dhanush. A very different view of Andamans from your angle. Very well put and compiled.

Thanks for sharing.

BR,
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