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How To Do A Day Trip To Barren Island

How To Do A Day Trip To Barren Island
A volcanic ash plume in Barren Island Photo credit: Arijay Prasad
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The Andaman and Nicobar islands, which are home to many natural treasures, also include a volcanic wonder

Vartika Srivastava
March 14 , 2023
03 Min Read

Did you know that India has an active volcano? And you can visit it and dive in the waters around it?

The volcano lies on Barren Island in the Andaman archipelago, which is about 140 miles from the city of Port Blair. The island is situated on a chain of active volcanoes that stretches from Sumatra in Indonesia to Myanmar. With reported eruptions dating back to 1787, the volcano’s existence has been known to us for centuries. However, inaccessibility and limited, poorly publicised research has long rendered the island an enigma unto itself.

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It is a restricted zone, visitors are permitted to visit here only with the consent of the Forest Department. 

The Latest Activity

The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, one of nine centres worldwide operating under the International Airways Volcano Watch, reported that ash plumes from Barren Island were identified in satellite images at 23:40 on December 30 December, 2022 and 00:50 on December 31, rising to 1.5 km (5,000 ft) above sea level and drifting southwest. Read more about it here.

Exploring the Isle

With miles of nothing but sea surrounding it, this lone sentinel keeps a solitary watch over the Andaman Sea. The foundations for the volcano are around 2,200 metres below the surface. 

The uninhabited island is a desolate area devoid of people. You may find goats feeding on the grass. And a few varieties of birds, bats, and rodents can be seen . 

Barren Island does not permit overnight stays, so you can arrange to travel there in the morning, departing as early as 4 am.

A Hidden Wonder for Scuba Diving
 
The area is still in the most pristine form due to its extreme isolation. Because of this, the surrounding area around the island are excellent locations for scuba diving in the Andaman. You can spot manta rays, intriguing basalt structures, topography created by past lava flows, and coral clumps rapidly expanding in the crystal blue water. 
 
You can read an account of a visit to Barren Island here.
 
Getting There
 
Via boat: You can use a boat service from Havelock, which is the closest to Barren Island. Private services use ferries to take small groups. They generally make a round trip (for three rotations) before returning. The journey can take 8 to 10 hours, allowing visitors to admire the island easily. Bookings that need to be made well in advance.
 
Via seaplane: Barren Island is also reachable by seaplane from Port Blair. But due to the unpredictable nature of the volcanic activities, travellers are not permitted to land there, and have to do with a breathtaking aerial view from above the water.
 
When To Go 
 
We suggest you travel between November and February to visit the island and the volcano. At this time, the site will be distinctly visible, without any smoke or ashes, due to the clear weather.
 
 
 

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