Check out the latest incredible adventures of Organic Passengers: Sonia and Hemanshu as they brave the elements to explore the remote paradise of Little Andaman Island.
The Journey Might Be Demanding, But In The End It Will Be Worth It!!!!!
Away from the world with barely any phone reception let alone Internet connection we were blissfully enjoying our stay on the island of Little Andaman. So much so that we decided to extend our trip on this tiny paradise & to this day we talk about returning back. Amongst all the spectacular things we experienced here, what actually became the highlight of our vacation was our trip to the Whisper Wave Waterfall or as the locals call it, “The Big Waterfall”.
Before we take you all on this incredible journey lets rewind a bit to where it all started. We boarded the ship with the intention to explore the Greater Nicobar Island but the universe totally had another plan for us. While we were on the Campbell Bay sailing away in the Indian Ocean, we met another traveller who was on his way to Little Andaman for the second time. He told us so much about the island & especially about his solo experience: trying to find this hidden waterfall, resulting in a failed attempt because of the dense forest, losing his way & enduring countless leech bites. He sparked a sense of curiosity & the urge to want to find this secret paradise.
Impulsively when the boat docked at Little Andaman at around 10pm we decided to get off with no plan at hand & no place to stay. Our new found fellow traveller friend helped us find a rickshaw & also an accommodation at the same place he was staying for the night. They say that if you set your mind to do something, the universe will find a way; all you need to do is believe. This is so true especially here in our case where we just went with what our gut told us to do. We were staying in this little hut like house with no hot water & barely any amenities, but the place truly felt like heaven. Our hosts, a very warm & friendly Bengali family at the Hawva Beach Resort was the best thing that happened to us on the island.
It has been a couple of days now, our fellow traveller friend has left the island & we’ve just cancelled our return tickets back to the main island to explore & experience Little Andaman a little more. We have been contemplating attempting to find the Big Waterfall ourselves but by now we’ve heard some pretty grim stories such as a young male traveller being lost in the jungle for more than 21 days & tales of people being bitten by crocodiles simply because they did not know which natural pool to enter into. So as brave as we wanted to be we put our wise hats on and decided to take a local guide with us who knew the forest and would make the journey a bit easier for us. We were told that this was going to be a 7 to 8 hour activity so starting early was the best approach.
We were up really early and ready for the adventure ahead when we were told that the local guide taking us had fallen ill. A bit disheartened we decided to change plans & visit a local organic farm and would venture to the waterfall another day. While we were at the farm our host Bidyut Dada rung us saying that he’d take us to the waterfall, so we quickly turned back & rode half way to meet him at a decided intersection. We couldn’t be happier and grateful that we’d finally be going to the falls.
Bidyut Dada led the way on his bike while we followed him on ours through an extremely scenic route passing by village houses, farms & an endless row of red oil fruit plantation trees. As we rode we spoke about how beautiful this route is & wondered why we were being warned. Surely it’s not as treacherous that the locals & fellow travelers make it to be…
But then suddenly from nowhere we entered the deep dense forest. It was around 10.30am but felt like late evening with barely any sunlight penetrating through the thick cover of the trees. As we rode along, the route got more and more difficult & the bikes were barely keeping up. There were fallen tree trunks and branches, hissing snakes & countless lizards all around us. We had to take several stops to cool the bikes as they were truly running in overdrive and didn’t love the road at all. The path was stony, bumpy, muddy & absolutely uneven. Hemanshu is an excellent rider but says that this was by far the most challenging ride he has ever done. None the less we absolutely loved every moment of it as it was truly a thrill seeking adventure like we’d never experienced before.
Added to all this are the hook-like thorny branches that the locals call ‘flesh pullers’ and the forest is infested with them. Infested is actually an understatement of how much there is of it. I nearly lost my eye with one almost getting stuck in my eyebrow but luckily the scarf I had on saved me. Hemanshu though wasn’t as lucky where he did not realize that a flesh puller has grabbed onto his leg, and as he rode, the thorns just ripped his flesh open.
It was a really hot day; we’re dressed to enjoy the waterfall so we both wore sleeveless tops and shorts with open slippers. An absolutely bad idea, we’ve now learnt our lesson, we know to cover up fully for next time. Wear swimwear inside, but pretty much go full military on the outside for sure. But wait there is more, did we tell you the forest is also full of blood sucking leeches? Every few meters we had to keep checking our body and ripping off leeches that had latched onto our skin and this was in summer. Imagine what it’d be like in the rainy season: hint – don’t go during the rains!
By this stage we’re in all sorts of bruises & pains but still pretty high spirited to get to the waterfall after all this effort. I had hopped onto Bidyut Dada’s bike while Hemanshu was trailing behind when suddenly we reached a fork in the way and turned left to the direction of the waterfall. After riding another few 100 meters, we realized that we’d lost Hemanshu. I definitely skipped a few heartbeats and the panic of where he could be was scaring me. Bidyut Dada made several emergency jungle calls, while I screamed out his name as loud as my lungs could go but we heard no response. We knew where we last saw him, since then there was a really dangerous and barely stable log bridge with a deep trench under it, after which was the fork in the way. All sorts of scary thoughts started running through my mind, that moment was probably the scariest in my life. Bidyut Dada asked me to stay at the same point with the bike while he went looking for Hemanshu. I said yes in the moment but immediately regretted it, as I was now alone deep in the forest, with no clue of where Hemanshu was and now Bidyut Dada is gone too. 10 minutes had now passed as I waited, prayed and hoped but no sign of either of them, 20 minutes and still nobody had come. Every second in felt like a lifetime. 30 minutes and still nothing. By now, I was in survival mode of trying to remember the way back, looking for faint tire tracks amongst the fallen branches and rocks to follow back to where we started from – but then out of no where Hemanshu & Bidyut Dada appeared on the bike! I had never felt a sigh of relief like I did in that moment and the emotion of seeing Hemanshu was like feeling alive again.
So what happened to him? Remember the flesh puller earlier that split open his leg? He was stuck behind trying to take the thorns out, which held him back while we obliviously kept riding on. After he had removed the thorns, he now safely passed the rickety log bridge but then reached the fork and cleverly decided to wait there as he was unsure which path to take. Phew! Sigh of relief; we can now continue on this saga of a journey. Finally after all this drama, a few more bruises and bites later, we reach a point after which the bikes can’t go any further.
We’re excited that we’d finally reached the waterfall when Dada told us that it’s still another few kms away by foot. So we changed gear from excitement to determination and started the final leg of this epic trek on foot.
The journey on foot was a lot of fun with Dada leading the way with a machete in one hand to cut the thick branches & fallen trees along the way. We jumped over rocks, walked on fallen logs and crossed several streams where we washed our wounds before we progressed along.
On our way Dada used his machete to cut down some wild bananas for us to taste. We’d certainly never tasted bananas like them before. Although they looked like the Honey Bananas from a fruit market, they had a slightly sweet but a rather tart tangy taste and they were heavily seeded – we’re talking big seeds like little round peppercorn sized seeds that had a tiny bit of flesh wrapped round it. Definitely a first for us, we now know what wild bananas look and taste like.
After all this adventure, about half a km later we can faintly hear the waterfall and now we can’t feel any bruises, bites or pain, the only feeling of exhilaration. We walk a bit further and finally get to this massive rock that has a huge bright green pond under it. Dada tells us that this is the base of the waterfall & the pond is known to be inhabited with crocodiles so we can’t swim in there.
We now have to climb a slippery rock to get up to the 4 other levels of the waterfall. Carefully taking each step we get to the second level, we now feel like we have been transported to a magical land where the sky is a beautiful soft blue colour, the sun is ever so radiantly shining, the forest is lush green & the pond is crystal clear. We walk by the side of the waterfall to the top most level where we had a bird’s eye view of the entire waterfall.
We now know why the locals call it the Big Waterfall; it’s truly massive and simply spectacular. We spent a couple of hours simply relaxing and rejoicing our effort to make it to this hidden gem. We had the whole waterfall to ourselves; in that moment it was just the two us in tune with Mother Nature and no one else.
We could’ve spent hours and hours in the natural pools but knew what lie ahead of us so had to make sure we started our journey back while we still had daylight. The whole trip to the waterfall took us about 3 hours and now another 3 hours of the forest lie ahead of us. We were a lot more careful on our way back, nonetheless we still got bitten and bruised but in the end it was all worth it.
The Whisper Wave Waterfall, a.k.a Big Waterfall in Little Andaman has by far been the most demanding, yet very soul satisfying adventure that we’ve been on, and this only inspires us to explore our beautiful Earth even more, and travel further to places less explored.
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