Saturday, 21 January 2012
Chhera Dip(ছেড়া দ্বীপ) is located at the southern portion of the st martin's island(সেন্ট মার্টিন দ্বীপ). A small island that looks adjacent to the main island, but it gets separated from the main island during high tide. That time the boats are only option to cross the 30-40 ft wide water barrier. Our today's plan is to go there. I am always parsimonious during traveling. So I have decided to go there and come back by feet.
We have started our walking at morning, just after the breakfast. It is at the middle of winter, but the weather here is very hot during day time. We have walked beside the white sandy beach of the island most of the time. As we have plenty of time on hand, we have wandering aimlessly around the beach. Thats why we required more than usual time to reach at the Chhera Dip(ছেড়া দ্বীপ).
When we have reached at the chhera dwip(ছেড়া দ্বীপ), it was 2:00 at afternoon. We have decided to have a fresh bath at the sea water before the lunch. This portion of the island was having less crowd interestingly. Didn't find anyone swimming at the water. So initially got confused about jumping inside water. Also the whole island was packed with numerous sharp corals. We started to find a suitable place at where we can at least swim.
We have selected a place at the south-east portion of the island. That place was having three sides were blocked with corals and only one side was open for water entering. That's why even during a low tide, the place was really tideless and tranquil. We have swam there for around 2 hours. Though the weather was hot, but the water was cold like winter. Nothing could stop us.
I have taken my swimming glass with me. Using such glass, you can easily see the underwater clearly. You just need to take a deep breath and submerge under the water. Based on your breath holding capability, you can pass around a minute under the water and observe the colorful fishes there. Scuba diving is expensive, so the swimming glass provided us a vicarious experience of scuba diving.
It was low tide before our water playing. But the water level was rising interim with day progress for the advent high tide. We had to shift our knapsacks several times for rising water. Before 40 minutes of sunset, we have leaved the place and started returning to the hotel room. we were walking at the western side of the chhera deep(ছেড়া দ্বীপ) so that we can observe the sunset.
I was walking slowly and collecting colorful sea mussels(সামুদ্রিক ঝিনুক) from the sandy beach under the golden rays of sunset. When we have reached at the joining point of main island and chhera dwip(ছেড়া দ্বীপ), it was completely separated due to high tide. Luckily the water was around 1-2 ft which we have crossed easily by a careful walking. Sun was totally gone by the time.
As the sun is down, the weather was pleasant. Few of us were tired, so we were walking slowly. I had a torch light with me, but tired to avoid that as long as we could. Trust me, it was different feelings of returning from the island after the darkness. There was no moon at sky. It was the time around null moon.
About the St Martin's Island:
This is the only coral island of Bangladesh. It is known as Narkel Jinjira to local people. Narkel Jinjira(নারকেল জিনজিরা) means the island of coconuts. Only few thousands of people use to live there. Most of those people are fisherman. Women of this island are extremely conservative. You'll hardly see any local women at the island.
How to Go:
There are several bus services available from Dhaka to Teknaf(টেকনাফ). Using one of those you have to come at Teknaf(টেকনাফ). Best service from Dhaka is Shamoli Poribohon(শ্যামলী পরিবহন). Currently the bus fare is 800 taka. Alternately you can come to Cox's bazar from Dhaka and then using local bus services you can reach at Teknaf.
From the Teknaf jetty area you can use any ship of Sent Martin Island. Eagle, LCT Kutubdia(কুতুবদিয়া), Keyari Sindbad(কেয়ারী সিন্দাবাদ), etc are the few ship for the two hour sea crusing. A round trip ticket is 450 per person. You can buy the ticket of Ship from Dhaka if you want.
If you miss your ship, you can use Trawler 100 taka per person. Or use speed boat from Shah Porir Dip(শাহ পরীর দ্বীপ). Speed boat is costly. If you have max 8 member at your group, you can hire the boat for 2000 taka.
Where to Stay:
Plenty of hotels and guest houses are available at st martin island now a days. If you are with a group of bachelor people, you may not book hotels before arrivals. But if you are with your family that case make a reservation. Few good hotels from the island are Obokash(অবকাশ), Shimana Periye(সীমানা পেরিয়ে), Prince Heaven, Sand Shore, Blue Marine, etc. I have used a six bed cottage from Blue Marine Resort. It was 3000 taka per night. Contact number of their Dhaka booking office is 0173399001.
Where to Eat:
Few hotels of St martin's Island have food facilities. Those are considerably expensive but you can taste those if you are lazy. Basically the foods from the jetty area is the cheapest from the whole island. I'd prefer to have a walk towards the jetty and have a feast.
If you do not like to arrange the tour yourself, you can use help from tourism organizations. I bought Ship ticket from this guy 01916910987.
1) If you are planning to walk, keep water with you. If you don't, then get water from villagers. They have tube-well that will give you fresh water.
2) If you get inside the water of Chhera Dwip(ছেড়া দ্বীপ), then make sure you are wearing a sandal or something, otherwise the sharp corals(ধারালো প্রবাল) will damage your feet vehemently.
3) Do not worry if you get tired or sick. A trawler service is available there for transporting tourists to main island, near your hotel.