[Last updated: September 6, 2016]
Do you take non-diver bookings?
We are primarily a dive resort, not a traditional hotel or resort that people expect on vacation. Because of that, we have taken a decision to focus primarily on our core strengths- viz, catering to divers.
As such, for the period between October and May, we are no longer accepting advanced bookings (ie, more than 2 weeks in advance) for non-diving stay. We dont really have a formal policy on how many dives you need to do (nor do we expect people staying with us to dive everyday!), but the mutual understanding is that it will be a significant portion of your stay.
This wasnt an easy decision, considering all the good times we've had and good friends we've made with people who have stayed with us, but with the advent of mass tourism into the islands, we want to avoid becoming another nameless, faceless hotel with a procession of guests staying for 1 or 2 nights and then moving on. That is not what we are about, and if it means our occupancy rate goes down a little, so be it.
When are you open?
We are open year-long, both for accommodation and diving.
When is the best time of
the year to visit for fun diving?
The most popular time of the year to visit is from
December to May, when the water is warm, the sun
is shining, seas are flat and diving is the best.
Serious divers should also consider a trip between August
and November. We get occasional to frequent rain during this time (although it varies year to year, especially in August and September), but
the bulk of the monsoons are over and so the seas are quite calm. The post-monsoon warm sea means that fish population is at
its peak during this time of the year. Some of the best diving
we have done has been during this period.
Dive training can be conducted year-long.
What about June and July?
June and especially July are monsoon months, and it does rain a lot during
these months. However, even during this rainy season, there
are periods of calm mixed with occasional storms, and diving
is very much possible. Also, unlike mainland rains, the rains we get here are typically short and frequent, as opposed to heavy and long-lasting (although we do get those occasionally, they tend to happen more at night).
Surprisingly, visibility is not too badly affected
during the monsoons - and the fishlife is also at its best at this period, actually.
So provided there isnt a big storm brewing, you should be ok to dive - the only risk is whether or not we will be able to visit our remote sites at this time.
To give you an example: this FAQ was originally written in
June 2006, in the midst of the monsoons - at the time of writing,
it had been raining daily for atleast 2 hours a day and the
sky has been overcast. But the seas were flat calm, and the
diving had been very good, with the prior day's dive turning
up 2 mantas, a shark and a school of barracudas. And the past 3 monsoons (2011-2013) have had similar weather (although the seas have been middling-to-very rough, the weather has actually been very good!). As of this update, in early August 2014, we've been going out to our remote sites for all but the first week of July.
Do note that all of this applies for certified divers. For people interested in beginner courses and Intro to Scuba programs, those dive sites are accessible year long and not significantly affected by weather. So you can take advantage of our off-season discounts and the really amazing monsoon weather (how does a max of 28-30C and a min of 24-25C, with a pleasant, refreshing breeze) sound?
How do I make a booking?
Drop us an email to inquire about availability. We will reply back to you within 24-48 hours. If you would like to proceed with the booking, let us know and we will block off the rooms for you, and send you details on how to pay the deposit. Easy as that.
As we are not always by the computer and phone connection in the Andamans , email is actually an easier way to get in touch with us. And yes, we do answer emails (especially if you say nice things about dogs)!
I want to learn diving -
when should I come?
Short answer - whenever you want. Diving courses can
be conducted at any time and all the sites that we take our
Open Water students are accessible year-long (and these aren't
lousy sites by any means - our Open Water students have seen
sharks, mantas and dugongs on their training dives!)..
How does one get to the Andamans?
There are daily flights to Port Blair from
Kolkata and Chennai. Check Cleartrip.com for schedules, fare and to purchase tickets.
Most long-haul flights from Europe get into India in the
early AM - if you catch a flight that lands in Kolkata or
Chennai, you can catch a connection, early-morning flight
to Port Blair on arrival itself.
You can also take a ship from Chennai or Kolkata, but unless
you take a bunk, you wont save much over a flight ticket.
And the bunk accommodation is not recommended unless you are
a very hardy traveller.
What is the deal with getting
to and fro Havelock?
Please check the Trip Planning page for updated ferry timings. Do note that we try to keep that page as up to date as possible, but sometimes, ferry timings change at the last minute.
We arrive by ____. Can we make it to Havelock on the same day?
As long as you arrive by 13:00, there is a 2pm ferry, which is the last ferry over, and you can take that. And of course, if you are arriving earlier, there are earlier ferries as well. After 13:15, it is going to be very difficult to come to Havelock on the same day.
Our flight is at ____. Can we make it back to Port Blair the same morning?
If your flight is after 1300hrs, you CAN take the 9am ferry back to Port Blair; but as tickets for this can be a little hard to obtain, we recommend you still go back one day earlier, just to be safe.
If your flight out of Port Blair is before 1300, you have to spend the last night in Port Blair. The morning ferry gets in by 11:30 or so, and we don't recommend taking it for earlier flights.
Are you really good value?
Oh yes. We figure you are coming to the Andamans to enjoy
the islands, not the hotel amenities. So we've designed a
resort which is comfortable, clean and offers all the amenties
needed to make it a good base from which you can explore the
islands. We dont have a flat screen TV in the room, we don't have expensive carpets, nor do we use half a rainforest's worth of wood for our rooms (unlike so many so-called "eco" resorts). If you want all those things, we are not the resort for you.
Our activities are designed around the needs of the
participatory traveller - we provide a comfortable place to sleep, a good, social vibe in the restaurant/common area, the most experience dive team in the Andamans and advice on how to get the most of your time in Havelock.
You could pay a lot more for a room,
but you won't necessarily get a better experience. (sorry,
we couldn't help tooting our horn a little bit).
Tell me about the diving
[Answered by the DIVEIndia team] Ok, the word
"best diving in the world" gets bandied about a
lot. We haven't dived the entire world, but we have dived
Sipadan, Maldives, Red Sea, Florida, Carribean, North Atlantic, Mozambique,
Thailand, Mediterranean, Zanzibar, Oman and a few other places,
and as of now, we still think that the Andamans is among of
the best places we've dived. Some people may prefer Sipadan, some prefer Maldives, some prefer us.... but this is a great diving destination regardless.
There are places with more consistently clear waters (we
get 15-20m mostly, but occasional 10m days as well); there
are places with more big fish action (we do get sharks and
mantas however) - but when all is said and done, the variety
of fishlife, the wealth of coral and the overal ambience and
tranquility of the islands makes this a truly unique destination.
We are still finding new sites, and seeing fish species that
we hadn't seen before!
Most of the diving is in the 12-30m range, suitable for all
levels, but we do have a few deeper sites for the experienced
diver. We feel that there is something for everyone.
Do you have an office anywhere?
Nope. In this day and age of Internet communication,
we don't see the benefit to having a brick and mortar office
or fancy brochures (which aren't eco-friendly either). All
the information is on the web and current, and the cost savings
get passed on to you.
Do you offer tribal tours to see Jarawas or such?
No, we most certainly DO NOT offer trips to see tribals. It is exploitation, and we will not be a part of it, nor will we encourage it in any shape, way or form. Please do not ask us about it. We also reserve the right to cancel the booking, at any time (including mid-stay), of any guest who we believe is arranging an illegal tour to see the tribals.
This is something we feel strongly about and is not negotiable or open for discussion, sorry!
Is there a catch or any hidden charges?
Nope. Atleast, we don't think so. However, please read our Terms and Conditions. It contains all the fine print that we can think of. Mostly, we like to operate on the basis that we are all reasonable people, we want our guests to leave happy and we are willing to find a reasonable solution to anything that goes wrong (sadly, we do make mistakes occasionally and blaming it on the dogs doesn't always work).
What's the deal with you guys and why are you so hard to get a hold on the phone? Why dont you just have one person to handle emails and bookings?
Vinnie, who runs the resort and handles emails/bookings, is also teaching diving, handling day-to-day issues of guests staying here and staring at shiny objects (and occasionally, even taking a holiday), and that overloads the hamster the powers his brain. We could hire an anonymous person to be the bookings manager, but then we become Yet Another Faceless Resort.
So we have made the decision of answering all emails personally, and also putting all information you need to plan your trip: information on rooms, rates, how to get to Havelock, ferry timings, diving options for beginners, etc. in neat little links on the left and kept them up-to-date. This is the information you will get if you email as well - especially prices. Vinnie actually has a printout of the price list from the website and uses that for his quotes, as his brain-hamster cannot process numbers once he runs out of fingers - so the prices you see here are the prices you get.
We check email daily, and if you have an urgent inquiry, we'll get back to you as soon as possible (typically 24 hours or less, or even faster if it is really time-critical). And there is less chance of confusion and miscommunications over email. As such, we operate primarily over email.
If you have an urgent question that is not listed on the website, or need immediate asisstance, please feel free to call us. In case you cannot get through, please send a text message and we'll call you back as soon as we are free.
Please note that we do not take phone bookings, do not provide binding quotes over the phone, and most likely will not be able to give you availability information on the phone either (unless your trip is in the next few days). Did we mention - consider sending an email? :)