The second day started early for me, as I rose around 5 a.m. and got to witness the absolutely breathtaking sunrise view from the window in my room (at Sinclairs Bay View). We had a cruise to Neil Island at 7 a.m. and we had to get ready for that.
Cruise to Neil Island: We were to board a cruise ship, known as the Coastal Cruise in order to reach Neil Island. After checking out from Sinclairs and around halfway to the jetty we realised that we had left our packaged breakfast at Sinclairs! It was due to the carelessness of the hotel staff as well as us. We boarded the cruise without having breakfast.
The view from the window of the Coastal Cruise was just what anyone would expect on the ship. We weren’t allowed on the dock, but the seats were comfortable and we did not have any problem on the cruise.
Coastal Cruise and 54th National Maritime Day: Halfway through the cruise we learnt that 5th April is celebrated as the National Maritime Day in India! The passengers were invited to the cafereria to witness the celebration, and then we were offered cake. The captain himself invited me to come to the cockpit, and I gladly accepted. The view from the cockpit was exceptional. There were a lot of gadgets and devices, like SONAR and radars and steering and GPS. I learnt a lot from the captain about ships and mechanisms.
Silver Sand Beach Resort: Silver Sand Beach Resort is located in Neil Island. It is a 10-15 minute auto ride from the jetty at Neil. Neil is known for its corals, the first glimpse of which we got at the jetty.
On reaching Silver Sand, we checked into our rooms which were fairly big but nicely decorated. The view wasn’t nearly as good as Sinclairs because the beach was a 10 minute walk from the resort. The beach attached to the hotel wasn’t much of an attraction, it had lots of corals and the sand was rough and full of pebbles and shells. The food at Silver Sand was average, their complementary breakfast not very recommendable.
I wouldn’t say their network connection was excellent, but it was still better than Sinclairs. To jump into the nice soft bed after a cold shower was an absolute relief after the tiring cruise. Or maybe I’m just not good with ships.
Bharatpur Beach and Glass Bottom Boat ride: We went to Bharatpur beach after lunch at Silver Sand. We had asked the hotel staff to book a car for the trip, which included Bharatpur beach, Natural Bridge and Sunset Point. On reaching Bharatpur, we bought tickets for the glass-bottom boat ride. We were made to put on lifejackets, and were led to a boat which was a regular boat in all aspects except for its bottom which was fitted with a glass slab that allowed you to see underwater.
The ride was a pleasure as we saw various marine fish and corals and snakes and other sea creatures. It can make you a bit dizzy as well, if you continuously stare through the glass while the boat is moving.
Natural Bride (Howrah Bridge): No, this Howrah bridge is not the one in Calcutta, but it’s in Neil Island. It is actually a bridge like structure formed by weathering and erosion of rocks throughout the ages. The hike to the Natural Bridge was a pretty long one, and it was especially difficult for us as the high tide was in. We kept slipping on rocks and corals and I even got my foot bruised. It’s a good spot for photography, but as I had seen photographs of it before, I really did not think the hike was worth it.
I was not feeling very well after I came back from the Natural Bridge to where our car was parked. I did not have breakfast that morning, as I mentioned earlier, and I was feeling dizzy and lightheaded. We headed back to the hotel as I could not go on any further. Thus, we missed viewing the Sunset Point.
But it was okay, since later, we heard that it was cloudy and the sunset could not be viewed that day. I guess we just turned out to be lucky.
I rested at the hotel that day and ate nothing but chicken stew. Other than that, the day was peaceful.