Barren Island is 135 kms to the north of Port Blair and is situated on the crossing of which are said to be 1.8 million years old. This island just as its name is scarcely populated because of the frequent volcanic eruptions which takes place at a very short interval. However, the natural beauty and enchanting views of this island does not fail to attract the tourists to this barren place. This island is very close to an active volcano.
The first eruption on this island which was recorded dates to 1787, after that the volcano has erupted more than 10 times with the last on in the year 2017. The eruption on this island in 1991 lasted for six months causing so much of damage to the fauna of the island. The various reports still witness the harmful gas emitting from the volcano. A team from National Institute of oceanography reported, that the volcano is erupting on small intervals of 5-10 minutes. The eruption of 2017 was recorded as a 2 on the index.
Barren Island is located on the convergence seismically active Indian and Burmese plates. This island is 3 kilometers wide. All the historic and present eruptions are confined within the primitive cone of stratovolcano. The remains of the erupted volcano forms cliff around the island known as caldera.
How to reach?
Barren island is 139 kms away from Port Blair. As this island comes under the restricted zone because of the repetitive volcanic eruptions. One must start their trip around 3:00 am in the morning as it takes 5 hours to visit the Barren island through the ship. Other means for traveling are by scuba divers at Havelock island or chartered boats. Travelers can also hire a private ferry which may be very costly but manages to give a life-remembering memory.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit this place is between November-February as the climate would be moderate and clear and the traveler can have the clear view of island and the volcano.
Things to do in Barren Island
The view of crystal clear ocean water is the only thing travelers would come across over this island. Barren island is the best place to relax and rejuvenate oneself in the arms of nature and admire the coral reefs, wildlife, sharks and flora around this place. On your way back from the island tourists can indulge themselves in various sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, witness water life.
1. Scuba diving
The water bodies around Barren island prove to be a great destination for scuba diving. Being a remote island, it still offers best things to see ranging from interesting basalt formation coral gardens to variety of marine-life creatures.
2. Photographer’s heaven
The scenic beauty and serene view of the island and crystal-clear ocean water gives a photographer, the opportunity to click beautiful pictures of ocean, coral reefs, small rodents, flying fox and goats.
3. Active Volcano
See the only active volcano of South Asia which had first erupted in 1787 and the last eruption was in the year 2017. One can see the clouds of ash continuously coming from the mouth of the volcano. One should not miss to witness this breathtaking site of the volcano of Barren island.
Being a very popular tourist destination, it has many beautiful cafés and restaurants to offer its visitors delicious and unique food. Sea food is the most common cuisine available and it is interesting to know that shacks along the beach offers freshly catch sea food at very cheap prices as compared to the prices of big hotels and restaurants. One can also find the influence of Burmese and Thai culture in the food of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There is also a variety of sea food including fried fish, crabs, prawns, lobsters, etc. This place is a paradise for the sea food lover. Indian and Chinese cuisine is also available on this island. Especially, for the vegetarians there are also wide range of tropical fruits such a Banana, pineapple, etc.
Is it a safe place to travel?
According to the surveys conducted by the experts the possibility of volcanic eruption on Barren Islands is very less. Hence, it is a safe place to travel and enjoy your holiday in the nature’s beauty.
The cost can depend on the duration of your trip, your standard of accommodation; water sports activities you take part in. One can find a stay for as low as INR 5,000 or as high as INR 25,000 per night depending upon your expectations and budgets. For travelling to other islands inside Andaman and Nicobar Islands, one can opt for Chartered boats, private cruise, ferry, government operated ships and ferries. Cost for the trip can be summed as low as INR 15,000 to as high as INR 1,00,000.
Barren Island is the only active volcano in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located at the distance of 140 kilometers from Port Blair. Even today one can witness ash clouds coming out of the volcano and after sunset, one can observe red hot lava streaming down the volcano.