The abode of palm-fringed beaches, long shores, emerald ocean, and natural wonders, Ross & Smith Islands lie at a distance of 20 kilometres from Diglipur and 320 kilometres from Port Blair. Cradled in the lap of the Andaman archipelago, these twin islands orchestrate a colour play in nature’s palette that changes with the tide and the sun. One of the most sought after destinations, Ross and Smith Islands can be identified in the pictures by its symbolic natural sandbar connecting these sister islands. To preserve the environment commercial activities are not licensed. The crystal clear water surrounding Ross & Smith Islands is ideal for snorkelling and swimming. Nevertheless, in the absence of service providers for the same, visitors are encouraged to bring their snorkelling gear to explore the hidden underground gems.
One of the primary highlights to visit Diglipur is being able to cover the mystic twin islands. The oh-so-beautiful islands gained so much popularity among the travellers owing to the published articles and pictures. An aerial shot of two islands surrounded by emerald waters connected by a strip of sand has made rounds in several publications and social media. Ross & Smith Islands are two separate islands connected by a slim fifty-meter long natural sand bar where travellers get to walk from one island to the other while being surrounded by crystal clear tranquil sea. Visible during low tides, the crescent-shaped “Sandbar Beach” gets submerged during high tide. While reading up on these islands, a description like picture-perfect virgin beaches, turquoise water and tropical forests, is most likely to come up. Lush forests envelop the beach and are ideal for exploring natural hiking trails. The beaches are seldom overcrowded, owing to its remote location, and visitors can bask in the experience at their own pace.
How to reach
To avail a visit to these islands, one requires a forest permit that can be obtained from the Forest Office at Diglipur on all days barring Sunday. The entry fee imposed for the permit, is 500 INR for foreigners, 50 INR for Indian adults, 25 INR for children. To preserve and sustain the serenity of the island, the government does not permit visitors to stay back into this island. As the island is in the closer vicinity of Diglipur, one can reach Aerial Bay to travel to the island by ferry. It takes around 20 minutes to reach the island, and Dungis or wooden boats are no longer permitted, so visitors hire fibre boats.
Smith Island has a lot in store for travellers, offers ample bamboo huts, changing rooms and toilets. It’s also best suited for island camping and exploring the coastal village life. At times the wild elephants that reside in the forests can be found bathing in the sun. The most prominent highlight of the island is a Marine Sanctuary which makes it the perfect place for spotting