Jolly Buoy Island has been nominated as the Best Coral Island in Asia and second best, after Australian coral island, in the world. Its quality of marine life is evident even with naked eyes. As soon as you step out of the motor boat to take a free ride on a glass bottom boat, you can feel the beauty of the corals and the marine life. A small glass bottom ride lures you to witness the pristine beauty more closely and the magic of the life beneath the surface, at the island. Visit to the island gives you the full value of your money.
Wondoor Beach, part of the Mahatma Gandhi National Park, is approximately 30 KM away from Port Blair. From the beach 5-6 motor boats are available to take you to the Jolly Buoy Island. Mahatma Gandhi national park is a protected area so to visit the park you must avail a permit from Port Blair. You can visit the Island only after availing the permit. However, you can book the ticket either in Port Blair or after reaching to the beach. Yet it is best to arrange the tickets in prior, at-least, in the touristy season.
The first slot of the boats leaves the beach at 7:30 AM, whereas the second slot sails at 9:30 AM. It is best to visit the island in the first slot as the water temperature is lesser in the morning, and the marine life is more active in cooler water. Therefore, you can appreciate the aesthetic beauty more in the morning than in the afternoon during the Snorkeling or Glass Bottom Ride session.On the way to Jolly Buoy Island.
In one slot boats carry almost 400-500 enthusiastic. It takes 40-50 minute to reach to the island. A visit to the island required around 6 hours from the beach and additional one hour is required to and fro to the national park from Port Blair. Please note that the island remains closed on every Monday.
Please note that either the Jolly Buoy Island or the Red Skin Island is open throughout the year. The olly Buoy Island remains open during the touristy season, i.e. from October till Mid-May, and the Red Skin Island remains accessible for the rest of the year.
To avail the permit, to the Mahatma Gandhi National Park, you need a Xerox copy of your identity card along with your name and date of birth. The Permit cost is INR 50/- per person. Motor Boat charges for Jolly Buoy Island is INR 750/- Per Person. To book your tickets and avail permit you can either walk to the counter or ask your agent to avail the same for you. You might need to pay your agent a little extra amount, but it would surely save your time and give you the luxury to explore another place in the saved time. (Rates are subject to change in the future, prices, mentioned above, are based on the rates in Apr, 2017.)
Jolly Buoy, one among many uninhabited islands, is certainly worth your time. The government has taken special care of the island to preserve its beauty and charm. Its marine life, pristine beauty, clear water, white sand, no pollution and less crowd give you the fulfillment of luxury and the pleasure of the marine life and the corals. After a pleasant motor ride to the island, you will step into a small boat for a ride. This 10 minute boat ride gives enough indications of the spectacular marine life, available, at the island even at the 20 feet below the surface.
The government has allowed only Snorkeling and glass bottom boat ride on the island to maintain the coral lives. Even the island remains close for 6 months to allow corals to grow without any unusual harm. As it’s a plastic free zone so carrying a plastic bag is a big no. Locals follow the laws quite strictly to maintain & preserve the beauty of the island. Hence all the efforts, of the Government and the locals, have contributed in maintaining the island’s angelic beauty.
On the island, you can enjoy only snorkeline and Glass Bottom Boat Ride. Snorkeling: Based on the distance covered in the ocean, cost varies from 300 to 1000. In INR 300/- you would cover almost 300 meters in the ocean, whereas at INR 500/- distance increases to 500 meters and INR 1,000/- gives you the view of marine life 800 meters far from the coastal line. Glass Bottom Boat Ride is free if you want to ride just for 5-10 minutes, but if you want to view the marine life all around the island, it shall cost you INR 500/- (Rate as of Apr 2017). Rates, quoted, are final and non-negotiable, as the people who sailed you to the island can provide you adventure activities. 🙂
As it is a plastic free zone so your bags are checked thoroughly before boarding the boat. It is not allowed to take any chips, biscuits, & water in the plastic packages. However The Administration is lenient when you are travelling with the kids. Yet, as a tourist, we must not misuse the privilege that we have received and bring our belongings/wrappers back with us at the time of returning. You can rent a Milton bottle from the counter to carry the water with you. Please note that perishable plastic in any form & for any reason is not allowed over the island.
There is no proper place to sit, so to relax, at the island, it is best to carry either a bed sheet or a few newspapers with you. It is best to enjoy a heavy breakfast, as no eateries are available on the island. There are changing hut (Eco hut) available on the island, yet those are not well managed, so you want to carry an additional towel to change.
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