As our boat cruised towards another one of the many islands scattered all over the Andaman, the setting sun turned the sky into a crimson-red palette and one of the islands into a mysterious black silhouette.
These islands are some six to eight hours by speedboat from the mainland. While most of them have pristine white-sand beaches and fantastic landscapes, very few tourists venture out this far although fishermen and traders from neighboring countries regularly show up to trade or to seek refuge from a storm.
Some smaller islands would look like “ghost islands”, dotted by stilted thatch houses on the beach but with no single soul in them. Extended families of sea gypsies build and inhabit little communities on some islands at certain times of the year. But, being so strongly attached to the water, they totally abandon their houses for the rest of the year and spend their lives on the deep seas for as long as the weather would allow them. And then, when the sea has become too inhospitable, they build another community on whichever island the Andaman tide has taken them. Such is the cycle of life in the Andaman.