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Dance with the waves, sing with the sea at Henry’s Island

22 March, 2020 05:51:01
Dance with the waves, sing with the sea at Henry’s Island

“Life takes you down many paths but my favorite ones lead to the beach…..” Nothing could be closer to the truth for me and for all who have had the opportunity to stop over at Henry’s Island for a short weekend trip, away from the maddening cacophony of city life. An off-beat destination close to Bakkhali in South 24 Parganas, Henry’s Island is a virgin beach, nestled amid countless pisciculture projects. The ravishing island is just the place to let your hair down and relax. The rhythmic music of the sea will take care of your worries and as Christy Ann Martine suggests, “Dance with the waves, move with the sea. Let the rhythm of the water set your soul free.” 

The tiny island derives its intriguing name from a 19th-century European ornithologist, who visited the uninhabited island by chance and was overwhelmed to discover so many species of birds flocking there. He was mesmerized and fell in love with the emerald island. Soon, locals spotted the ‘loony.’ White man wandering on the virgin beach like a man possessed at all hours of the day, armed with a pair of binoculars! Thus, came the name after Henry. 

Henry’s Island still remains a favourite haunt for the feathered friends. The dense mangrove foliage surrounding the island creates a natural and safe haven for the winged species. Ancient goran, hetal, sundari and palm stand erect, guarding the land mass from the ravages of nature. The long coastline stretches endlessly and rolling waves of the Bay of Bengal crash on the shore and recede ceaselessly, making a monotonous but soothing sound. A walk through the sandy, wet beach during high tide emanates a feeling of connecting with nature. An effective natural therapy to smoothen frayed nerves. The sea is at a distance from the main island and looks like a pristine landscape painting in turquoise blue and luscious green. 

Watching the sunset/sunrise at Henry’s Island is certainly one of a kind experience. If you reach the beach early at dawn, you can witness a spectacular show of the morning sun as it shimmers on the waves and showers its golden rays on the horizon. Myriad colours keep changing in the horizon and the sea transforms into a palette for the celestial artist. Again at sunset, hues of orange slowly descend from the sea, sky and the verdant surroundings as the sun starts to recede down the horizon; There is a lighthouse at the beach and one can climb up there to get a distinct view. 

The island is the natural habitat of red crabs and it is quite a sight to watch them moving about hurriedly, thousands of them at a go. The beach turns into a red carpet for the discerning visitor. Fishing is the major commercial activity in the vicinity, and you can spend a leisurely day watching the fishermen at work. You can even coax the fishermen to sell a couple of their catch. There are two decent eateries in the area, managed by the West Bengal State Fisheries Development Corporation. You can request the cook in either of these hotels to cook the fresh catch according to your palette and they will be happy to oblige.

How to Reach:
Henry’s Island is situated at a distance of about 130 kms from the city by road. If you go another 2.5 km further, you come across the well-known sea beach of Bakkhali. The place can be reached directly via bus originating from Esplanade.

Where to stay:
Bookings for ‘Sundari’ and ‘Mangrove’ can be made directly from the website of the State Fisheries Development Corporation Limited or from Bikash Bhavan, 1st Floor, North Block, Bidhan Nagar, Calcutta: 700091. Telephone: 033 23583123 

So, get ready for a trip and hit the beach at Henry’s Island and I bet you will not be disappointed.

Story Tag:
  • Henry’s Island, Beaches of West Bengal

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