Volume 2 Issue 31 | April 12 , 2008 |


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Journey through Bangladesh

From St. Martin’s

Mysterious Saint Martin's

Salman Saeed

Bangladesh’s paradisiacal island of St. Martin's, also known as "Narikel Jinjira" is located in the Bay of Bengal. Corals, dead and alive, are everywhere. When we visited the island, I felt that this beautiful island was in its worst condition. Every year thousands of tourists visit this island but I doubt that many of them have experienced its true beauty.

I have been backpacking around Bangladesh for many years. Going up the mountains, climbing rocks and boating is what I do when I travel to these remote parts of the country. I have experienced quite a few things that most people have not. Once I went to St. Martin's Island by swimming all the way from Teknaf and then crossing the Bangla Channel. I came to know that the beauty of this island paradise is hidden and unexplored. So this time I was prepared to see the mysterious part of the island with a different perspective.

This winter, I started my journey from Dhaka by bus to Teknaf then took a fishing boat to St. Martin's. When I reached the island I rented some snorkeling equipment from the Oceanic Scuba Diving Centre, the only scuba club in the island that provides diving service. From there I collected the necessary things and went for a beach trek to "Chera Deep" where I was camping for a night.

The next morning I woke up early and dove under water to see the world of the fishes. It was early in the morning, the sun was bright and shining and the light was good for some photography under the water. It was a great day to see the beauty of the colorful aquatic world of this island. The greatest moment was when I dove in and could see the colorful corals and the beautiful fish swimming all around me. I am sure they were all thinking of me as an alien who has just landed in their territory. The deeper I went the more excited I was feeling, naturally this was my first photographic expedition under the sea- colorful coral had lay there for ages. There were lots of fishes moving all around but it was quite difficult for me to photograph them because the fishes where too restless. At least I did have fun playing around with them. While snorkeling around with the fishes I was disappointed a few times when I saw that interference from humans activities had killed a lot of coral. There was a lot of plastic trash all over which shocked me. How insensitive can tourists be?

It is quite surprising that we have such a beautiful coral island in our country and instead of trying to protect it, we are in hurry to kill it. The real beauty of St. Martin's lies under the water not above it. So in order to keep this island living with its coral and colorful fish we need to be more careful the next time when we visit. I hope that when tourists, backpackers and whoever visits this island will take care not to spoil this gorgeous island, and take a little more care.


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