Boat from Havelock to Neil

#1 Nov 28th, 2008, 22:38
Join Date:
Apr 2008
Vancouver, British Columbia
  • ryan1983 is offline
Hi everyone,

Is it possible to take a boat directly from Havelock to Neil island? I had assumed I would be going from Havelock to Neil via Port Blair, until I took a close look at a map, and saw that the two are very close neighbours.

Can fishermen or other small-craft-operators be hired to transport tourists across such short distances?

Thanks for any help,

#2 Dec 1st, 2008, 08:45
Join Date:
Sep 2007
WESTERN australia
  • kalbarri is offline
ferry, no problem, but in the off season i don't think it was every day. private trips with fishermen, between the islands i don't know but around to snorkelling spots, yes.
#3 Jun 8th, 2009, 20:19
Join Date:
Mar 2009
  • Deli Behli is offline
There are ferries direct from Havelock to Neil, but we (and several other parties) had a lot of trouble getting onto them - so here are a few insights into what we learned from the experience (2009):

If you are in Havelock and going from Havelock to Port Blair, you can book a ticket in advance. If you are in Havelock and going to from Havelock to Neil Island, you can't book a ticket in advance - you have to show up on the day and buy the ticket an hour or so before the ferry.

The problem is that the ferry from Havelock to Neil comes in from Port Blair and is often already full up by the time it gets to Havelock. You might find that there are only 20 or so tickets available to do the Havelock-Neil part.

Many hopefuls start queueing at Havelock ferry ticket office at 7am to get a place at the front of the 'queue' for the 10am ferry tickets. Many of them still don't get on it. Once all the tickets are sold, the ticket office window is unceremoniously slammed in your face without any explanation, leaving much angst in the air with the only apparent option being to come back tomorrow and go through the same palaver all over again.

However, there are a couple of options:

Get a man to get you a ticket in advance.
But I said you can't get tickets in advance, so how does this work? Well, you can't get Havelock-Neil tickets in advance in Havelock, but you can get Havelock-Neil tickets in advance in Port Blair. So if you are in Havelock and want to avoid a lot of hassle, what you do is, a day or two before you want to travel, locate a local, err, 'tout' who provides this service. You pay him the 200Rs for your ticket plus his 150Rs service charge. He texts your name, passport number and age to his buddy in Port Blair. His buddy buys your ticket and then brings it over from Port Blair on a ferry (locals only pay ~20Rs for the ferry, so it's good business for him). Your tout collects the tickets from him and gives them to you. Job done.

There is a guy known at the bar in Pristine resort who provides this service. No doubt there are many others, too.

Having failed to get tickets three days in a row, we decided to go this 'tout' route. We know people who used it successfully, but unfortunately it didn't work for us as the tout's buddy disappeared. We got the money back, but were back to the drawing board when it came to getting tickets.

Following another unsucessful morning's queueing (they were only selling 12 tickets that day!), we were all set to pack up and go back home again, when we noticed that some of our fellow unsuccessful queuers were waiting around purposefully at the ferry gates. What eventually transpired is that a local policeman talked to the captain of the ferry when it arrived and let just about everybody who had been queueing onto the boat, charging them the full ticket price (200Rs) to get on the boat, but they had to stay on the deck outside (rather than go inside where the seats and fans are).

So that's the other option - with a bit of patience and pushing and a helpful policeman (no doubt getting his palm greased), you can get from Havelock to Neil.

It also might help explain why the guy in the ticket office is so miserable - knowing that his job is essentially pointless!

Note that there aren't ferries everyday. A few spots have ferry timetables posted up. If you don't want to schlep all the way down to the ferry terminal to try and find out the times/days, there is a list posted at Lord's Corner internet cafe (next to Pristine resort) in village 5, and at Havelock Tourist Services in village 3.

Of course there are probably times/days where there are plenty of spaces on the boat and these measures aren't needed. Good luck.

As for local fishermen - you might well find some who will take you. But keep in mind that even though it is only about half a mile from the southern tip of Havelock to Neil, only the Northern end of Havelock is inhabited, so you would have to get a boat in the North and then phut-phut-phut the entire length of Havelock before you can cross to Neil - this would probably take a good few hours and cost several hundred Rupees. The public ferry would still be your best bet, IMO.

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