‘Life takes you down many paths, but the best ones lead you to a beach.‘
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved the sea. I like the feeling of vastness that it brings and also its contrasts from being a raging, tiding entity to a calm saint. Wordy talk apart, I love beaches.
One of the best beaches I’ve been to is the Tarkarli Beach in Malvan, India. This was nearly an eight hour drive from my city of Pune but the hours in the car were rewarded with a fresh burst of Sea Breeze™.
Tarkarli is a coastal village in the state of Maharashtra, facing the Arabian Sea and known for its white-sand beaches. It is also quite a popular scuba diving spot, which was primarily the reason for our visit as no one in the family had tried scuba diving earlier.
The moment we reached the village, we were greeted by a huge stretch of beach and open sea.
We stayed in a cottage nestled in the palm groves fringing the beach. This was the first time I’d actually stayed in a beach hotel and it was literally the best thing ever. Besides, our cottage looked like a ship.
The rooms were on the top landing and the fun part was that the walls were made of wood so it literally felt as though we were living in an actual ship. Considering this was on the beach, each cottage had a tap at the door for guests to was their feet before entering to prevent the floor from getting sandy. This was a great step to maintain cleanliness. Besides, using these taps often formed a small puddle and you could see tiny, baby crabs scurrying into the tiny pools and cooling off before heading back onto the sand. These crabs were very well mannered as not one of them would bite and under no circumstances would they stray into the room. Hehe. That’s capital coexistence right there!
Also, I love the little sit-outs right outside the cottage where you could enjoy a nice meal of seafood or even a cool drink to the sound of the sea.
This was a very interesting thing that our hotel did. These isolated pools of sea water are used to collect salt. It’s amazing how a pool of sea water can actually amount to the huge heaps of salt which surround it. I like how the village makes an innovative effort to make salt out of its abundant resource. Living in the city, one often dismisses the efforts towards proper utilisation of natural resources that’s carried out in small villages.
As I mentioned earlier, Tarkarli is quite a popular place for scuba diving. This was the first activity on our itinerary and our first dive was scheduled the day after we arrived. The instructors arrived at around ten thirty in the morning and took us to a ferry which was at a rocky beach, a short drive away from our hotel. Our first dive was to be a training dive in comparatively shallow sea so the ferry took us to a point near a fort called the Sindhudurg Fort for the trial.
Before I begin about the dive, here’s a bit of history: The Sindhudurg Fort was built by Shivaji Maharaj, who was the ruler of Maharashtra in the 17th century. It was built to curb invasions and attacks by foreign merchants in India and also to protect the kingdom from local invaders. During the British rule, this fort was captured and renamed to Fort Augustus however its old name, Sindhudurg still stands.
The fort has a natural barrier of the sea and is closed to visitors during the rainy season due to the high tides. The sea around it is rich in coral and is a popular snorkelling site.
So, back to the scuba diving. Our trial dive was a short one, mainly involving learning about the various hand signals and getting the hang of the breathing apparatus, moderating air pressure and the like. Each of us had an accompanying instructor to ensure safety and even in the trial dive, the underwater view was breathtaking.
The final dive was on the following day. We went to a point where the sea was rather deep and the dive was longer. There were a lot of colourful fish and one of them even decided to give me a peck on the cheek:) Hehe!
It’s amazing how tech enables us to take pictures under water. The only catch is that smiling for a pic has dangerous consequences.
The feeling after the dive was quite triumphant, almost like conquering the seven seas(somewhat literally, hehe:)) Besides, once we were on our way back to the beach, post the dive, the instructor said that we had dived in a place that was hugely populated by sharks. Well, that was the closest I got to reliving Jaws.
The ferry ride back to the beach had some brilliant views.
This lighthouse, for instance. It was the first time I’d seen a lighthouse outside of a storybook so it was pretty exciting to come across this one. Lighthouses have always fascinated me. I have a feeling that something secret goes on around a lighthouse. Whether it’s a secret hangout for mermaids or Shutter Island is a thing of mystery.
We had a satisfying lunch of a variety of seafood after the dive. Local Malvani cuisine never disappoints when it comes to a fine lunch! After lunch, we had a nice stroll through the palm grove with me chilling on a hammock for a bit.
That evening was happily spent playing in the sea and watching the sun go down.
I love how the sea feels at sunset. It’s a lot different from what it feels in the morning where it’s full of energy but at sunset, it feels very homely and gentle despite the high tide.
The picture clearly shows who went swimming in the deep blue sea:)
That evening, I also indulged in my second favourite activity on a beach(the first one being swimming in the sea); Collecting shells. Here’s the haul ft. a couple of very pretty purple clam shells that I’m very proud to have discovered.
The shells make me crave for Guylian, my favourite chocolate. :))
This was the sunset from our cottage. In the picture, there is a silhouette of a camel. In India, beaches often have camel-back and horseback rides as an attraction in addition to water-sports like para-sailing, banana boats and water scooter rides. We didn’t really do any of the sports as a scuba-dive was quite rewarding.
And that was an action-packed beach trip, complete with the sun bidding its farewell to the world.
And that is a wrap!
Until Next Time,