Day 2, Devbagh.
Got out of bed as soon as the alarm sounded (wonder why I can never do that when I need to go to work Monday mornings ;-). ) Got ready for the nature-walk, and just then, they brought us tea. It was amazing sitting there, out on the porch, swigging hot tea while it was still quite dark (wasn't quite day-break yet).
Then we walked over to the reception structure, where we were joined by a gaggle of firangs and their (rather obnoxious and fawning) private guide, and a few of the Indian guests too, and the guide from Jungle Lodges.
We set off on a nice brisk walk, through the woods, till we reached the backwaters of a river. (The river Kali)
I also wonder why I can't muster up enough enthusiasm to go for early-morning jaunts when I'm in Bangalore, sigh!
The foreigners' guide was being ridiculously obsequious, and the rest of us just couldn't help snickering and getting exasperated in turns.
On the way back, we walked through a nearby fishing village, and we amused ourselves by trying to guess what bit of "exotic Indian-sounding" information would next be doled out by that guide.
All in all, it was a nice 3 km jaunt, and we felt good as we made our way back to the cottages.
We were to go for a ride out on the sea at 9, for a spot of dolphin-watching and island-hopping, which meant we needed to get ready, and tuck into breakfast in double-quick time.
Which we did.
Made our way to the jetty in time, hopped on to the boat, and we were off. It was fun watching the coast from the sea, and little fish leaping around every now and then. Went around a couple of islands (didn't stop at any of them though), and then, everyone went quite silent as someone spotted a dolphin leaping up gracefully, and then disappearing beneath the surface quickly.
Moved around a bit, and we spotted around three dolphins in all.. two of them were pinkish, and the third was a greyish black, I reckon.
I couldn't take pics of them : I preferred just watching them intently rather than focussing through a camera.
After getting back ashore, Suman and I went down to the sea to do some serious splashing and floating about. We must have stayed there for hours, and when we finally got back to the cottage, it was lunchtime. After another hearty meal, we went over to the reception to find out what water-activities were on for the day. We were rather keen to try out kayaking, but the instructor said it was low-tide, so we couldn't. We settled on a banana boat ride, it sounded like fun.
Came back for a brief siesta on the hammocks, and by the time it was 3:30, we were sufficiently keyed-up for the banana boat ride.
So it's this yellow inflatable longish raft sorta contraption that's towed along by a motorboat at high speed... and after a while, when one is in water thats abt 40 feet deep, the motorboat takes a sharp turn, and we all fall into the sea, and bob up and float around thanks to the life-jackets.
It sounds rather easy and bland when put that way, but it was quite another experience to actually try it out! Quite unnerving really, to go deep underwater (esp considering that one doesn't know swimming!), and thinking one is never going to make it up alive again, and then finally bobbing up, all spluttering and shocked!
So after that first dunk, Suman and I decided we didn't want more, and we hopped on to the motor-boat instead, from where we watched the others take a couple of dunks more. After that, we clambered back into the banana thingy and that part was fun, a high-speed zig here, a sharp zag there, but no more falling-off, whew!
The rest of the evening was much like the evening before, all pleasant and peaceful, strolling around the estate, and then on the beach, the sunset, the bonfire (pakodas this time round), even managed a bit of antakshari (just suman and I, lolling about on the sand).
And then dinner (of course) and back to a peaceful slumber. (unbroken for me, but Suman is a bit of a light sleeper, so she had her moments of waking up every now and then.)
Again woke up pretty early, at 6:30, had tea, and then set off to the beach, for a walk, and to watch the sunrise. It was absolutely beautiful, and we lingered on the beach, waves gently lapping around our feet, till it was nearly time for breakfast.
We really surpassed ourselves at breakfast this time round :-). This sweet old Austrian lady was shocked in an amused kind of way, as she watched us tuck into countless omelet and toast and poha and baked beans and paranthas ;o) while we blithely chatted with her about India and Europe and languages and culture.
After that long and satisfying breakfast session, we went off to the reception to tell them we were checking out at noon, and got back to the cottage to get ready and pack and relax a bit before leaving.
All too soon, it was time to leave, and we got back the way we came. Got a rick to the Karwar depot, hopped into a bus (we were still stubbornly trying to find one of those deluxe buses, but were again told there weren't any.) which was pretty comfortable after all, and set off through the Ghats to Hubli.
Reached Hubli in four hours, it was sweltering hot, and after coffee and a light snack, we decided to catch a movie to while away the hours before getting to the station.
Got back from the theatre at 9 pm, and we were wondering what to do at the station all the way till 10:25 pm. And then when we checked the status, we were horrified to find that the Rani Chennamma Express (our train) was delayed by some 3 hours, and that it was scheduled to now arrive well beyond 1 a.m! We were already exhausted and uncomfortable , but again, it was one of those things that we just couldn't do anything about. Went off to the waiting room and waited, with bad grace. We were plagued by mosquitoes and a human pest or two, but managed to ward the latter off. Dozed off fitfully every now and then, but on the whole, it was exhausting.
The train finally got in close to 3 a.m, and we got on, bleary-eyed and bone-tired, and slept off.
We felt reasonably fresh the next day morning, as we touched base in B'lore, and as we had the whole of Sunday ahead, to relax, we were back to feeling jubilant about a trip well-taken, as we made our way back home with our sea-shells and snaps and a Pensieve-full of happy memories.
Whew!!! Thats it for now!!! I'm outta here :-)