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Journey to an island near Mumbai

For the first post of the year, I wondered whether I should be sharing all that happened last few months when I hadn’t been blogging.

The last day of the holidays I took this guided tour from a ferry point to a nearby island called “Elephanta Islands”. Ok, I’ve been living in India all my life and been in Mumbai for a couple too, living not far from the southern tip, but this trip hadn’t happened so far.

Gateway of India

That morning armed with my zoom lens and enough cheese and juice in my rucksack to last the journey, I took my a bit (very) reluctant kid on this trip. I won’t bore with you pictures of the Gateway of India, but here is lovely view of Mumbai from the sea, through the famous structure. If you look carefully at the stone carving, you will notice the intricacy.

Our ferry took us on this 45 min journey traversing through the Arabian Sea. Sea gulls moved with us, gaining thrust from the moving boat. I have some sea gull pictures, but none of the Naval Regatta which was being held the same day, as that was restricted.

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The island has a toy train to transport tired commuters to the main island, but instead we enjoyed the walk through the village and commercial area for trinkets and souvenirs, which hadn’t opened yet luckily.

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Instead, we saw a regal Goat occupying its owner’s vacant bed.

gate_04 ..And we saw some monkeys busy in their hygiene rituals.

Our guide took us on the less trodden path to watch birds. It wasn’t such a great idea. We were perhaps too many and too noisy to listen for birds.

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At the end of our trail was a lake. Enterprising women had set up small shops to sell tea outside the gate.

While on our way to watch the famed caves and some species of bats that live there, I suddenly noticed that I was all alone on the path. I looked back and saw the group of three dozen huddled in a space, quiet and some aiming and focusing with their extra zoom lens at a tree. I quickly turned and rushed back to see what I had missed.

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This was it. A spotted owlet. Poor thing must be wondering where its mom was and what the fuss was about. But it posed.

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The caves were lovely, dark and cool. ( personal note: But do remember that Sunday is not a day for photography.)

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On our journey back at midday, I noticed this ferry worker preparing chutney on a stone crusher. They make their meals on board.

Gateway of India

Finally the view of reaching “home” back to the Gateway and beyond.

There are very few open spaces for wildlife and birds to live in Mumbai, but those are eyed very closely by developers. The best places to spot birds are now being considered for “redevelopment” which is actually an entertainment zone with Ferris wheel and other stuff that comprises a “marina”. So I am in rather hurry this year to go around and spot all the birds in the coastal areas around Mumbai before they start cutting down the trees and start “redeveloping”. If you live in Mumbai, so should you.

The Background: Backwaters of Goa

Exploring Backwaters in GoaBoaters in the lesser known backwaters of Goa. Viewed from the Old Goa Church and jetty point.

 

Exploring Backwaters in Goa

This weekend we took a river cruise with the aim of seeing the Marsh Crocodiles.
While, the marsh crocodiles decided to take a siesta during a hot sunny afternoon, the experience of cruising through a boat through placid backwaters was itself something that I will treasure for long. Mangrove forests in Goa have their own particular ecosystem and inhabitants. While I decide to return to this forest with better preparation for the next time, here are some pictures of the journey.

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Surfing the water

Nature has ways of treating us to its bounty..and we have exotic ways of exploring the waters. Check some of these beauties that I just saw at the international boat show in town. It was pretty much cluttered to take shots, but managed a few. Jet skis, kayaks, yatchs and more. One yatch somewhat resembled the perfect cut of a diamond . At the end were a couple of gentlemen who posed for me outside an Eco Hut on display.

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