Today was our boat trip day. We all breakfasted at different places. Some in the hotel. Some in the Chai Shop. Bob and I went to Little Ganesh in the centre of the village. Bob had a masala dosa and I had a spinach and cheese omelette. While I was waiting for the omelette I went across to the chai shop to get some vegetable samosas to take as our lunch picnic. They are so divine. I have literally never had their equal anywhere else and yet they come from this humble little village café. They had sold out of the first batch so we had to wait for the second to be ready. There then follows a rigmarole where a parcel is made of newspaper and then the samosas are wrapped up and tied with string which dangles from a large bale hung from the ceiling. I love to watch this done.
Anway, by 10 we had all made our way down to the beach to our boat which was ready. It is a wooden boat of a traditional outrigger design with a canopy and a long tailed engine off the back. Launching down the beach is quite a spectacle. The boat is rolled down on a series of oiled pieces of wood which are lifted and placed in front to provide a track. We clambered aboard and we were off.
The sea was very calm and we headed north along the coast. First passing Colomb Bay and then along Palolem Beach. After Palolem, there is a long section of rocky cliffs, a couple of tiny bays and then the long stretch of Agonda Beach. It was about this point that we encountered a large pod of dolphins which we stopped to observe for a while. They were jumping and playing all around us.
Chola is just north of Agonda and its a good long stretch of sand, with quite a few rocks scattered about. There are two very nice hut resorts on the beach, at the south end. We walked along the beach to reach them and went into the main shack for a cold drink. It was very nice to sit there above the beach and watch the sea through the palms. You could happily while away a couple of days in this serene place.
Walked back to the north end of the beach and had a good long wallow in the sea there which was very warm. The beach drops off a lot quicker here than at Patnem but it was calm, nice swimming. We ate our samosas here and they were so good and still warm.
After two hours the boat came in to pick us back up. On the way back he pulled into two tiny coves: Honeymoon Beach and Butterfly beach. Both of these are difficult to impossible to reach other than by sea and they are undeveloped. Looked nice. I would quite like to go back to one of them for a day, get a boat to drop us off/pick us up….
We saw dolphins again on the way back. Got back to Patnem at about 215 and helped to pull the boat back up the beach, again using the greased wooden poles. Then we commandeered some beach beds at Tantra and flaked out for a couple of hours…. pretty sleepy. A really nice day and so worth the five pounds each it cost.
Tonight most of us ate in the hotel and then sat about chatting for a few hours afterwards.