Perfect Sunday at Turtle Beach

Today we headed a few bays south of Patnem, to Galgibag Beach, better known as Turtle Beach because it is a nesting ground for sea turtles.  8 of us went, travelling by taxi and tuk.  The round fare in the taxi was £2.50 each.  We went on the new highway which will one day link Mumbai to Kerala.  Frankly, it’s a blight on this area and has been wrongly placed, too near the coast, ploughing through some wonderful backwaters and lagoons…. but that’s another story.  It astounds me that the Indian authorities seem to have the weirdest priorities.  Anyway…

There is often surf at Turtle Beach but today it was glassy calm.  I have never seen it so calm in 10 years of visiting.  Generally I don’t get in past my knees, it’s too strong for me, but today it was idyllic for swimming, and so clear.  We set up camp at the south end of the enormous beach, near the lagoon, which is where the river meets the sea.  Had lots of swims and also in the lagoon too. It is a beautiful spot, only slightly marred by the visible motorway behind the lagoon, and the row of enormous wheelie bins every 30 yards across the beach.  Yes!!!!  They are here too.  Clearly the turtles can differentiate between a wheelie bin and a beach chair because one is allowed and the other not.  Having said that, the beach was spotless, looking better than in previous years…. but too many bins…. lol.

There are a few shacks back in the trees behind the beach, pretty ramshackle affairs, but specialising in seafood, particularly the crabs, mussels and oysters which are raised in nthe brackish waterways behind the beach.  Our usual haunt is Surya’s, which amusingly claims to be recommended by Gordon Ramsay.  Well….. who knows….. Surya has a brother, Santosh, who runs the shack next door and he claims to be recommended by Jamie Oliver!!!!

We called in on the way down the beach to alert Surya that we would be 8 for lunch and to put some dry white wine in the ice box for us.  When we got back at 1, it was all ready. He’s a nice guy and always remembers us.  We had oysters cooked Goan style in coconut, garlic and tomato; chilli fry prawns; plates of his special chips, and some non seafood dishes.  All washed down with white wine and beer.  Utterly perfect and delicious, eaten under the trees in the gentle breeze.  Such a relaxing perfect scene.  Just right for a Sunday lunch.

Our taxis came back at 3 for us and we went back along the old road, behind the beaches, alongside the Talpona river and then over the little narrow bridge.  So very scenic.

Tonight Gloria and I went into Palolem a little early and did some shopping.  They have a mix of trendy Indian/Western shops there as well as the generic Goan shops.  I bought a few things for the girls.  Then we met some of our number at Zest, the vegetarian/vegan restaurant.  Really good food and good value.  I had a Mexican bowl which was a mix of quinoa, guacamole, cabbage coleslaw, nuts, salsa and some other stuff.  Delicious.  Bob had a mushroom ramen bowl which he enjoyed.  Some people had vege burgers, some had pesto pasta.  Sheena had a middle eastern meze plate that looked great. It was all very reasonable priced.  Will go back again.