So long and thanks for all the fish! – A day with Dolphins
The thought of watching these amazing (and intelligent!) creatures in their natural habitat was very fascinating to me. It was the only day in Goa when I got up early to witness its much neglected mornings, against the much famed evenings. I loved the sight of the water bank near Aguada and all the boats around. I have always had this love affair with boats, I find them very picturesque and boat rides are fun anytime irrespective of their size and speed and I am keenly interested in the lives of sailors, their joys and sorrows. They don’t have to deal with road traffic; there are no potholes on their way and no pollution. There is water all around, coconut trees to climb and delicious fish curry to eat. It’s a damn good job I think and Manju ,my boat driver agreed.
I clicked a few pictures at the bank while the fishermen were readying their boats and nets preparing to earn their living for the day. I boarded John’s boat (the tour boat which they say featured on BBC) along with almost 20 fellow passengers. Soon after we started sailing, the boat assistant showed us some dolphins at a distance. Everyone started leaning at the edges of the boat to catch a glimpse and click continuously to get a shot. All we could see was a fin here or a tail there and this went on for quite some time. It was a mini-game of sorts as the guide kept pointing his finger in different directions and the crowd tried its best to follow his direction to catch a glimpse of the elusive creature. I soon realized my naïve and fairy tale expectations of a Dolphin coming close to me and jump high over the water would remain unfulfilled. But I was satisfied with the sights so far anyways.
After a while I decided to go to the upper deck and took out my zoom lenses, 70-300 mm, to get a better shot. The sailors keep the boats at a distance from Dolphins as they can sense the vibrations and sneak away. They give you only a few seconds before they vanish back to water .So you need to keep your camera ready with appropriate settings and in continuous shooting mode. Soon I decided to let the dolphins enjoy their days with their babies while I lay down to stare at the blue sky, decorated with thick white clouds. The sun was bright and I allowed it to tan me as much as it liked to. I could see seagulls right above my head and the whole imagery of being on a boat with dolphins swimming around, and seagulls flying above you was enough to put me in a pleasant mood. A few people from Manchester were also on board and soon we were all humming Beatles together. They decided to take a dip in the water to go swimming with Dolphins and I happily watched and clicked them as they posed. They found it difficult to pronounce my name and we mutually agreed on ‘DA’. We continued with some great conversations about Goa, India, Manchester, Beatles and what not. .
Sadly enough I hadn’t kept anything to nibble on and had to break my fast with the drinks offered on boat. There I met Manju, the 22 year old boy gleefully serving drinks to everyone. Manju was from Bangalore and was staying in Goa to work as a boat driver here. He was a travel enthusiast and was very proud of his knowledge of things around him. He knew he made his fellow travellers happy with these conversations. We talked about different stuff: life on boats, Goa, his family and the different places he had travelled to and worked at. I could sense he had a dream of making big in life and someday, owning his own boat. We had a detailed conversation about his favourite travel destination: Hampi, in Karnataka, where his brother in law works as a guide. And guess what, I am going to Hampi next week! To spend a few days among the ruins of Vijayanagar, one of the greatest empires this country has ever seen and while I am there, probably, bump into Manju’s relative. I hope this chance meeting with Manju would add an interesting chapter in my travelography.
A few important things to note-
- You may book this tour online or from different shops or agents while in Goa. We booked it from a shop near Brito’s in Baga
- The tour is conducted only on three days in a week and the timing is 08:30 AM-3:00 PM
- They have a pick up and drop service available if your hotel is in Baga, Calangute or Candolim. Or else, they suggest you to the closest pick-up point to avail of this service.
- They do not serve any breakfast, so pack something to eat and the BBQ which they offer has nothing great about it as well.
- Enjoy the beauty around and strike some great conversations
- Safe to take a dip as per the instructions from boat assistant, so you might want to carry your swimsuit