The other side of Diu- Vanakbara Port
Mitchell a renowned photographer from Sydney was in India to shoot and I was accompanying him in his journey to document life as it manifested in its original form and splendor. It was my first day on the tiny island called Diu which is linked by a bridge to Gujarat and southern coast. I hopped on the bike, as Mitchell promised me to show something really exciting. Narrow lanes, Portuguese cathedrals, urban cafes and forts; this was the picture I drew in my mind about Diu. But I could sense it couldn’t be the usual stuff, because when Mitchell was kindled and excited, all kicking, surely he must have struck some hidden treasure.Driving down to the extreme west, just following the smell of fish, we reached the early in the morning. Oh! What a view -I was searching for words to describe- as the view struck me, I was spell-bounded.
Vanakbara is a small fishing village located some 14 kms away from Diu town. Huge wooden ships were lined up at the harbor. Some were hoisted from the sea and resting on the shore after a long, tiring sail. The muscular fisher men were yet not released from duty and they were scrubbing the ships to remove the green layers of seaweeds. I guessed it would take them another two or more days.
These ships go as far as Mumbai or Kerala sailing in the Arabian sea; most of them without any technology to predict weather or directions. Their years of experience were the only technique which help them to navigate the rough Arabian sea and unremitting harsh winds. I couldn’t resist my curiosity and climbed to the rooftop of the ship, to see their temporary abodes. I peeped into shanties which also stood as storerooms for the fishermen: were stocked with barrels of diesel, cooking gas cylinders and fish catch.
I remembered ” It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.”
— George William Curtis
The ship owners sell their fish to local market as well as export to different cities in India and abroad. To keep the fish fresh huge slabs of ice were sliced by the men and decked on the ships. Talking to local contractors we realized how marine pollution at the shore had affected their business. The trawlers now go deeper into the sea to get a decent catch and then rest for a few days before embarking on another journey. They offered us to take us with them on their voyage. It was enticing and it would be definitely great fun and joy to be on the high seas; the freedom, the smell of open air and the adventure of sailing in the sea. I did yearned for it, but we were on our remarkable journey along the coast of Gujarat which had just begun. I was not ready to deviate.
Have you discovered any hidden gems in Diu?