Monday, December 13, 2010

Explore Goa: River Sal Boat Trip.

Betty's Cruise on the River Sal.
A river trip in a tourist boat is about as close I wanted to get on my photography trip as a Turkish family wants to get to a Greek Salad. The only reason I decided to give it a try is:
1. The boat belongs to my brother and he captains the boat.
2. I felt like I needed a break to just sit back and relax.
3. Great food and drinks. Did I mention that its all free for me?

The boat trip is a major attraction for the visiting tourists who enjoy the scenic river and the sea. The trip starts in River Sal and briefly goes into the Arabian sea for dolphin viewing before returning back to the river. The trip continues upstream - going all the way to Varca before returning back to Mobor after 5 hours of cruising. Books on birds, plus a pair of binoculars are provided on each table.

Route taken by the boat.

Of course, the River Sal is very scenic and filled with flora and fauna, so photo opportunities are always there. We cast off sharp at 10:00 am and headed first to the sea to have an opportunity to get close to dolphins that live in the area.

The area is teeming with fishing activity (both traditional and modern).

Traditional fishing. Patience is a key ingredient.
A more modern approach to fishing.
Fishing activity attracts all kinds of birds in the area.
The mouth of River Sal is a treacherous piece of water that needs to be navigated carefully to avoid getting grounded in the sand or crashing into the rocks. My brother has many years of experience navigating this area so we were in safe hands.

Mouth of River Sal as it flows into Arabian Sea.
After about 15 minutes, we reached the Dolphin bay. I have tried this trip in the past but the dolphins have always avoided me and I was beginning to think that the dolphins in Mobor are a myth. But today was my lucky day, and there was plenty of dolphin activity in the area. I tried using the 80-400 lens but as I expected, it is not fast enough for quick activity like the dolphins jumping. Most of the pictures turned up mis-focused. Luckily, I did get a few that proved that dolphins are alive and well in Mobor.

Dolphins frolicking off Mobor beach.
The boat turned back to return to the river, and the guests on board were treated to the open bar.

My favorite part of the trip.
Everyone relaxing with a chilled drink of choice.
More bird viewing as the boat cruises up the river.
Another form of traditional fishing. The round net with weights.
And some more birds.
Bungalows by the river side.
People going about their daily life on the river.
Cavelossim Ferry (soon to be replaced by a bridge).
I did mention that the river attracts lots of birds.
We finally reached a very interesting point in the River. The "bat tree". This tree is full of bats that are taking a well deserved rest after a hard nights work.

The Bat Tree.
Bats being disturbed.
The bats were acting a little disturbed today. I asked my brother if our boat was the reason for the disturbance. He explained to me that the boat is always kept at a safe distance so as not to disturb the bats. However, there was a fisherman who was fishing for crabs very close to the birds and he was the culprit for the disturbance.

The highlight of the trip is where my brother takes out a fresh fish and then goes about preparing the fish - after displaying it to all the guests. The ladies on the lower deck seem to be especially impressed with todays offering.

The lady guests seemed very impressed with the fish.
Perhaps a bit over enthusiastic, if you ask me.
And the result - after my brother did his magic with a knife & fire.
Finally, it was time to head back home. Everyone was just lazing around after the drinks and the good food. I took one last picture of the river side before I closed the camera and dozed off.

The idyllic River Sal. A must see for everyone.

1 comment:

Edwin said...

Oh man !!! That fish is "Chonak".... Ooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh !!!