Although Goa is the smallest state of India, the size of this land is no measure for the number of tourists this land attracts every year. It experiences a tropical climate, which means that its hot and humid most of the year and pleasant during the winter months of November-February. Naturally, most of the local and international tourism is concentrated during these months. Christmas holidays suited me perfectly.
“In order to explore the landscape without feeling intruded by the scores of tourists, I decided to join a Sailing Expedition organised by the Goa Yachting Association”
Ahoy Captain !
Led by Mr. Ashwin Tombat, we were supposed to sail for about 6o Nautical miles over a course of 5 days of the expedition, camping on beaches for the night. The sail boats were ready at the Dona Paula beach in Panaji early morning. We had 4 sail boats with 5 members on board each, including the captain. From Panaji we planned to sail off to Velsao, a fishing and industrial village. Couple of hours into the journey, noticing an interesting fort over one of the cliffs I asked Mr. Tombat about it. He told me that it was the fort at Cabo de Rama, meaning the Cape of Rama. En-route we were also treated by a lot of playful dolphins.
We had a great company in the form of Mr. Tombat as he possessed this very coveted ability to strike a conversation on any topic under the Sun!
He had left a journalist’s career in Bombay to settle down for good in Goa. This has allowed him to follow his passion for sailing at the Goa Yachting Association, while still being an editor at one of the English dailies in Goa.
The peaceful sound of the waves crashing against the boat, the gentle breeze and the warmth of the sun put me to sleep for a while. When I woke up, still feeling dizzy, the breeze had ceased to blow and our boat was just rocking to and fro on the waves. We waited for almost an hour for wind from any direction so that we could use the same. In between, we used the motor periodically to thrust ourselves a tiny bit forward hoping that we could catch some wind in our sails. In vain. Finally, when the winds came, they came in all fury. Elation.
“There were some stunning islands on the way to Velsao”
“The news spread fast and soon I could see folks from nearby places who had come to see the dead whale”
Cast Away !
We camped for the night by the beach. The evening was non-descript. The next day we set sail for Agonda beach. The Agonda beach is beautiful, far less crowded than most of the other beaches. Add to it the cheap liquor being sold illegally in the small joints by the beach. It’s no wonder that it invites a lot of hippies to camp with their caravans. Interestingly, there were a plethora of Yoga courses on offer, boasting of magical health. I wonder how true do they stand to their claims!
The sunset at the Agonda beach was spectacular.
“The fishermen were returning back after a hard day’s work”
There was a certain element of mystery to the place that is hard to describe.
Over the next couple of days, we visited the Grande Island, the surroundings of which are under close supervision of the Indian Navy, and the stunning Butterfly Beach, which was secretly tucked between two Ghat sections. The Grande Island had an interesting but dysfunctional light house perched at the top. Over the last couple of days, we had learnt a great deal from Mr. Ashwin about the different patterns of light emitted by the lighthouses and what to deduce from them.
“The Lighthouse at the top offered a great view of the islands nearby”
The sea around the Island is know to be relatively calm and clear. It was late in the day, so the clarity wasn’t all that great, but I had fun observing whatever little interesting aquatic life I could.
We reserved the best for the last! The butterfly beach was an absolute treat to the eyes: small sandy beach, calm azure waters perfect for deep sea swimming. Moreover, the beach had a ruined fort at the hilltop and very perplexingly, a fresh water stream running through it !
“Sail boats, calm waters, pristine beach, ruins of a fort and a fresh water stream !”
The last day of sailing saw us returning back to the jetty at Panaji.
“It somehow felt apt to contemplate about Life and Love while reading some Sartre”