The rhythmic sound of the waves, occasionally broken by the sound of distant seagulls, that’s all that was to be heard…no other sound, no crowd, no shops, no hawkers… just the gushing waves, touching my feet, as I lay on the silvery sand enjoying the lyrical soundscape, wondering if heaven was this place on earth.
This is not any touristy beach, it’s a hideaway… away from the maddening cities, crowd, cell phones, internet, TV etc. No signal at all! Except the satellite phone. This is where we spent 10 days, exploring the Lakshadweep Archipelago, off the south western coast of India, in the Arabian Sea… actually just a little part of the 39 island chain.
To describe the experience as ‘Sheer Bliss’ would be an understatement! I can’t even begin to express the splendor of this place and the fact that none of us missed our cell phones, laptops, tabs, TV etc. So enthralling is every little wonder of natural beauty here that my perception of a beach holiday has changed forever…
And no, you will NOT miss the food shacks, the pubs, the discs and all other jing-bang that’s associated with a beach! I promise you that!
In those ten days we hopped three islands- Minicoy, Kalpeni and Kadmat. Each one of the islands had a different story to tell, natural wonders to discover but one thing was common to all… the incredibly refreshing feel and the untainted fragrance of the sea breeze! I never knew the sea smelled this good! The vivid hues of emerald and azure sea made my senses rejoice at the marvel of experiencing something so inimitable and captivating.
We boarded our ship ‘Kavaratti’, in the afternoon from Kochi, to be dropped at Minicoy island the next morning.
A crescent shaped island, Minicoy, is heavily forested with indigenous tree species. A 10 min drive in an open jeep brought us to an expansive lagoon with its beach carpeted with lavender Morning Glories (or so I think), perfectly tempered with unperturbed peace of the surrounding forest.
We spent the day in the lagoon, literally.
The latter half of the day was dedicated to exploring the island on foot, enjoying the company of the natives.
The evening was reserved for watching the sunset, in a little dinghy, from deep in the sea! The scene was nothing less than poetic!
An experience to remember for a lifetime…followed by another long walk along the beach… we just had to take it all in, every waking moment of the place!
The second island on our itinerary was Kalpeni, unlike Minicoy, the terrain here was all dark and rocky surrounded by contrasting crystal clear shallow waters that could put the definition of glass to shame!
Kalpeni is essentially a haven for snorkeling, offering the most resplendent sights of colorful coral reefs. Actually, you don’t even need the snorkeling apparatus, one can see everything in HD clarity around one’s feet/legs even in waist deep waters… you just need to stand still for all the colorful fish to tickle your legs! While, my daughter and I couldn’t get enough of the HD underwater motion picture, hubby and sonny boy explored the smaller islands around in a canoe all day long…their arms were sore by the day end!
Oh! Did I mention I picked-up an underwater camera for this vacation… the best decision I ever took! It was worth every penny! I made loads of underwater scuba-diving videos!
Our final destination was Kadmat; a scuba diver and deep-sea divers’ paradise. This tiny, 1.5 kilometer long and 300 meter wide (that’s it!), island boasts of India’s best training centre for Deep Sea & Scuba Diving. We had a great time as under-trainees before they took us into the sea for the real experience.
Let me not even start, what it felt like to be swimming with the sea life, some scary and some astoundingly beautiful! Attempted my first-ever underwater selfie!
Till we came here, at the islands, I had only seen it in postcards and calendars…the riot of colors that shimmer across the sea’s surface, the pristine and sparkly white beaches…picture postcard, truly unbelievable! One has to see it to believe it!
This is where I felt I had to take it all home somehow… camera alone won’t do justice to the memories I wanted to capture. The only and ONLY way to take it all with me was to make sure I cater to all my senses!
So I took care of … Sight– via the four different cameras and many SD cards! Hear– made videos to capture the sound and motion of the waves and the tall swaying palms. Touch– collected sand, shells, twigs and pebbles from the beach.
Taste– bartered a couple of our t-shirts for some homemade ‘masala’ powder from the residents of the island (no shopping as I said!).
The only thing that I could not cater to was my sense of Smell…I could not bring along the lingering fragrance of the beachy fauna and the refreshing sea breeze.
It has been two years since then; I am on a lookout… I have tested many fragrances… unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anything that comes close to what is captured in my olfaction. I wish my travel memoir inspires Godrej Aer to develop a fragrance which could bring alive the memories of the resplendent beach vacation into our home! Although nothing to beat the real experience but I am eager to see what they launch!
PS- Need more info on my vacation? Feel free to drop me a line in the comment box below. I’ll be happy to share my experience!