The Bay of Bengal – Uppuveli – Day 3

Posted on May 7, 2014

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I flung open the wooden shutters on my room and the sight of the ocean and the sunlight hit me hard. Squinting in the morning rays I rubbed the sleep out of my tired eyes and pulled on a pair of shorts.

The sea looked choppy and my heart sank a little as the idea of whale watching appeared to be fast disappearing. Grabbing my sunnies I headed over to the makeshift dining room area and plonked myself down at a table and ordered a pot of coffee. After a quick chat with the boat guys I was told there was a trip headed out in 20mins to go snorkelling around Swami Rock (an area which hosts a temple at the top of its cliff face with a huge statue). The coral is meant to be lovely with lots of moray eels and the possibility of turtles in the area. There were no other takers at the Club Dive Paradise for whale watching so unless I wanted to charter a boat single-handed it was not going to happen.

On board our small boat were two Swedish girls, an American guy and two women from the Czech Republic. Our snorkel guide kitted us up with fins and masks and off we went. It’s been almost two years since I’ve been in the ocean and I was keen to jump back in. My last dive trip was to Thailand to Koh Samui in September 2012.

I felt a flutter of butterflies in my stomach as I always do when I head out to sea, the unknown, the excitement of wondering what I will see. We passed a fishing boat on its way back to shore. It pulled up along side us. Inside were yellow fin tuna, sail fish and another species unknown to us in English. All of them enormous in size. Lunch later, I thought to myself.

After the skippers exchanged a few pleasantries we bounced out further to sea anchoring 30mins later. It’s been a while since I snorkelled. Diving has always taken precedence due to the company I have travelled with. My sea faring friends are in the navy and diving with them is such a hoot. I plunged into the salty emerald sea. It felt like a warm bath and after 5mins I felt right at home gliding through the silky waves gauping in amazement at the beautiful coloured fish. I saw Angel fish; trumpet fish, a honey combed moray eel, puffer fish, stone fish and schools of tiny fellas. (No Jack fish Meoff and BQ, that’s only when I am with you guys!).

The area is said to be holy due to the temple and many fishing boats come specifically to bless their boats in this area. For us, our snorkel guide told us we should take advantage of washing away our sins. “Christ I could be here all day, if that’s the case,” I thought.

Forty minutes later we climbed back in the boat and headed to Geek Rock – well that is what it our man said it was or at least it sounded like that. The waves had picked up and once back in the water we were tossed about like rag dolls. The temperature had also dropped and the sun decided to hide behind the clouds. After 20minutes I called it quits, I was beginning to get cold and so decided to bail before I started to cramp up. As I swam back to the boat I pulled up alongside it to get the skipper’s attention. I waited for what felt like an eternity for him to realise I wanted to get back inside the boat. The lack of language on both sides meant I ended up drinking and gargling half of the Bay of Bengal before he thew over the ladder.

With my mask pulled up on my forehead I shouted while bobbing up and down, “Can you put the ladder down please? I want to come back on board.”
He looked at me quizzically then tilted his head and bent down. A few seconds later he popped up holding a bright orange lifejacket, outstretched in his arms.
“Noo-gggggrr, the ladder I motioned,” swallowing a mouthful of salty water again. “Ladder!!”
Again he bent down, this time he picked up a bottle of water.
“No! Ladder! Me come back. In boat,” I managed before a wave took me under.
I came up spluttering to see him bend down and this time pick up my bag.
“Jesus!” I thought I’ll drown before he gets it.
After some useless sign language by me on finger pointing and pretending to climb a ladder. I swam a little closer to see if I could hoist myself up.

Just as I was clawing at the side of the boat the penny dropped and he picked up the metal ladder the threw if over the side.
“Hal-le-frickin-lu-jah!” I exclaimed.
On board I sat in the sun warming up and waited for the others.

It was lunch time when we hit the beach and I skipped back to my guest house with a little more gusto after a great morning. My reward came in the form of an amazing lunch of fiery coconut prawn curry and rice followed by a quick power nap.

This afternoon I came across a German couple who showed me photos taken two days ago of six sperm whales during a tour. They looked incredible. The man bravely decided to snorkel with them and said it was a life changing experience. I signed up to the tour company they went with which is costing me a mere £30. I am gonna pray tonight that mother nature will look favourably on me.

The light is just disappearing now on the beach and I have sauntered back from my beach walk after pampered myself with an Aruveydic full body massage. This is the life, long may the good times last!

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Posted in: Asia