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Old 27th July 2009, 17:32   #1
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I started with a weekend itch to go out somewhere, so while driving down the trivandrum bypass, saw this board which read Akkulam Tourist village 2 KMS, Took a left, nice scenary. kept on going and finally reached this place called The Akkulam boat club

Not exactly a street Experience-untitled.jpg

The club was deserted, no one to be seen, we walk further down and see 7 people inside the ticket counter chit chatting. I was with my friend Jenni (she is quite an adventure lover, for the ones who have read my earlier thread about agumbe know this), took a row boat, they gave us one with different sized paddles. This was my first experiance with a row boat. as soon as i got into the boat i knew something was wrong. There were extreamly strong under currents and within 5 minutes we were docked about 3 kms awaw from the club in a deserted spot, There were only weed arround us and no sign of land. The smell of sulphur was strong. with every paddling the boat was not moving forward and was going in circles. We were stuck there for 2 hours, the boat tickets we took were for 30 minutes and no one came to check upon us for those 2 hours. The sun was at its full blast, and the stench was awakward and was nausiating. I kept on trying and finally gave up after 2 hours of struggle. i realised we were so far that no one can see or hear us.

We were loosing precious daylight and some how i felt Jenni started panicking now. She asked me to call cops, Since she is new to kerala she doesnt know how helpful the cops are, i told her thats not gonna help. I was dead tired batteling the currents, and the smell was horrible, with every padle hitting the bottom was unleasing more methane and inhaling that was adding up to the troubles.

She sits quite for some time and asks me for my phone (we were in the city limits so we had network) calls her bro in bangalore and asked him to google Akkulam boat club and find out their number.

He takes 10 minutes.

In the mean time the winds have redused, i gave another try, it started moving forward. i kept on going and finally reached one of the shores.

She is delighted, she gets off the boat and asks me to get down the boat dosent have a rope so can't anchor it. and can't leave it. So i stay on it.

She runs to the boating house and finds gets help, now the real drama starts.

Those guys come in a motor boat and i am completly exhausted.

I asked them, why didn't they come in search for us when we took the boat for 30 minutes and its already 2 hours.

To this this guy replies in malayalam, "Saar people like you usually does not return in the said time"

To that i asked dont you keep an i this guy stats blushing and says "sir you know what all couples do, so we do not look"

I was about to explode, jenni does not undestand malayalam and she says in english "what if some one dies here dont you have life guards" To that he replies in english "Life guard No" . It didn't take me much time to understand we were wasting our time with these people, I asked Jenni to keep quite (woman) finally we managed to get out and get to the car, i was thirsty, but alive, had a bottle of water and went home and had a shower to get rid of that foul smell, it was in my lungs, but finally i was alright.

This ordeal made me learn very important 3 lessons

1. When something can go wrong it will go wrong

2. Do what you know you can do, and you have done it in the past

3. Never trust any govt establishment in kerala, all kerala govt employees are the same, rights before duty (no offences ment to anyone though)

Though there were 7 people at the ticket counter mostly ladies, I am sure the guys were life guards, they gave us those jackets when we left. I am not sure how they cannot understand the risks involved.

I know its my mistake as well, so all those who are ready to throw stones at me, i am ready

Last edited by pramodkumar : 27th July 2009 at 17:35.
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Old 27th July 2009, 17:37   #2
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Wow. that was some experience. Glad that things did not turn nasty for Jenni and you. I wonder what the sulphur/methane smell was. Do you know if there is any untreated sewage released into the lake? It seems to be quite the norm in our country.
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Old 27th July 2009, 17:48   #3
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Why did you ever go to aakulam? It's not a tourist village but tourist weedage. Theres nothng but weeds. Anyway yours was quite an experience glad that it ended well.
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Old 27th July 2009, 23:36   #4
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Man you cant really blame them, coz many couples (usually college students) go there and hire their boat for 30 minute and get back only after 2-3 hrs.Its somewhat a usual case there.And dont ask me what they do!!

That may be thereason they keep saying that rubbish things to you also, as couples will take long time etc.

And one more thing,if you did call the cops,i dont need to tell you what will be their first reaction(after seing you two).right?

But anyway they should be more responsible and that was one hell of an experience.I am happy that you made it back safe.
Why didnt you call your friends when this happened?
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Old 28th July 2009, 00:15   #5
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Yes, it was very much your fault! (you did say you didn't mind the stones ).

What would you think of someone who went for a drive, with no experience of cars? It is the same for boats.

The first mistake that the attendants made was not to ask, "Can you row? Do you know how to handle a boat?" --- but I suppose they did not care, and that is very much their fault.

I sailed quite a bit years ago, and did quite a lot of rowing too, but even I found myself in some difficulty on a UK lake a few weeks ago. I found that the wind was so strong that it was almost impossible for me to row against it. My muscles, never much, have become almost nothing of late. I blessed my wisdom that made me begin my rowing trip upwind, so getting back, once I gave up, was the easy bit.

Boats is dangerous! Glad you're safe!
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Old 28th July 2009, 00:42   #6
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Thank God for small mercies!
Does the place have any history of sulphur steam? This happens at some locations around the world, but mostly underwater. A very dangerous thing indeed!
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Old 28th July 2009, 09:18   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msetlur View Post
Wow. that was some experience. Glad that things did not turn nasty for Jenni and you. I wonder what the sulphur/methane smell was. Do you know if there is any untreated sewage released into the lake? It seems to be quite the norm in our country.
It has lot of weed growth and hence all the rotting weed has a stench and added to that the soil under the layer of weed has a lot of methane trapped, the moment the paddle hits the soil, huge bubbles were coming out

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Originally Posted by Sankar View Post
Why did you ever go to aakulam? It's not a tourist village but tourist weedage. Theres nothng but weeds. Anyway yours was quite an experience glad that it ended well.
I have never been there before and just wanted to try the place out as i saw the board.

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Originally Posted by jithudigitised View Post
Man you cant really blame them, coz many couples (usually college students) go there and hire their boat for 30 minute and get back only after 2-3 hrs.Its somewhat a usual case there.And dont ask me what they do!!

That may be thereason they keep saying that rubbish things to you also, as couples will take long time etc.

And one more thing,if you did call the cops,i dont need to tell you what will be their first reaction(after seing you two).right?

But anyway they should be more responsible and that was one hell of an experience.I am happy that you made it back safe.
Why didnt you call your friends when this happened?
That is true but what if someone falls in those waters, will there be any help? Remember, its the tax payers money going into their salaries, if they are hired as life guards they better guard some life. She called her brother, i was about to call my friends, there are some things better kept as a last option.

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Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Yes, it was very much your fault! (you did say you didn't mind the stones ).

What would you think of someone who went for a drive, with no experience of cars? It is the same for boats.

The first mistake that the attendants made was not to ask, "Can you row? Do you know how to handle a boat?" --- but I suppose they did not care, and that is very much their fault.

I sailed quite a bit years ago, and did quite a lot of rowing too, but even I found myself in some difficulty on a UK lake a few weeks ago. I found that the wind was so strong that it was almost impossible for me to row against it. My muscles, never much, have become almost nothing of late. I blessed my wisdom that made me begin my rowing trip upwind, so getting back, once I gave up, was the easy bit.

Boats is dangerous! Glad you're safe!
Thanks, I know i am stupid to try something, where i am a complete rookie, But hey guess what now i can row . there was a flaw in the boat design. the paddles were not attached to the boat they kept on coming off their holder, the holder was placed at a point where in the paddles were not touching the water properly. finally i had to bring it back with its nose pointing the opposite directions as it will not move in the right direction no matter what.

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Thank God for small mercies!
Does the place have any history of sulphur steam? This happens at some locations around the world, but mostly underwater. A very dangerous thing indeed!
I completely gave up, i was unable to stand and breathe, the sun was at its full bast too. Both of us ended up shouting and screaming but to no avail, those life guards were busy chatting about indo american nuclear deal (as if it matters to them), i have noticed this in kerala, every single person has something to add to a conversation. So usually they get lost in their little conversations so much that, they forget that they have a job to do. I am still proud to be a mallu and really greatful to my stars for giving me the courage to try one last time.

Last edited by pramodkumar : 28th July 2009 at 09:21.
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Old 28th July 2009, 12:20   #8
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Pramod, a harrowing experience indeed. One that warrants a larger audience to be informed of the same. Team-BHP, is a right place to start that, added to that is there someone you know in the press? Maybe it'd make a good story for them to cover?
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Old 28th July 2009, 13:05   #9
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Aakulam was good some 10 to 15 years ago, waters were clean and weeds were being kept in check. Now the whole place is neglected by the tourism, gone to the dogs and antisocials.

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Thank God for small mercies!
Does the place have any history of sulphur steam? This happens at some locations around the world, but mostly underwater. A very dangerous thing indeed!
No it's just decomposing organic matter. Infact you don't have to sit in a boat to sniff it up it is the wind carries it everywhere. One look and a sniff at the black coloured lake and you will never want to come near the place again.

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I have never been there before and just wanted to try the place out as i saw the board.
Try Veli tourist spot if you and your friend is still game for some boating.

Last edited by Sankar : 28th July 2009 at 13:07.
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Old 28th July 2009, 13:23   #10
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Try Veli tourist spot if you and your friend is still game for some boating
I hope Pramodkumar is game for another go! Rowing is good exercise, even when taken gently. It is a very calming and relaxing way to spend a few hours.

Unfortunately, at our nearest rowing place, Muthakaddu, they will not permit the customer to take the boat without a man to row it --- and that man spends the entire time asking the foreigner for money!

As for a good boat, with matched oars that fit the rowlocks properly... yes, that is a necessity, or the whole thing becomes more of a hassle than a pleasure. You have learnt a great deal about what to look out for, even on your first trip!

I wonder what kind of boats they had on offer? The traditional Kerala boats are not rowed, they are paddled. They are quite easy to move, but, being fairly flat-bottomed, it takes some concentration to keep them moving straight in the direction you desire.
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Old 28th July 2009, 14:10   #11
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Try Veli tourist spot if you and your friend is still game for some boating.
I have been to Veli, hell i didn't think of this place before, there is a nice hyderabadi resturant when you take a left towards pettah from the bypass, we were headed that way. BTW how is your health?
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I hope Pramodkumar is game for another go! Rowing is good exercise
If you ask me if i do it agian? The answer is "yes". I have been in the rain forest where you dont get mobile signals, badly bitten by leaches(running behind a king cobra), you know that there are a lot of eyes watching you, still i was kind of calm and comfortable there, this place is bang in the middle of the city, there is a airforce station just a stone throw away, still we were stranded there for hours and hours togather. I learned the literal meaning of marooned.

To add to it jenni kept of telling me "i have a swiss knife" . How helpful!!

Last edited by pramodkumar : 28th July 2009 at 14:12.
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Old 28th July 2009, 18:21   #12
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I wonder what kind of boats they had on offer? The traditional Kerala boats are not rowed, they are paddled. They are quite easy to move, but, being fairly flat-bottomed, it takes some concentration to keep them moving straight in the direction you desire.
The ones they have at tourist spots are not traditional Kerala row boats but the type were the oarsman sits with his back towards the direction of travel. Traditional Kerala boats roll over easily i guess, since they are narrow, maybe that's why they don't keep those.

It's fun watching people who don't know how to row rent one and go around in circles at the same spot

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I have been to Veli, hell i didn't think of this place before, there is a nice hyderabadi resturant when you take a left towards pettah from the bypass, we were headed that way. BTW how is your health?

If you ask me if i do it agian? The answer is "yes". I have been in the rain forest where you dont get mobile signals, badly bitten by leaches(running behind a king cobra), you know that there are a lot of eyes watching you, still i was kind of calm and comfortable there, this place is bang in the middle of the city, there is a airforce station just a stone throw away, still we were stranded there for hours and hours togather. I learned the literal meaning of marooned.

To add to it jenni kept of telling me "i have a swiss knife" . How helpful!!
My health is getting better, still not good enought to venture out of the building. But i'm getting there.

Man running behind a King Cobra does takes some balls.. i would only run ahead of one
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Old 29th July 2009, 00:33   #13
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... To add to it jenni kept of telling me "i have a swiss knife" . How helpful!!
You didn't use her Swiss knife?

You could have been out of there in minutes!
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Old 29th July 2009, 09:23   #14
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You didn't use her Swiss knife?

You could have been out of there in minutes!
She has a very wiered sense of humor, she kept on telling me we will not die of hunger, we can eat this weed and survive, next thing i see is she puts her hand in the water and picks up a strange looking egg, yes it was an egg. she said we can also have an omlete . The best thing about jeni is she dosen't panic. Anyways had my share of fun that day.
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Old 29th July 2009, 11:11   #15
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pramod,

Your experience was one of a kind. Shocking in certain bits and absolutely hilarious in others.

I have a friend (similar to Jeni) and had a similar experience when we went to Galibore. We ended up taking the wrong route to the camp (as she left the map back home) that had terrain akin to the surface of the moon where even a Land Rover would struggle with our little Maruti 800. Finally, the car was stranded and we had to walk for 13 kilometres and 3 hours through thick jungle, open brushland and then reached the Galibore camp.

The camp people were aghast when they saw us emerge from the jungle route where only their 4x4 jeeps go and said that we were very lucky as that place is full of wild elephants and that we could have been attacked at any time. They said, our car was a gonner as we'd parked it just at the edge of a ridge and elephants usually roam the area and push the vehicles over the ridge.

We returned the next day on one of their 4x4 jeeps and thankfully found our car intact. With a little help from the jeep we were out of there.

Cheers,
gpa
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