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Old 6th March 2013, 17:02   #1
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Default Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island

Cousin : "You're off again somewhere for the weekend? How come both the cars are under cover?"
Me : "Yeah dude, no car this time sadly"
Cousin : "YOU are NOT taking the car??!!"
Me : "Nope"
Cousin (sarcastic) : "You mean YOU are NOT taking the car this time? Really?"
Me (frowning) : "no I'm not, don't rub it in now"
Cousin (sarcastic) : "What happened to your oath? Some weird oath of yours that you will never take mass transport again, and all that"
Me : "There was no secure parking facility there at the resort dude. I couldn't help"
Cousin : "You petrol-heads are too finicky, bah! You said this was some island resort, right? Let me guess : you have to park the car in the mainland town and go to the island?"
Me : "yeah, and to add to it, there was some open yard where I had to park, without any security or shelter. No way I am risking this. Can't have the vehicle out of sight and unguarded for 3 days"
Cousin : "So how are you going to the place then? Bus?" (ROFLing)
Me : (scowls) "Yeah. Volvo Multi-axle high speed bus. Well, at least something to look forward to"
Cousin : "have fun then"

And that conversation was during the previous night of the trip when one of my cousins was visiting my home, as I packed my rather huge kitbag for this 3-day trip to Kurumgad island, off Karwar. Not many might have heard of this place. Neither had I, until one of my friends pinged me a month ago and gave me the website link to a resort called 'The Great Outdoors' and said we could try an island resort for a change from the regular south Indian hill stations and jungle safaris, which had started to get boring lately. There were 3 of us for this trip. We gave in to this idea and asked him to go ahead with the bookings for the first 3 days of March. The island was called Kurumgad island, was uninhabited (but for the resort) and was located roughly 5 km away from the Karwar coast, into the Arabian sea.

Here's the website link of the resort where we stayed, in case it turns out to be useful for anyone planning to visit:
http://www.thegreatoutdoorsindia.com/

The resort itself was on the island, and there was a small office in the mainland (near Karwar port) from where guests registered and were transported to and from the island by motorboat. As the opening conversation in this travelogue conveyed, there was no assured car parking facility at the resort office in Karwar. They had some open yard near the Port, but they clearly mentioned that the owners have to park at their own risk. There was no security guard either, so I didn't want to risk taking the car and ruining my holiday on the island, being constantly worried about what was happening to the car back in the Karwar yard (fellow petrolheads will understand what I'm talking about). We finally chucked the car plan and chose to travel by Volvo multi-axle semi-sleeper bus, which does an overnight run to Karwar everyday.

The plan finally came to something like this :

February 28 : depart from Bangalore via overnight bus for Karwar
March 1 : reach Kurumgad island, spend the day exploring the island
March 2 : a trek in the morning exploring other parts of the island, a boat ride for Dolphin spotting, and watersports at the beach
March 3 : relax at the beach till afternoon, get back to Karwar by lunch time. Spend the day in Karwar and board the return bus to Bangalore
March 4 : get back to home sweet home


Exploring the island on google maps brought up this image. Surprisingly the resort was also marked on the island.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-kgadsum.jpg


The island, like I said earlier, was ~5km from Karwar's coastline and into the Arabian sea
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-kgadkar.jpg


The overnight bus took this route to reach Karwar town by daybreak. They do astonishing speeds on the ghat section and cover ground very quickly.
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Browsing through the website of the resort brought up this interesting map. It took me back to my childhood days of reading Enid Blyton's books where a group of children would travel somewhere, find some map, then unearth a treasure and/or nab some scoundrels engaged in some illegal activity.
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Sorry to disappoint, but my trip wasn't going to be anything so exciting or adventurous!

Back to departure day story : the bus ticket said we needed to report at 8 PM, so we did exactly that. On reaching there we collected the 'boarding pass' amidst glares by the office personnel for going so early. We learnt that the on-paper timings are hardly ever maintained. The actual bus departure was at 10PM it seems. We were stuck waiting at Bangalore's bus station for more than 2 hours till around 10PM with nothing to do. How would we know? This was probably the first time in more than 13-14 years that I was climbing aboard a bus.

The bus was half an hour late in departing, and we wondered if this would affect our boat departure timings at Karwar. We got our luggage loaded into the mammoth Volvo 9400's belly and stepped inside. The bus was surprisingly full, for a Thursday evening. My bad. Had I known, I would have booked for Monday night instead, even if it meant losing a couple of additional leaves.

After settling in to our seats, my 2 other comrades went to sleep, and me being the odd numbered (ticket) guy got a seat next to some stranger. Historically, I always have a problem going to sleep in moving vehicles, unless it is a completely flat surface like a train sleeper berth. So I was still looking around in the darkness at 11PM, while the rest of the travellers were slowing dozing away. Checking google maps revealed that the bus driver was taking his own sweet time. The bus was still near Tumkur, 70 km from Bangalore.

The guy next to me had loud music blasting away, I think heavy metal. I didn't know if he was asleep or awake or just meditating. He had his eyes closed, with loud headphones blasting away some vaguely familiar numbers. Behind me were a group of enthusiastic youngsters playing cards in the darkness with mobile torchlights. Why go through that much hardship, I wondered.

I looked to the left and one couple was busy coochie-cooing in the adjacent row. The wife still had dark mehendi on her hands, so I assumed maybe they were going to Goa for a honeymoon.

Suddenly.... "OUCH!" something hit and crushed my knees hard, making me see red. I thought of punching away at whatever caused me the extreme pain. Suddenly a lady's feeble voice whispered "Sorry" from the front. That was her recliner seat she over-adjusted. Don't these people have the decency to check if there are tall passengers behind them?? Or maybe the problem was with me - tall people and bus seats don't go together. Why blame others?

The seat itself was cramped. Semi-sleeper, my foot! I neither had legroom, nor did I have footroom. They should have named it Semi-seater instead, since I couldn't even sit properly. I had adequate headroom, but that buffoon next to me was playing music so loud that I started to get headache, and had to shift my head away. Fatigue or boredom I don't know, but before I knew it, I was half dozing in the next two hours. Maybe more. I didn't realize.

Until....
"WAAAAAAAAAAAAH"

What in heavens was that??!! Looking around, I saw some toddler crying 2 rows away from me. Bah! Why do they travel with such young kids and cause nuisance to other travellers! I looked at my watch, and it read around 1AM. The wailing kid continued to wail while the mother continued to pacify the kid, and I wondered how the rest of the bus was sleeping with so much disturbance. Aah! I know. Most of them had earphones and headphones to play music on. Just like the metal buff beside me, who was still meditating with the blaring music on 3 hours after departure. I didn't have any ipod or ipad or any other fruity product. I had my old trusty phone, but didn't have earphones, so I prodded one of my pals who told me to take it from his bag, which was now squeezed into the overhead compartment.

He said front pocket. Darn! That meant I had to wrestle to get the bag out of the compartment. One mighty pull and BAM! the ~5kg bag landed on the knees of a sleeping guy below the bag, who screamed out loud in pain and hurled some swear language at me. I couldn't see the person since it was dark, so I just mumbled some apologies. After all this, I searched for the earphones but didn't find them. Finally I gave up, thrust the bag back up there and came back to my seat to try some shut-eye instead.

This was it! This was going to be the last and final bus journey for me. Ever! Period.

Last edited by KarthikK : 24th March 2013 at 08:35.
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Old 19th March 2013, 13:58   #2
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Default re: Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island

Day 1 : Reaching Karwar, travelling to and exploring Kurumgad island and its interesting attractions

The next time I opened my eyes, I looked around to find that the bus was somewhere near Ankola, which I cross checked with google maps on the phone. It was still 5:45AM. That was a full 500 km from Bangalore covered in around 5-6 hours. Whoa! These big buses do pack a mean punch when it comes to keeping up time. The bus we were on, was actually destined for Goa. He reached Karwar by 7AM, dropped us off at the bus stop and proceeded towards Goa. We took our luggage and walked towards the closest 'decent' hotel for breakfast and for freshening up. Karwar, as we found out, wasn't very big. A brisk, 10-minute walk from the bus stop took us to Premier residency, a small but decent lodge which also had a good restaurant, according to one of my office colleagues who hails from this place.


Reaching Premier residency, Karwar
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Breakfast was simple and delicious at Abhiruchi restaurant inside Premier residency. We had the local delicacies of Idly, Vada and Sambar with some strong coffee to wash it down.
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We called the resort office, but they were still closed in the early morning. Not knowing what else to do after breakfast till the resort office opened, we crossed the road and decided to spend the next 2 hours at Rabindranath Tagore beach, bang opposite the road where our hotel was located. The beach was relatively clean compared to other touristy beaches, and at this time in the morning the entire beach itself was deserted. We put the luggage down and took a stroll around that beach, in a bid to pass time. The only company we had here was a bunch of stray dogs, who too were still sleeping, like the rest of the town!


Entering Rabindranath Tagore beach, Karwar
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Deserted beach!
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Our only company in the shade
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Venturing close to the water; Karwar town and western ghats in the backdrop
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Arabian sea caught in action
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Arabian sea caught in motion



Taking a stroll along the Karwar coastline to pass time
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After around an hour of time spent on this beach, we decided to call the office again. The landline still went unanswered, but this time someone picked up the mobile and asked us to go to the resort office by 10AM. We still had an hour for the office to open, but decided to push off nonetheless, since we neither had a hotel room for an hour, nor was there any shelter at the beach. The fact that it was a summer morning didn't make things any better on the weather front.

The resort office was around 2-3 km along the same NH-17 highway, next to Karwar Marine engineers' office. We hired a rickshaw to take us there.

Rickshaw ride on NH-17 to reach the office of 'Great Outdoors' resort
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The resort office didn't look anything like an office. It looked like a typical coastal home with shack-like interiors.
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All of the office staff were still not in yet, so no one was able to attend to us at that time. They asked us to wait for 15-20 minutes, which we decided to spend at a small fishing port/beach next to the resort office.

Passing time at the beach next to the resort office
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Fishermens' boats in action for the morning catch
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Finally we had someone attend to us. They took our online receipt, gave us the actual 'boarding passes' for the motorboat and resort stay, and an autorickshaw arrived to pick us up from the resort office and drop us off at the port where our motorboat was scheduled to arrive.

Departing the resort office after the registration formalities
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The rickshaw ride was long and noisy. Maybe he had put kerosene in place of petrol or something. I didn't know. It sounded like a diesel fighter jet on afterburners and free flow exhaust. The bumpy ride lasted roughly 5-6 km, and he dropped us off at a 'port'. The place looked more like a sand quarry to me, but anyway, there was a 'port office' and some small boats, so I had to believe that the place was indeed a port. Here are some pictures of the 'port' where our motorboat was waiting:

Looking around the 'port', one could hardly guess there was something like that nearby. It looked just like any other village setting. Closely packed houses, lots of cattle and livestock, etc.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0036.jpg


A short walk towards the coast and this was the 'Port'. That truck was a water tanker filling water into our boat. More on that below
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A grounded boat
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There were cranes meant for loading cargo into the boats, though we didn't spot any loading going on. Maybe this was a makeshift port.
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The grounded boat with the Arabian sea in the background. That bridge leads from the mainland to Devbagh beach, roughly 3 km from Karwar.
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The regional Port office
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0043.jpg


This was the reason I had to believe that this was some sand quarry. A casual chat with one of the crane workers there revealed that they do export sand to other country ships from here.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0037.jpg


Ruins of an old broken-down house at the Port. It provided some respite in the form of shelter, while we were waiting in the searing heat till our boat was ready to leave
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We met our resort's motorboat staff, who were filling in fresh water into some large water storage tanks kept in the boat. On further chatting, the guy revealed that the island actually has fresh water springs, but they run dry in summer, so the resort actually depends on these alternatives for potable water - water storage tanks filled up in the mainland every time the boat comes to Karwar, and they pump the water from the boat to the overhead tanks in the resort when they reach the Jetty there.


The boat was still getting filled up with fresh water supply from the water tanker, to take back to the island
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The motorboat was diesel-powered and by the looks of it, one could tell the boat was at least 2 decades old. When asked about the age, the smiling Konkani boatman said proudly in broken kannada "saar, 1991 model... still runs like new". I asked him about the fuel efficiency, and he said "for every trip to Karwar and back to island (10 km total), we need 6 litres diesel". So there you go, this ancient beast gives roughly 1.5 kmpl. I would have given him a gyaan session on MultiJet engines and their advantages, but my friend pulled me back in time to remind me about the holiday we were on .
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Soon one of the staff members signalled that the water filling job was over, so we could depart for the island. We got into the relic motorboat and occupied the front seats to get a good view on board the motorboat ride.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0045.jpg

Last edited by KarthikK : 24th March 2013 at 08:37.
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Old 19th March 2013, 17:07   #3
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Default re: Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island

Day 1 (continued....) :

The boat was unfastened from the Port dock, the engine was started up, and the boat was turned around to head towards the island. You can see the island in the distance, the one which looks like a hill. On the left was Karwar, and on the right was Devbagh beach. The water enters into a 'wedge' between these 2 parts of the mainland.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0048.jpg


Bidding goodbye to the port, and the mainland for the next couple of days
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Passing by a few beaches, and backwaters along the Karwar coastline as we moved out of the bay in the mainland
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Departing sights of Karwar
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Devbagh extends a little further into the Arabian sea than Karwar, so this side of the coast gave us company on one side for some more time
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0055.jpg


And then that was gone too! We were moving closer to the island
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0057.jpg


Here's a video I managed to capture on board the boat. The ride was very noisy, like sitting on a diesel generator set. Plug your ears before you start watching it.



The water in the bay was of a different color. Maybe this was due to the pollution or whatever, but the color difference was noticeable as soon as we moved out of the mainland Bay area. This was the water color within the Bay
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0063.jpg


And the ocean water changed color to a deep blue-green as we inched closer to the island and away from the mainland.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0066.jpg


Kurumgad island, captured from 1 km away.
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Along the boat ride just around a kilometre away from the island, we spotted a bunch of dolphins jumping in and out of the water, prompting our boat captain to slow down a bit. This was a popular sighting spot for dolphins, according to the boatman. They were so quick that it was impossible to shoot them with the camera. Needless to add, I wasn't able to take any pictures of them.

The approach to the island was not direct since most parts of the island had rocks all the way till the water. The boat had to reach a Jetty along one side of the island, so he started the gradual turning.
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On board the motorboat, during the jetty apporoach



Approaching the boat jetty on the island
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The friendly staff at the resort were already waiting at the jetty to receive us and help us out with the luggage.
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Alighting at the island jetty
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A few shots of the sights around that spot
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After a few handshakes and introductions we were off to our cottage, directed by the staff and bellboys. The entire island is itself a hill in the middle of the ocean. The resort is located on one side of the cliff, at the very top. The rest of the island comprises a dense tropical rainforest-like terrain, with very dense vegetation cover. From the jetty, the resort was a half kilometre hike away. It wasn't very steep or anything, and there was a proper pathway and stairs wherever required.


A view from the hike to the resort
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Hiking along the pathway from the Jetty to the resort
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Along the way, there was a nicely designed viewpoint with a bench. Picture perfect material, so I couldn't resist capturing this on camera.
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The view from that bench was of Karwar and the ocean
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After a 10 minute hike, we were approaching the last flight of stairs leading to the resort entrance
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0094.jpg


And a few more stairs...
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Finally, we reached 'The Great Outdoors' resort at roughly 11:30 AM, well ahead of schedule
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0098.jpg

Last edited by KarthikK : 23rd March 2013 at 10:35.
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Old 19th March 2013, 22:36   #4
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Default re: Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island

Day 1 (continued...) :

Entering the resort premises - there were a bunch of tented cottages on the left, with some bootcamp-style swings and hammocks on another side, all set within a courtyard adorned with freshly planted coconut trees. That meant the resort wasn't too old.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0321.jpg


Tented accommodation was also available at this place, we didn't opt for it though.
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Just behind the tents was the restaurant area, set in an open-air ambience overlooking the ocean, bang on the cliff top.
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We stopped at the restaurant for a couple of glasses of lemonade, offered as welcome drink by the resort staff; A welcome relief in the sweltering coastal climate. We then set course for our cottage.

Continuing along the pathway, beyond the courtyard
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A picture looking back at where we came from
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The pathway ended in a shaded area of coconut trees, adorned with hammocks. Aah! good recipe for an afternoon post-lunch nap! I made a mental note to come here later. A concrete staircase was visible from there.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0112.jpg


True enough, the stairs led us to our cottage
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There was another cottage adjacent to ours, inhabited by a friendly dutch family on a 'tropical' holiday
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0106.jpg


The cottage was made of bamboo and was quite basic in amenities. The basic bed linen was clean though, which was a relief. Electric sockets were provided, but this being an island without proper electricity supply, electricity was sourced from a diesel generator set, so it was only switched on at certain times of the day. Thankfully there was at least a ceiling fan for this coastal heat! Not that it helped though.


Interiors of the rather basic cottage
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The other side view
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Lunch was getting prepared and the resort manager had told us that it would be ready by 1 PM. We still had an hour to freshen up and pass time until lunch. The inside of the cottage was actually very warm, so we were forced out of the cottage anyway. What better place to relax than the hammock area outside our cottages, overlooking the cliff


A pathway leading into the dense forest cover. We weren't venturing into that area until later. It looked scary enough from the outside!
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Heading for destination-Hammock!
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Pre-lunch nap time!
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The view from the hammock
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We were the only guests at the resort for lunch, since the dutch family had gone out for watersports. The buffet spread was basic but sufficient to satisfy our voracious appetite, thanks to the early breakfast at Karwar. After a sumptuous meal, we took a rather long afternoon nap at the hammocks. It was cool beneath the trees. Thankfully the coconut trees didn't drop bombs on our heads while we were below them.

At around 4 PM, the heat had started to subside and the sun became a lot tamer, so we decided to hike down to the beach. That was almost a kilometre away from the cliff top where we currently were. We had to take that forest hike route which entered the wild area next to our cottages. The resort manager offered to send a guide, but we politely declined the offer and set off on our own.

The terrain was eerie, and we saw at least 2-3 snakes and 15-20 different reptiles when passing through this dense jungle.

Entering the jungle pathway
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Don't let those pathway lights deceive you. None of those were in working condition
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More snaps from the jungle hike
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Intricate Spider webs!
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The reptile zone! There were tons of reptiles in this area. I'm not sure why their density was so much in this particular area.
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And more spider webs!
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Then we came across an opening in the dense vegetation canopy, where we could view the coast beside us. The decrease in level told us we were descending towards the beach
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Venturing close to the cliff and looking down gave us this view
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This was the dangerous 'snake' zone with 3-4 inches of dry leaf layer on the land. We spotted at least 2 huge snakes slithering away amongst these dry leaves, and that freaked us out completely for a few seconds. Anyhow, we remembered some NGC tips on keeping heavy footsteps. Since snakes rely on vibrations to sense dangers, they will move away automatically when they feel someone approaching. Using this technique would prevent us from accidentally stamping on some snake and risking snake bites in this remote island.

Walking through the creepy snake + reptile infested jungle
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After that dense forest zone, the vegetation subsided and another opening came up for sunlight. It was some kind of a viewpoint actually. This place was called 'Mystery creek' (we found out later), and it was just a narrow wedge shaped crevice of 2 large rocks. The resort staff had mentioned that Otters can be spotted here in the early mornings, trying to catch fish trapped between the rocks. There were none to be spotted in that blistering afternoon heat, so we continued towards the beach.


Mystery creek, an otter-spotting rock-wedge
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Last edited by KarthikK : 23rd March 2013 at 10:42.
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Old 19th March 2013, 23:29   #5
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Default re: Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island

Day 1 (continued...) :

After a few more minutes of walking, the dense vegetation disappeared. There was just dry grass all over, and the path now wound around the hill descending towards the coast. Ghat section trail!
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There was this large rock protrusion, reminding us of typical kings' 'dias' from where they used to address subjects/armies in the olden days. This island, I was told, was used by medieval age kings, so maybe my guess wasn't wrong after all. Typically, this 'announcement rock' reminded me of that cartoon movie Lion King .
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A closer look: the place was completely covered in 2 feet of dry grass
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Looking towards our final destination
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We had to continue along that dusty path to reach that cluster of rocks visible in the distance. That was the beach.
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The last section of the hike: quite a circus to reach a beach, if you asked me
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Then the sand was finally visible as the rocks ended, what a relief!
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And THERE was our gorgeous little private beach. Pristine as ever! It wasn't very big, probably 50 metres from end to end, but it was as clean, serene and peaceful as can be!
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Here are some sights of this little beach from that evening
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And here's a video of how it looked, as seen standing at that heavenly spot. Since this portion of the coast was not directly facing the Arabian sea, the wave current was minimal as you can see from this video.



The sand was still wet, so probably there was a high tide which had subsided by the time we arrived here.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0151.jpg


Some views from the rocks which we were sitting on, passing time till sunset
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Some gross stuff growing on some of the rocks. I'm not sure what these were, but the whole area smelt gross and this stuff felt slimy! Yuck!
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There was another side to this beach - the cluster of boulders that was visible from the hill we came from.
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The sun slowly started to set by around 6PM or so. We decided it was time to get back to our cottage, since we still had to hike through that thick forest cover.

Sunset at the rocky beach, Kurumgad island
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A departing view of this beautiful, tiny beach
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0174.jpg


Along the hike, I managed to capture the sunset again, but not without some annoying interference of rocks into the frame
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0193_4_5_tonemapped.jpg


Making our way through the forest, with whatever little sunlight was left for the day
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We reached the resort after a quick hike with the sun still dying out for the day. The staff had some piping hot pakoras and french fries for us to munch on, whilst watching the sun go down over a cup of hot coffee.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0200.jpg


Sunset - the twilight saga!
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We had a late dinner that night, and were delighted to hit the sack after a hot and tiring day. The night surprisingly turned cold pretty soon, least expected on an island!

Last edited by KarthikK : 23rd March 2013 at 10:45.
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Old 22nd March 2013, 19:51   #6
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Day 2 : Dolphin spotting attempts, followed by Watersports at Kurumgad!

We woke up to a bright, sunny morning. In fact we overslept and missed the sunrise by an hour. It was well past 7 AM. The resort staff had promised a 'guided tour' of the island this morning, so we got prepared and sat in our cottage while we waited for our guide, wondering what this 'guided tour' will show us more than what we already discovered the previous evening.


Waking up to a sunny morning at Kurumgad
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One lean guy arrived at our cottage and introduced himself. We hadn't seen him earlier at the resort, maybe he was busy with something else earlier. We soon set off on the hike, but took a different route. Well not exactly different. You see, there was one main pathway which ran along the entire circumference of the island. We probably covered half the circumference during the evening's hike to the beach. Now, this chap was taking us along the other half of the full circle. This passed by the boat jetty route through which we entered the resort (refer to map in post #1 to get the full circle), but in the other direction which we hadn't yet covered.

Passing by the entrance pathway
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Within 10 minutes of hiking and reptile spottings (I still don't know why there were so many of them here), we came to a natural mini-pool formed in the ocean, right next to the island. I came here the next day for detailed pictures, but here's a view from the pathway
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Along the hike, the guide next showed us a freshwater spring which originates here (picture below). This spring provides the island with freshwater through the year, except for a few months during peak summer, like the time we visited.
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Continuing from there, the trail started going uphill
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It became even steeper, but fortunately there was a stone-laid pathway so we didn't actually have to do any rock climbing / trekking
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The steep trail led to a quaint little shrine bang in the middle of the forest, set in a clearing. A bit of history check reveals that this shrine was ~500 years old, and was used by historic dynasties too!
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The whole place was basking in the morning sunlight. The guide told us this 500 year old Narasimha temple attracts visitors from the mainland during an annual festival held here in January. During the rest of the year, it remains unused and is just an archeological structure.
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Although this old cannon has nothing to do with the history of the temple itself, it is preserved here as an ancient wartime relic.
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A historic bronze bell outside that temple
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On the return route: taking an interior pathway brought us somewhere close to where the cottages were located.
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We spotted some construction going on along the way, looking at the construction raw material dumped at 2 places we passed by. Maybe the resort's expansion plans were getting along well.
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Continuing along the route towards the resort
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There were 2 more cottages in this resort, but they were facing the opposite side (towards Karwar).
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The view that they got outside the cottage was somewhat better than ours. Not fair!
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We thanked the guide and went back to our cottage after this short hike, since we had not only covered everything there was to cover on the island, but also because we were feeling hungry and could vaguely smell breakfast being cooked somewhere close by.

Post-breakfast, the resort had something called a 'Dolphin Spotting' boat ride. This was more of a gimmick than anything else. 4-5 other guests had dropped into the resort, being a Saturday, and their excitement on seeing those words 'Dolphin spotting session' knew no bounds, as though they were seeing dolphins giving a calendar photoshoot session . I had a hunch this spotting thing was going to be a flop show. I'd seen dolphins earlier, and the max that these creatures do in the wild is take a breath at the surface and disappear downwards again in a flash.

Nonetheless, we all climbed onto the boat along with the other tourists, and the boat rambled across the island in search of dolphins. We spotted a couple of them splashing into the water, but like I said before, they just catch their breath and go back in a fraction of a second, so trying to capture it on camera was useless. Instead, I tried to capture other things on the camera, from the boat :

Departing the island on a bid to spot dolphins
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An awkwardly shaped island
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Looking around the Arabian sea for dolphins
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Able to see that brown line below the water? We weren't sure about what that was. The boatman said it has been there since he was a kid, and even he didn't know what that was. No, it wasn't a rock.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0239.jpg


Passing by Devbagh beach and its occupants
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The 'Throttle body' and Throttle Position Sensor of this relic diesel boat
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A view from the ocean side, of the beach which we visited the previous evening.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0249.jpg


We got back to the resort after an hour of circling the island, but not before a speedboat ride. The speedboat ran on petrol, and had a Yamaha engine! That should tell you how much more exciting it was than the boring diesel fatso motorboat.

The petrol speedboat for petrolheads!
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0235.jpg


The 'Drivetrain' of this speed monster
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Post lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with watersports at the beach - including swimming, speed boat rides, tube surfing and banana boat rides. Needless to say, I didn't carry the camera during the watersports session, so there were no more pictures for the second day. We were too tired and bushed to do anything that day after the tiring watersports. Of course, we had energy for one thing - the dinner hogging session which one could never refuse at this resort. The food they served was simple but amazingly tasty! That brought the curtains down on Day 2.

Last edited by KarthikK : 23rd March 2013 at 13:19.
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Old 23rd March 2013, 00:39   #7
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Day 3 : The return from Kurumgad to Karwar; bidding adieu to the island

Both my friends were still asleep when I woke up the next morning. Maybe it was due to the watersports overdose. I wanted to capture sunrise, so I had set an alarm for 6 AM. One of the advantages of staying on an island is that you get a clear view of both sunrise and sunset. I got ready and went up to the nearest viewpoint from where I could catch the Eastern horizon. Thankfully the sun wasn't up yet, so I decided to head to the wading pool that we spotted the previous day, and trek down those rocks to get down there to sea level.

The rocks were very slippery, and had tons of crabs slithering in and out of the gaps when I started trekking down there. I thought these crabs were quite menacing and bold creatures. Turns out they are as shy as a touch-me-not plant. One look at them and they go berserk, scurrying for cover to hide behind something.

The sun slowly started to rise while I was trekking down to the wading pool.

Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0284.jpg

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HDR-version, re-take of the previous picture
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I liked this small rock formation with a very tiny pool and micro-beach, replenished by high-tide everyday. It looked very pretty, and although the island claims it is natural, I have my doubts.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0306.jpg


HDR-version, retake of the wading pool at sunrise
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0304_5_3_tonemapped.jpg


I took a video of this view too



I climbed back up to the main walking trail after a while down there at the sea, and started to walk back to the resort before the full fledged heat started.

On the way, I spotted the noisy generator room next to the jetty. This diesel generator was the only source of electricity on the island. Remember, entering this room is 'Denjerous'
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0297.jpg


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Passing by the bench at the viewpoint. I spent a few minutes sitting on this beach, inhaling some fresh morning air and enjoying the sights and sounds of the morning.
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The view from that bench, overlooking the Arabian sea.
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A couple of videos looking around from the viewpoint





Nobody was up at the resort yet, and the staff were probably busy preparing breakfast. This was the day we were returning to the mainland, so we had to re-pack all our luggage, albeit with a heavy heart. After this, we checked out of the cottage, went to the restaurant area and were passing time, shamelessly waiting for breakfast to arrive.


Getting back to the resort area
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Taking a final look at the splendid view from our cottage
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Passing time at the restaurant
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Looking down towards the coast
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Zooming in on another similar island close by. Going by the way tourism is expanding in this region, I'm sure by the time I next come here, some resort will have started up at that place too.
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0337.jpg



Soon, breakfast arrived at the buffet counter and we rushed to devour it
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I liked this particular table the best. It allowed a perfect view of the ocean, and even on hot days there was a pleasant breeze to up the mood.
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The resort had to prepare the checkout formalities, so we had to wait for a while until that was done with. What better way to pass time than lazing on these hammocks!
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By 11, we left the island and the motorboat dropped us back at the Karwar port. We had booked the overnight bus from Karwar to Bangalore, so we still had the whole day left. We checked into a decent a/c room at Premier residency, freshened up and had lunch at their restaurant by afternoon.

Sometime in the late afternoon, we decided to take a stroll from the hotel to Karwar's warship museum which was a stone's throw away. The 'museum' was a warship itself, retired from duty and grounded. The inside of the ship was metal and obviously it was sweltering hot inside there. We spent a few minutes inside the ship and got out of the museum in a short while.


Entering Karwar's warship museum
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A missile and torpedo with some 'gyaan' boards
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Exploring the inside of this warship : most interesting part - engine room. The board said 14,000 bhp of power. Sounds like fun!
Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island-dsc_0351.jpg


Departing view of the warship museum
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We spent another couple of hours strolling around the main Karwar town streets like vagabonds, and when the heat finally got to us, we got back to the safe confines of our hotel. After passing time watching TV for the next few hours, we had a light dinner and proceeded to the return bus pickup point. The bus stop was just a stone's throw away from the hotel, so we just walked there with the luggage.

The bus arrived on time, and unlike the previous journey, thankfully there were no entertaining stories this time in the bus. No specimen characters, nothing. The journey was smooth, and we arrived at home sweet home an hour earlier than the schedule. That brought an end to the short and memorable trip, and now an end to this travelogue.

There are loads of travel plans this year, with some unique and interesting destinations on the anvil, some overseas too. I will be back with a variety of better travelogues and photologues. Until then, I'll remain undercover.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by KarthikK : 24th March 2013 at 08:17.
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Old 24th March 2013, 09:15   #8
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Mods note: Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 24th March 2013, 09:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarthikK View Post

Able to see that brown line below the water? We weren't sure about what that was. The boatman said it has been there since he was a kid, and even he didn't know what that was. No, it wasn't a rock.

Attachment 1064801
Thanks for sharing the travelogue! Karwar is a beautiful place and has plenty of things to do and discover.

While I can't be 100% sure, the brown line(s) you see are most likely to be strong current flowing back to into the sea. These are found in places where the river meets the sea (Karwar) and are also affected by underwater terrain. The color is darker as the current takes away marine debris like seaweeds, soil, etch

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Old 24th March 2013, 10:16   #10
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KarthikK ,
A very well written travelogue. Superb pictures. Looks like you guys had a whale of a time!!! Thanks for sharing.
Karwar is on my 'to do' list now .
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Old 24th March 2013, 10:35   #11
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Karwar brings lots and lots of memories ! I remember the same when there was no navy then. Pristine green hills and clear waters have always been order of the day.

There are only 3 words to define rains. More, more and More ! 15-20km and you are the most dense jungles all around. What a place.

Never visited the island though. Nice one Karthik. The whole of western ghats houses many reptiles thanks to its tropical climate.
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Old 24th March 2013, 10:45   #12
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Wow, very well written travelogue Karthik and excellent pictures to go with it. Need to make plans to visit this resort now although maybe not this summer. I guess it would be better to go there sometime during October - November when the weather is just a little more accommodating ! Thanks for sharing, some more pictures will always be welcome !
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Old 24th March 2013, 22:25   #13
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As usual, a superb write up and the travel in itself. I was visualizing what you were going through in the bus during the onward journey. That was hillarous stuff to read

Nice photos too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
There are only 3 words to define rains. More, more and More ! 15-20km and you are the most dense jungles all around. What a place.

The whole of western ghats houses many reptiles thanks to its tropical climate.
Rain + western ghats = Super combination for nature lovers. The greenery during monsoon is mesmerizing.

With the reptiles, the ones that you can spot quite frequently are the cobras and the vipers. I was lucky twice to spot the king cobra in one of the estates in Kalasa.
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Old 25th March 2013, 17:03   #14
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Hi Karthik!

Excellent start there with the description of the bus ride to Karwar! I have travelled frequently in this Volvos between Bangalore & Bombay and Bangalore & Mangalore.
I could totally relate to the space issues, and after my first couple of bus rides, decided to stock myself with whatever I'd need during the ride (headphones, water, snacks, book, etc.) - only to be stuck with too much around me, decreasing the space further! Ridiculous! And the way you put it brought an instant grin on my face!

Nice off-beat setting for a weekend getaway. Must have been pretty peaceful out there.
Amazing, that little graphic map of the place. Really does bring to mind the Famous Five adventures :P

Thank you a very nice compilation.

Cheers,
Sam

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Old 25th March 2013, 18:30   #15
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Default Re: Trespassers will be captivated: Exploring Kurumgad Island

Awesome report. Thanks for sharing. The Sunset pics are awesome!

Have a few questions, If you could answer please
  1. Is it possible to bring our two wheelers to the Island?
    or
  2. Or Would the boat be capable of carrying motorcycles from Main land to the Island ?
  3. How many days do you think is sufficient to explore the island (at leisure)
  4. How do you go around the Island, On foot?
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