Devgad to Tarkarli
12:35. The phone rings. As I fumble in the dark, I find an incoming call. It’s Shanj. Deepak has finally gotten a hold of her and brought her to Devgad. Great.
In that groggy state of ‘let-me-sleep’ and ‘show-me-my-new-mobile-pouch-and-glares’ I find dense loaf. Water to the parched. Let’s talk about Dense loaf for a minute. If Theobroma made a more complete meal than it’s own English Breakfast, it’s Dense Loaf. An ammalgamation of chocolate and endless goodness, it’s a must for anyone who’s fed museli and boiled eggs for 2 weeks.
I sleep sound. For 4 hours. Then it’s museli and eggs again. Bags are packed and go-pro’s are cased. I have my sunscreen bath and slip on my green skin. It’s turning into my favourite. Sorry for all the shots of me in green. It’s holding back the chafing and with half sleeves, a wind atleast keeps me half dry.
We are a little late with packing and getting out and by the time we get down to the lobby, it’s close to 6. My kayak that is nestled between the local liquor shop and our hotel is cased in her plastic sheet. As a Devgad drunkard this is probably comforting, because seeing a 19 foot white hodi parked behind the new hotel in town, is not everyones cup of ‘whatever-they-drink-in-devgad’.
We strap on the kayak. This takes time, because there are slopes we have to take. It has to be done right. It’s 6 and sleepiness is a thing. Legs in. Cars on it’s way. While I’ve landed at the pristine Mithmumbri Beach off of Devgad, the boat is back at Taramumbri jetty at Devgad. In what is becoming a regular occurrence, I will start ahead of it. This cat-and-mouse game gives the safety boat something to do. It also helps keep everyone on edge. Wish I was on edge. I yawn.
As we draw parrallel to the creek, the good samiritan who’d alerted the cops and subsequently given me a cup of tea comes down to see me off. He shows his three girls the kayak. I explain the trip. Then he helps me take it down the steep sandy slopes. It’s in the clear water. I could probably drink this water if I got the salt out. I can’t so I paddle away. Wave good bye. Devgad was good.
It’s a beautiful beautiful day. Shanj had remarked it was a lovely sunrise. But it was so much more. The crimson is exquisite and there are clouds stretched right across the canvas of the horizon. As I paddle past the first rock face that corners this beach, I’m stunned. Nestled in a valley facing the water is Kunkeshwar. From 2 kms out, the lovely white structure that can only be a temple looks magnificient, and massive. Paddling to sights like this is a pleasure. Even with the wind hitting you you feel everything stand still. Like I could pass by Kunkeshwar for years and be trapped in this sunrise. The day only gets better.
I’m doing good time and I have little to worry about. I clock that we left a little late, and I’ll have 2.5 hours of paddling before the sun hits me. It’s almost an hour and half of paddling in lovely weather when the safety boat catches up. I’ve done a good distance. The water is that pristine blue you get when the sea and sky meet in reflection of the other. It’s also calm and pushing me down south. Nothing could be more perfect. Except maybe if the sun hides behind a cloud. So it does. I paddle past lovely white beaches with dense woods. I paddle past the big fishing trawlers that have small row boats attached to their stern. I paddle past the sun.
It’s 9:15 and I don’t need to don my hat. The tide is doing the rest. If I had music it would be Seal’s I believe I can fly. I rack up the kms. I’d done 35 yesterday but today’s a longer stretch. I’d planned this in 2 parts. Devgad to Munage beach and Munage to Malwan. Tarkarli, a little south, is cut off by a bunch of rocks and the safety boat can harbour at Malwan. Only thing is, I have bad network. I haven’t been able to change the 2 stretches into one. It’s good news in a way, because I don’t have to do the additional 3-4 kms I’d lose pulling into and leaving Munage beach. The other thing is, we won’t be caught off guard like Godavne. So when I paddle right past Munage, I switch navigation to Malwan. I reckon a good 20 kms more. It is. As I draw parrallel to the course, things are going well. The sun is a little higher now, so I can’t escape it, but the hat gives me good protection. Thanks Ali. It does sap out some of the energy, but it’s partially eclipsed.
By the time I turn 32 kms, I’m a little tired. But mostly because we seem a little lost. If I followed my GPS, I would have been fine, but the safety boat adds that additional panic of ‘Where-is-the-jetty’. That’s when it’s important to look left. If I’ve said Maharashtra is beautiful, I was probably lying because this is quite exquisite! Rocks tempered by the sea with white waves hitting them. The shore is littered with palm trees and just then, a small white rectangular house adorned by a white cross. It’s beautiful. To the right Sindhudurg fort is tall and strong. I’ve to pass right though it.
I paddle peacefully into Malwan. Between the rocks and the fishing boats and the ferries to take people snorkelling. There is a jetty, and my parents waving. Everything is perfect.
I land at the beach and as I do my stretches and change into warm clothes, a group of tourists swing by. One of them says – ‘Hey, I’ve heard of this. He’s going to Goa in that thing.’ Yes, it’s a good day.