Snorkeling in the Gulf of Bengal

The beach in Ngapali is beautiful. Stretched out in front of the hotels, sand is the colour and texture of brown sugar, the water turquoise and clear. There are a few big rocks, for interest, which are dry at low tide. And a nice line of breaking waves… Just right to roll over unsuspecting bathers. Needed to keep our mouths closed!

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Two sizes of crabs, fist sized red ones scurry side ways in crab fashion. And pea-sized tiny white ones pop out of their holes to deposit gobs of sand in concentric arcs around their homes.

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The rocks are covered with the tiniest mussels I have ever seen, but not much else.  We needed to see more sea life!

We arranged for a snorkeling trip in a local boat…destination Pearl Island, just offshore. At 8 AM, the boat motored up opposite to us…on the other side of the breakers (not too big at 8AM)

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Carefully, they negotiated the waves…perpendicular to the beach, and stern first. We waded out and climbed aboard!

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Close to Pearl Island, we jumped in the nice warm water….no need to stick in a testing toe first…it was wonderful. The visibilty was not ideal, however, and the corals were rather dull colored. Lots of tiny fish. Annie saw a calamari, who saw her at the same time and jet-propelled himself away.

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We visited the local fishing village, motoring through the fishing boats back from their nightly catch. They all have ramps of electric lights mounted on bamboo poles. We could see them dotting the horizon after sunset every day. In the village, the women were preparing the fish.

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Smaller ones were sorted according to kind, and laid out in the sun on bamboo matts. Larger ones were gutted or filetted, and then dried. Fish paste was being prepared in the vicinity… lots of aromatic clues to that effect. The village market was just winding down… Many women were leaving the village with their purchases on their heads, joining their men in the smaller boats to go back to their own villages.

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Two women were carrying a big rectangular cardboard box labelled “solar panel”.

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We saw a bullock cart bringing more stuff down to the shore to be loaded on boats.

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One more snorkeling session then time to motor back to the hotel. Navigating the breaker line once again, backing onto the beach… Hopped out into the warm, shallow water…on our way to lunch!!!! (Snorkeling is hungry work)

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