Saturday, November 14, 2009

India Day 11 Part 2 Cruising in a Houseboat

The welcome once we were on the Houseboat was coconut milk fresh in the coconut still with fleshy pulp around it. The bedrooms looked nice as well and what is more it had stopped raining.


We were not quite sure what was happening and what our itinerary was – but sometimes you have to go with the flow. The boats set off and turned round in the narrow river they were moored in.  In the UK we have to be able to perform a three-point turn to turn a car around in the road as part of our driving test. These guys ended up doing a 10 point turn – but they were very patient and soon the three boats were heading up river.


Here is one of the other boats alongside with Alan taking a picture of us.


Once we were underway we had lunch served at a dining table out on deck. We had one spicy dish and ended up getting seconds of the rice and potato sambal – we invoked out total vegetarianism when a rather odd looking fish turned up though. We also had a glass of cold-ish beer with lunch as well; This was turning out to be a very civilised way to travel

After lunch we retired to the front of the deck and watched the world go by as a gentle breeze blew over us.  Every now and then tea or coffee would be offered to us as well.

Here is Ben – well chilled.


The lagoon is large – 24Km wide at this point. Certainly the other bank seemed a long long way away,


Whenever there was something interesting on the bank I would get up and photograph it – which turned out to be the extent of my afternoon exercise.


The lagoon had a lot of floating weed in it – you need something to tell you which way the tide is moving.


Look there was even sun – although here reflecting in the water which was incredibly calm.


Ben – changing his viewpoint.


Blue skies and puffy white clouds – this is what I came to India to see. A pity the ride was not blessed by more of this weather.


Our boats would occasionally change places as they took slightly different routes – we spent quite a lot of the time with the engine at a very low throttle puttering along.

We did discuss whether the Boats were “driven” as badly as the cars, lorries and autos.  It was so peaceful they could not possibly go around beeping their horns.  They certainly seemed to give each other more room – unfortunately they did have horns – but only used them when going around blind bends.

Here is a boat heading for us.


Our stateroom  - with dining table and TV and a DVD player. we did not watch any movies though, the scenery we were passing though was attraction enough.


As time passes the sun started setting and the colours drained from the trees and turned them to black silhouettes.


The reflections of the palms caught my eye in this photograph.


The clouds look bad  but did not give us any problems.  The lagoon seemed to have lots of channels and cuttings separated by strips of land with Palms and bushes growing on them.


There were just too many things to photograph – here is a Palm tree framed by the open windows of our boat.


Apparently there are 2,400 registered Houseboats – but we would sometimes appear to be on our own – it shows just how big the area of water must be,


And then don’t you know, you bump into a boat with people you know. The boats we had, consisted of a two bedroom boat, a four bedroom boat and a 6 bedroom boat – so it was the luck of the draw for Ben and I – not that we were being anti-social. Here you can see Christine, Denise, Jay, Mary, Alan and their pilot.  Barry must be somewhere on the boat.


One of the great things about being on the water is that the sunsets are often more dramatic. The sun has a way to go but still looks pretty good here.


Ben – enjoying the peace and quite to have a read – he does not look to happy to be disturbed.


My view as I sat in my chair with my legs up.  Full-steam ahead Cap’n.


This tree shows all the signs of a misspent  youth!


A few boats appear on the horizon.


And banana chips/crisps appear on our coffee table – I told you this was civilised.


As we progressed we started to see signs of village life. This is a working canoe that has to be paddled.


Some ladies having a chat while waiting for the ferry boat to turn up. The ferry boats were just like the buses – they would whizz around not caring how much wake they created and all the Houseboats wisely kept out of their way.


Even more Palm trees reflecting in the water.


A silhouette of a tree – that is not a Palm tree – well the one in the middle anyway.


The sun getting lower and lower on the horizon.


The odd thing is that the Sun (and moon) appear to get larger when they are closer to the horizon – although there is no reason for this though.



A local making repairs to his boat – I hope. Engines don’t take kindly to being hit with a hammer.


Chatting on the doorstep and playing with the toddler.


A golden sunset.


We then moored to buy some local produce. After convincing our “chef” that we were vegetarians and did not eat fish or meat Raj offered us some giant prawns for dinner – freshly caught.  Now that was an offer we could not turn down – so we only eat vegetables and giant prawns – what’s wrong with that.

Ben selects his prawn.


A lad looks on as these strange foreigners play with the prawns and take pictures of everything.


Before dinner Raj joined us and explained why we had the extra long cycle ride this morning (tidal problems). He has a number of different tourist related enterprises and owned the first Houseboat to be used for tourism on the Lagoon. In fact we saw it go by.  He currently has two Houseboats and an Island retreat – where we were going tomorrow.

We then moved on down the river to our mooring spot for the night

When dinner turned up we had a vegetarian meal of bountiful proportions along with a prawn each.  The prawns had been stuffed with various herbs and spices including ginger. They were delicious, although a little messy to eat – even with Raj advising us.

Raj’s advice when it came to the legs was to use a knife to break them – it worked mostly – but Raj then broke my plate – at least he could not blame me for it. We also had a colder bottle of beer and when we asked for another (because we had seen three bottles arrive on the boat) we were told there was none and then magically 5 minutes later it turned up.

With nightfall the mosquito menace gets greater and sitting out on deck with lights on attracts them so we sat in the gloom. Of course that did not stop me taking pictures. This was an 8 second exposure of the lights on boats on the opposite bank.


It was pretty tiring doing nothing and with the dark it led to an early night. Tomorrow was to be the last cycle ride of the trip. So hopefully the weather would be as good as today.


  1. Hi Jamie,
    Wonderful blog! I love the pictures and the description of your journey. I came across your blog through the Far and Away site and I've been checking for new entries a bit too often. Thank you for sharing it.


  2. Hi Susan, thanks for the kind words. I apologise that I can't get a post out each day. Internet access was limited where we were travelling and with all the rain I had problems washing and drying my cycling gear. I did try to write one each day and then whenever we got the chance would download a bunch of posts.