Monday, 19 November 2012

Scuba Dive trip to Malvan

         After a long break, we decided to go for our most waited Scuba diving trip to Malvan. It was pending from last 8 – 9 months. Due to lack of holidays we decided to cover this trip within 3 days. My friends Anway & Rupesh (PADI certified Divers) arranged dives near Sindhudurg fort on 18 Nov i.e. on Sunday.  Me and my Wife Renuka learned Scuba diving when we were in Andaman and we are very excited for our Dive number 2 & 3. Travelers for this trip were Me, Renuka and our friend Gauri and Swapnil.

Sindhudurg Fort

About Malvan – Tarkarli
           Malvan is a town in Sindhudurg District, Maharashtra. It is known for Sindhudurg Fort, Malvani cuisine (Fish curry and Solkadi), Alphonso – Mango and local food. Malvan is considered as heaven for the non-vegetarians especially sea food lovers.
Tarkarli is just 7 km from Malvan with very beautiful long coastline with white powder sand beaches, clear sea water. Tourists get attracted towards Malvan - Tarkarli because of clean, beautiful beaches, Fort, lovely nature and very less crowd. People generally opt to go to Goa as it is hardly 100km away from Malvan. Now it is famous spot for Snorkeling and Scuba diving.

Our main intention to visit this place is scuba diving and snorkeling with our own gears.

About Scuba diving in Malvan:-
         Scuba diving became one of the popular activities in Malvan now a day. Even though, the traditional method is not fallowed for diving in Malvan behind Sindhudurg fort area. In Andaman or in Goa, you have to carry 10kg/12kg oxygen cylinder on your back during dive. In Malvan, Cylinder/Air compressor is kept in the boat and you have to take air from pipe + value which are attached to the air compresses. Your underwater distance/depth is depends upon the length of that pipe (from air compresses to diver's mouth). Maximum depth for Dive in Malvan is around 25 – 28ft. underwater visibility is in excellent condition from Nov to Feb end.

Our Route:-
           Best way to reach Malvan is Pune – National highway 4 (NH 4) – Reach to Kolhapur – from Kolhapur city either you can join Radhanagar forest road OR Gaganbawada ghat road – Vaibhavwadi (If you opt Gaganbawada ghat road) – Take a right at Phonda and join state highway 116 – Join National highway 17 at Phonda Phata (Humbrath Titha village) – Take right at Kasal - state highway 118 – Malvan.
          To reach Tarkarli, take a left turn after Malvan Bus stand. Distance between Malvan and Tarkarli is 7km. Resort MTDC is consider as end point of Tarkarli and you can go ahead to visit Devbag by same road which is end point of Malvan – Tarkarli road.

Gaganbawada ghat

Day 1 (17 Nov 2012): Pune – Malvan (Distance traveled: 395km)
           Our Journey began early morning at 5:30AM. We wanted have our lunch in Malvan and also wanted to avoid traffic on national highway. Driving on highway in early morning was a good start of our trip. Due to less traffic on highway and at the toll, we easily able to cover maximum distance with very less driving time. We took small pit stop after Khambatki ghat for tea and coffee.  By 9 AM we reach in Kolhapur city and took break for breakfast. After tasty Kolhapuri missal, we left for Malvan via Gaganbawada route.

Missal-Pav

Surmai Fish at Lunch in Malvan

          Road up to Gaganbawada was in horrible condition due to which we our lost journey’s momentum. Actual ghat section is very smooth and curvy. This route offers breathtaking mountain views which forced you to take halts for photographs. We reached in Malvan by 2:00PM and had our Lunch in my favorite restaurants “Atithi Bamboo” which is famous in Malvan for Fish. Girls ordered vegetarian meal whereas we ordered Surmai fish meal (king mackerel or seer fish in English). We booked rooms at Annapurna Nivas at Tarkali. This was homestay and our last stay (In month of May) was here only. After rest for a while, we planned to visit beach for swimming. The beach slope was gentle and sea water was clean enough to see the sea bed. This beach is much better than any other famous beach from Konkan area. We witnessed very beautiful Sun set from Tarkali beach. Weather was too clear so we were able to see sun on horizon spreading orange-red color all over the sky.

Tarkarli Beach
Tarkarli Beach

Sun set @ Tarkarli Beach

Sun Set @ Tarkarli beach

           When we came back on our rooms, we got to know about sad dismissal of very popular political leader Balasaheb Thakre.  Entire Maharashtra state came to virtual halt immediately after his death, with shops and commercial establishments closed. We got to know that Malvan city was closed and only Medical shops were open. We asked Gosavi aunty (Hotel owner) to cook something for dinner and we had egg Burgi at that night. Political party declared Bandh (Everything will be closed for entire day) terming it 'Shradhanjali Day, on 18 November as a mark of respect for Thackeray. Me and Renuka were worried about our Scuba dive but latter we got to know that our dives will not affect and some of the tourist places will be in running state.
After our dinner, we ended our day 1 and were dreaming about our Scuba dives.

  • Car Petrol: INR 3800/- (Avg INR 72/Lit, Total distance cover by car was 856km)
  • Toll on NH-4 (Khed-Shivapur): INR 70/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Anewadi): INR 60/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Taswade): INR 62/- one way
  • Toll on NH-4 (Kini): INR 62/- one way
  • Breakfast in Kolhapur: INR 120-140/- for 2 along with tea/coffee
  • Surmai meal at Atithi Bamboo restaurant: INR 150/-
  • Veg meal at Atithi Bamboo restaurant: INR 60/- (with sweets)

Day 2 (18 Nov 2012): Scuba Dive at Malvan and Visit to Devbag
           We woke up with lots of enthusiasm. We had breakfast and were mentally prepared for our Scuba Dive. Our friends decided to stay back at home so they can enjoy the Tarkali beach. My Friend Anway came to our hotel for pick up. Weather was perfect for dive and cool breeze was playing on sea water. We were amazed with the water visibility; we were not expecting so much clear water visibility. In short all natural conations were perfectly set for us. Soon we boarded the boat to Sindhudurg fort.

Our Dive Boat

           As we learned our Scuba diving in Andaman Islands, we were ready to dive without any training sessions. We geared up with wet suits and did some warm up in the water as temperature was very low. Our dive instructor was with us for entire dive and we requested him to leave us alone for some time in the water if he feels we were comfortably doing scuba skills. He agreed and slowly we went down.

Ready for Dive No 3

          As we swam into the deep waters, I couldn’t believe my eyes; I felt I was in a different world all together. There are plenty of Corals, Rock patches and fishes around us. We were surrounded by beautiful and colorful small fishes, they aren’t harmful and watching them is like a treat to the eyes. It is really hard to describe just how awe-inspiring SCUBA diving is … the underwater world is just so unique. Shoals of fish swim past you whilst some fish poke their heads out of small cracks in the rock. The more you look around, the more you see – Flat coral, Finger corals, Cat fish, sea cucumber, urchins, Blue Line Grouper, Parrot fish, damsel fish, Curious batfish and even red snapper fish (my mouth was watering seeing them) .After 25-30 min our instructor left us alone and we were exploring underwater life independently. Our confidence was boosted due to our solo scuba act in the water. After some photo session, we came back on our boat after 45 to 50 min dive.

Coral

Photograph taken during our Dive

Diver Renuka Kulkarni (My Wife)

It's Me!

          We were quite exhausted but still we wanted to have another dive. It was not possible for us to again for 45-50 min dive so we requested them for another short dive. Our dive buddy was very happy with our diving skills set so he took us again in the water for 20 min short dive. During our second dive we were surrounded by a school of small fishes. Overall experience was just mind blowing.

Blue Line Grouper fish

surrounded by a school of small fishes

Red snapper fish

          When we came on boat, we were hungry and had some snacks which we brought on boat. After relaxing for 20 odd min, we jumped into water for snorkeling. We had our own gears along with tube so we were free to swim and enjoy the underwater beauty with the safe distance. After some time our dive guide came close to us and told us to follow us. He then took us at the point where number of fishes swimming nearby underwater rocky caves like shapes. Generally they don’t show this area as it is known as so called rich area nearby fort. Special thanks to our instructor for such a lovely ride.

After Diving...Happy!!!

snorkeling!!!

          Our friends were waiting for us on Jetty so we came back after our fun filled dives. Everybody was hungry so we went in the restaurant for sea food lunch and proceeded to Sindhudurg fort. We took ferry tickets to visit Sindhudurg fort. It takes hardly 10 min boat ride to reach there. We hired guide so will get to know the history of fort. Sindhudurg (Sindhu = sea, durg = fort) was built by the great Maratha warrior King Shivaji in 1664. Fort was built over a period of three years spread over 48 acres area. The main entrance is concealed in such a way that no one can pinpoint it from outside. This fort has the only temple of great Maratha warrior King Shivaji. The fort also has a Bhavani temple and the impressions of hands and feet of Shivaji Maharaja. Construction of fort is very solid. Due to time restriction we came back with hour and came back to at our rooms for relaxation.

Veg Meal

Pomplet fish meal

          Evening time was allocated for Devbag beach and Tsunami Island for watersports. This island has emerged in 2004 after Tsunami waves hit the coast. A local fisherman told us that prior to 2004, this place used to be under water at least by 3-4 feet even during the low tide. After the tsunami wave hit the coast, it has turned into an island during low tide but gets submerged by 2-3 feet during high tide. This island is very small and you can see it during low tide. Water sports are arranged on this island and even during high tide you can go there. It was low tide so we able to see Island, unfortunately due to low light I was not able to take Island’s photo.

Swapnil, Gauri, Renuka & Me (From Left to right)

         We spend 30-40 min on Island beach and did Bumper ride and Jet skis ride. Bumper ride was simply awesome. Few rides are far better than rides from Goa. Today we miss sun set bcos of watersports activity. For Dinner we went in Malvan city where most of the restaurants were open. We headed to my favorite “Atithi bamboo restaurants”. First time in my life I ate Crab Meal which was very delicious.

Crab Meal

Prawns Fish Meal

Atithi Bamboo restaurant
Atithi Bamboo restaurant, Malvan

  • Scuba Diving: INR 1500/- per hear per dive.
  • Snorkeling: INR 300/- per head for 20-25 min (We have our own gear so it was free for us)
  • Pomplet meal: INR 250/-
  • Prawns meal: INR 150/-
  • Veg meal: INR 60/- (without sweet)
  • Car parking at Malvan jetty: INR 30/-
  • Boat ride to Sindhudurg: INR 38/- per head (return ticket)
  • Guide charges: INR 100/-
  • Boat ride to Tsunami island: INR 300/- for boat
  • Bumper ride: INR 200/- per head
  • Jet skis ride: INR 250/- per head
  • Crab meal at Atithi Bamboo: INR 100/-

Day 3 (19 Nov 2012): Malvan - Pune
          Today we have to start our return journey so we got up early and went on beach for swimming. We had our breakfast and left Malvan by 10 a.m. After our little ‘Malvani items shopping’; trip was over and we came Pune by10:00 PM via Radhanagari ghat.

Visit to Kaju factory

Drum Kaju Process

Malvan's Monday Local Bazar

Monday Local Bazar

  • Home-Stay at Annapurna Nivas for 2 nights: INR 1200/- for 4 person
  • Breakfast at Annapurna Nivas for 2 day: INR 350/- for 4 person.
  • Toll on NH-4 (Kini): INR 62/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Taswade): INR 62/- one way
  • Toll on NH-4 (Anewadi-Satara): INR 50/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Khed-Shivapur): INR 70/- one way entry
     
            A Beautiful scuba diving trip was over and now next locations for scuba dive trip are South Goa, Karwar and Netrani Island.

Contact numbers for your reference:
  • Annapurna Nivas for Homestay: Vandana Gosavi – 02365-253537, 9404442990.
  • Snorkeling and scuba diving: Rupesh – 9766420038, Anavay – 9823857576. http://snorkelingtarkarli.com/home
  • Atithi Bamboo restaurant: Sanjay Gavade – 9423304327.

For more details about Malvan-Tarkali, read my old travel blog at "Trip to beautiful Malvan-Tarkarli"

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

 Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune