There is a lot more to Goa than beaches, palm trees and feni (a local alcohol drink)… one of them being exciting water sports.
Goa is a paradise for adventurous water sport lovers. The long coastal area offers a wonderful opportunity to indulge in all sorts of thrilling aquatic sport activities. Surf the seas or float across the blue skies, the options of sport enjoyment are never ending in Goa.
Surfing, snorkeling, jet-skiing, boogie boarding, scuba diving, water-skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, and deep sea fishing are just some of the water sports that are sure going to take your breath away.
And the best part is that all you need is loads of enthusiasm, grit (and of course some hard cash) and you’ll have an absolutely unforgettable time.
However, these sports should be done under expert guidance and even if you are a novice like me to these sports, you are made to feel the other way by experts who are basically locals and who without any gadgets, in just shorts & a T-shirt, eat, breathe and live sea. One of them told me they are in sea water for more than 12 hours a day !!
When we decided a vacation in Goa, we knew water sports would be a part of it. We wanted to enjoy our vacations reposefully.
So one full day was reserved for water sports and since we knew it was going to be a tiring one, on previous day we had taken rest from our sight seeing schedules. We just lazed around, relaxed in swimming pool and walked to the beach at night. As I have mentioned earlier, the Benaulim beach was only one and half kilometers from our place of stay.
On the day of water sports, we got up early and reached Calangute beach via Mapusa. What we observed was that there was not a single foreigner in Calangute beach. I think they don’t prefer it as the beach is very crowded with locals.
You can see the shadows, it was almost noon but even the scorching heat could not deter the enthusiasts.
There were several reasons for choosing this beach over other.
1) While going we had met a girl on train whose hometown was Goa and she had recommended this particular beach. We went by her experience.
2) The rides or activities are far less expensive here. Probably the organizers make money by sheer no. of people visiting the place.
3) It was equidistant from our place of stay so it didn’t make any difference to us.
4) We got to see one more beach. 🙂
Though Goa doesn’t have any magnificent coral reefs like Australia or South Africa, it still boasts a variety of fascinating marine life. One can see the wreckage of the colonial ships that belong to the Portuguese and the sharks.
Still we left some activities such as scuba diving & snorkeling for next time. It would have eaten up half a day of our schedule. Also, though I am slightly adventurous type, still I am not too comfortable shaking hands and gossiping with sharks and jellyfishes in their home. 😉
A number of government and private organizations including hotels and tour operators conduct these activities including training courses at a very nominal rate for tourists.
Dona Paula beach is also famous for water sports especially for speed boats & jet-skiing. And if you want a leisurely sail on a paddleboat like we had in Venna lake, you can go to the picturesque Mayem Lake. If one is interested, there are even speed boats and sail boats available to go to other beaches.
Some of the aquatic rides that I enjoyed were water-scooter, water skiing, paragliding, banana ride, surfing, etc.
The banana boat
Banana ride is for a maximum of four people at a time. The inflated boat is in shape of a banana and is tied to a speed boat. Apart from the ‘passengers’ there is only one guide on board. The other person handles the boat.
They take you in the middle of the sea and suddenly the banana topples throwing all into the sea !! And mind you, you are NOT tied to anything or anyone.
There I was struggling with heavy waves, splashing, kicking and drinking sea water, screaming for my life, worrying about becoming delicious food for the sharks. Man, I had never had such freaking thrills in my life.
The other activity that I loved most was paragliding. I had opted for the biggest round (Rs 1000/-). Though I had done similar things before in Panchgani and in France (yet to write about it), it was quite different this time. The main difference was that I was gliding over the sea at a higher altitude and for a longer period.
I liked it so much that I went for another big round carrying the handycam this time !! And I felt the same what our first astronaut had felt when he uttered “Saare jahan se accha Hindustan hamara“.
But to tell you the truth, I had inquired about the strength of the rope and bode a goodbye to all before I went up first time and bravo !! I was the first one to volunteer.
Nonetheless, it was pure fun. I was told by the guide that 200-300 people queue up for paragliding in peak season. The guides don’t get time to even eat !
Note:– The paragliding charges start from 400 INR (for small) to 1000 INR (more than half a km in the sky) per person for each round.