Joined: Feb 24, 2007 Posts: 4066 Location: Miyapur, Hyderabad
Posted: Wed May 06, 2009 1:17 am Post subject: A Trip To Mangrove :: Jammu Island UPDATED
I could not manage to go to my native place for last 2 years due to different reasons. And suddenly I got a chance to go for a small trip to Kolkata to attend my friend’s wedding. As my parents are here in Gurgaon, so I decided to go alone for 5 days.
The first thing what came to my mind is a fishy trip. So I posted my thoughts in Kolkata Aquarium Club community about a trip to world’s largest Mangrove forest Sundarban. Instantly couple of KA club members picked up the initiative and started to enquire the details. But sadly we picked up a wrong time. We could not find out a single boat who agreed to take us to Deep into Sundarban overnight, afraid of storm and cyclone. Top of that, this is the breeding time of Royal Bengal Tiger, Snakes and crocodile. So we had to call it off.
Then suddenly Abhis came up with an idea of Bakkhali Trip. Bakkhali is the entry point of Sundarban, where we will get lots of mangrove biotope as well as we can come back to a hotel end of the day. Again bad luck. Most of the active KA members stuck with their semesters. Only we 4 (Abhis, Amitava, Mithun and me) agreed to go for this place to explore the biotope and collect information, so we can again plan for a bigger trip later, for the real Sundarban.
I reached 28th April, to kolkata and meet with KA members next day. It was a mind blowing experience to meet with a huge group of Serious, Active and young hobbyists. I am interacting with all of them for last 2 years through mails and orkut but never met. And simply flooded with a worm homecoming.
After having a super alcoholic party at late evening, I slept early and simply forgot to wish my wife our 4th marriage anniversary. It’s better to keep rest of the story secret.
Day 1 :: Henry Island
On 1st May, 6:30AM Me, Amitava, Mithun and Abhis started for Bakkhali from Kolkata. From Jadavpur, we picked up one of our junior KA member Abhirup, who told his parents that he is going for a last moment group study.
It was a long journey (Around 150KM) and a real hot day with full of humidity. Amitava started picking up speed, the moment he came out from city. Around 10:30AM we reached Diamond Harbor. Right after taking a sharp turn, a huge splash of Salted water welcomed us.
All of us were starving for a cup of tea and some food because none of us had breakfast. But Captain Amitava again dumped everyone to his Alto and said “Lets Go”. The journey was nice and Abhis is the real entertainer. The fight to capture the co pilot seat kept us busy at every stop. Finally at 11AM we reached Namkhana where we had to cross “Doaani Charani” river. There was a long queue of vehicles to catch the next Barge.
Suddenly Mithun disappeared and came up with a plate full of Bengali sweets (Rasa Malai). Immediately we started hogging. By the time we finished the sweets our turn came to catch the barge.
At 12 Noon we reached Bakkhali and checked into Hotel.
The first thing Mithun and I discovered was the AC is not working in our room and there was no empty AC room we can move into. Everyone was damn hungry and dirty with sweat and dust. So we planned to take a quick bath to start our day job. Mithun went for bath and I spotted couple of small water bodies from our hotel window. I and Abhirup immediately ran out to raid those water bodies if we can spot any fish.
Those swamps were almost dried up and hundreds of Blue Panchax was thriving in those swamps. As our aim was to explore the Mangroves and Delta areas, we were not carrying any hand net. I started trying to catch them by hand while Abhirup return to hotel to get a plastic bag. Within minutes, he returned with a plastic bag, Mithun and a clean towel which we have used as net to catch the killies. Later we discovered, that was Abhi’s towel stolen by Mithun. Within 5 min we were able to catch around 15 killies and returned to hotel with our first catch of the day. We 3 were covered with full of slurry mud and bare feet. When we crossed the reception, some city beauties started laughing after seeing these muddy faces.
Within 10 min we again came out of hotel and had a quick lunch at a road side dhaba and started for Henry Island. When we reached Govt. check post, another bad news was waiting for us. Fishing banned for next 3 months in all Delta areas as this is the breeding time. We parked our car and crossed a small bamboo bridge to enter into the island. Now our hiking started through dense mangrove forest and knee deep slurry mud.
Suddenly I spotted something everywhere in the mud moving and drifting around. After taking a closer look, we found those are Mud Skippers. A huge colony of Mud skippers who started approaching, near to us without any fear. It was impossible to get some decent pictures standing in that mud.
Abhis started trying to catch the buggers while I and Mithun were busy taking the pictures of their home ground. We spotted couple of amphibious plants growing on simple sand but failed to ID them.
One Plant which need ID,
After a long hike finally we reached to the Virgin Beach of Henry Island which is full of Red Crab and Drift wood (mangrove Roots). It was an experience to see those roots everywhere, what we used to pick up from LFS paying thousands.
Mithun and Abhirup started collecting woods like a mad and within few minutes we got a nice small hip of roots.
Then we all started picking up the good ones from that hip to take back to Kolkata.
It was already 3:30PM and we started to heading back to our car. As Abhirup has to catch the Bus from Namkhana to return to his home on time after completing day long group study.
When Abhirup left us, we started to explore the town, which is nothing but a small colony of fishermen and couple of weekend resorts. The whole area is powered up by the electricity produced by Wind Mills. Most of the shops are closed as it is off season and fishing is banned this part of the year. Everyone whoever saw us, becoming suspicious of our activity and questions we are asking. They never saw this kind of mad men who are asking about native fish and plants instead of asking the location of nearest liquor shop.
A big surprise was waiting for us at that evening when we returned to hotel. We knew, Abhis having another hobby of collecting Vintage Wines and liquors from all over world but we also knew, he never invite anyone to enjoy a single drop of those good stuffs. But suddenly when he took out a bottle of vintage Bordeaux from his bag, our tiredness gone with the salted evening wind.
End Of Day One.
Last edited by Tirtha C on Thu May 07, 2009 1:50 am; edited 2 times in total
Joined: Oct 28, 2004 Posts: 2450 Location: Salem, TN
Posted: Wed May 06, 2009 11:16 am Post subject: Re: A Trip To Mangrove
Nice trip guys! and keep it rolling.
Cool to see a big gang clubbing up, but it would be better if we know them with their IAH Ids, may be we would not need an ID during Aquatika when you guys drop in.
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