Sep 28, 2011

Day 1: Vypin and Marine Drive

"Could you please arrange for a cab?", I asked the reception manager at the YMCA guest house lobby.

"Where for, Sir?", he asked me back, wanting to know if it will be a local or a distant trip. So many places came to my mind then, suggested by my IIT friends, some of whom are from Ernakulam or from nearby places. "Visit Synagogue, Vasco Da Gama church, Chinese fishing nets; do not forget to take the ferry from Vypin; there is a walkway at Marine Drive, you can also go for private boating from there if time permits" are some of the ideas suggested by them.

"I want to go to Vypin", said I to the manager asking him to book the cab at the earliest. The time was already 15 minutes past 4. We occupied the room that was booked for us by our friend who got married, refreshed and came out in fifteen minutes to get into the cab at 4.30pm.

A view of Fort Kochi through backwaters from Vypin

We first went to Vypin crossing Vembanad bridge, the longest railway bridge in India that passes through 3 small islands. We roamed around Vypin clicking some shots of backwaters and Fort Kochi from the other side of the bank, observing Chinese fishing nets with a cup of Chai.

A view of Fort Kochi island from Vypin

Chinese fishing nets

"Could you take us to the starting place of boating? We would like to explore Fort Kochi", I asked the cab driver.

"There is no boating at Vypin Sir. Boating point is at Marine Drive. If you want, I will take you there", he said, apparently referring to the private boating service. "Its already past 5, and so churches and synagogue will be closed", he continued, "there is no point in crossing the backwater across to reach Fort Kochi as you would not be able to see anything".

Taking his word, we asked him to return via the Vallarpadam bridge to reach Marine Drive.

We reached the boating point at Marine Drive where we asked our cab driver to park the car in waiting. We got into one of the boats which was getting ready for a tour around the islands.

Indian Coast Guard, Cochin

We first sailed through the eastern edge of Willingdon island, a base of the Indian Navy in Cochin, where we saw some of the international ships either getting serviced or being loaded/unloaded with cargo. The boat took a 180 degree turn after reaching the southern tip of the Willingdon island, and continued to sail through Fort Kochi island.

Private boating at Marine Drive

A fare of Rs. 50 per person is charged for the boating trip which lasts for about an hour. We came back to the Marine Drive boating point, got into our cab and returned to YMCA guest house.