REINVENTING GOA, India's hedonistic beach hideaway
Updated: Jun 8, 2021
Ranjan Pal, CNN • Updated 14th January 2021
For adventure seekers, a river journey with Konkan Explorers is a must. This unique tourist experience is the brainchild of enterprising Frenchman Pascal Ribo.
"As a trained anthropologist, I was always intrigued by the complex relationship that Indians had with the natural world while, as a trained sailor, I could draw on my nautical experience growing up as part of a sailing family in Marseille," he tells CNN Travel.
"Konkan Explorers was the obvious way for me to combine these two passions."
We board the small custom-designed fiber-glass Red Mangrove boat from the Chopdem ferry and are soon heading up the Chapora River against the flow of the current as the tide pulls out.
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Conservation is part of the package and solar panels on the canopy provide the power to run the navigation equipment and the marine toilet.
We cruise along for about an hour before dropping anchor midstream near a large mangrove swamp, where we clamber onto the sit-on-top expedition kayaks and cast off towards the swamp.
Soon we are swallowed up by a mysterious shadowy green world as Gray langur monkeys swing out of sight and mangrove crabs scuttle down gnarled tree trunks. The water is quite shallow here and at one point Ribo jumps off to conduct a mini-biology lesson.
Several of us follow suit, sinking into nutrient-rich black sludge, which Ribo encourages us to plaster on our faces and arms until we look like stealth commandos.
Then, it's back to the mother ship and time for stand-up paddle boarding.
The entire tour is fun and fulfilling, the extreme professionalism of the crew and the detailed knowledge-based briefing given by Ribo ensuring a positive experience with water.
Behind-the-scenes, Konkan Explorers is committed to protecting the environment it operates in, with the entire crew taking part in a clean-up drive on the river every two weeks. Twice a year the crew brings local schoolchildren along as part of their efforts to educate locals about the importance of protecting the area.
For more on the tours, visit Konkanexplorers.com.