Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!!

Tripoto
24th Jan 2018
Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

Check out the journey through our eyes!! WATCH THE VIDEO!!

This is the story of 3 doctors (Rhythm, Jay, Saumitra) from Ahmedabad, who chose to ditch the quotidian travelling and take-up a dream journey. The plan was to cool the minds after exams with an impending Road Trip; and what better than a Mumbai-Goa Road Trip! Initially when I flipped the idea of 1800 km drive, I wasn't taken seriously (I tend to pitch impossible plans on a regular basis), so I plotted the whole trip down & ultimately convinced the lot.

Soon began the research, finalization and booking process. I, personally, believe in researching the hell out of a place, but having no fix plans once I reach there. And that's exactly what we did on this trip. So read on and enjoy! If you like it, please share it further, and let me know in the messages if you wish to know more!

Day 1

On 23rd night, none of us was able to get enough sleep, for different reasons. Jay's NEET-PG result was preponed by 5 days to 23rd night and to make matters worse, the server was overloaded and we couldn't access the result. Saumitra was coming back from Vadodara in a late evening bus after a busy day and he hadn't even packed! Apart from helping Jay, I was too excited to be able to sleep.

A cab and a 4am flight later, we were at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

EXCITED!!

Photo of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Rhythm Patel

Couldn't wait to get started!!

Photo of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Rhythm Patel

5.30 am:

We had breakfast at the airport while waiting for our Ford Ecosport to be delivered to us by the SelfDrive.in driver. A thorough car check & other formalities later, we left the airport premise. After a brief halt to arrange all the car accessories (See the end for details), Jay took the first duty.

NH 66 vs NH 4 (now NH 48) :

The former was the obvious choice. NH 66 is a marvelous road in itself; the sights it offers adds to the experience. Though it is longer and slower, the extreme beauty of palm trees, lush green canopies and sparkling water makes up for it and more. Passing through Forests, ghats, rivers, ocean, villages, towns - it's a THERAPY! The roads are not straight but serpentine and steep, passing through the majestic Western Ghats - adventurous drivers, this is your cue! The highway is a 2-lane road without a median as of now, so please exert extreme precaution throughout the journey.

The early morning Mumbai traffic ended at Panvel from where it was a smooth highway ride ahead. We passed through Karnala Bird sanctuary, Pen and other lazy villages along the way. Surprisingly, none of them had even a single wine shop. The "Ghats begin here" billboards welcomed us as we entered the surreal mountain range. As time passed, we became more hungry than alcohol-thirsty. We let a few places slide in anticipation of a better place ahead. Yes, you guessed it - after about 5 places, came a 1-hr patch of road with no restaurant whatsoever. Having eaten almost nothing in the last 6-7 hours, hypoglycemia was working its magic on us. Ooh! That was one long hour! Untill finally we found "Shiv Sagar" about 9km before Chiplun where we ate to our hearts' content.

Crossing Chiplun, we headed directly for Ganpatipule to experience it's prestine beach. While Jay and I were revived by the lunch, Saumitra had other ideas (Zzz). As I took charge of the car, came a small village with a road more curvy and steep than what we had experienced till now. We didn't see a single motor vehicle for atleast 5km. Boy, that was a road to drive on!

3.00 pm :

With a heavy heart, we decided to bypass Ganpatipule beach because we were already behind our schedule and had a long journey ahead of us.

From here, we drove down the MSH 4, which runs along the Arabian Sea. Contrary to the ghats, these flat roads are inscribed in vast open plains. On our left were vast grassy yellow plains and on our right was the sun shining from the sea's surface. This is the road nobody visits or talks about in a Mumbai-Goa roadtrip; but I highly recommend a drive on this road. If it's summer, don't miss out on the famous mangoes of Ratnagiri.

A lot of pic-opportunities and wow! moments awaited us as we went further up the road.

Muchkundi River

Photo of Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

The copper Ford Ecosport!

Photo of Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

Triputy!

Photo of Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

The bridge over Muchkundi river

Photo of Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

Plains, Forests, Sea!

Photo of Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

Rhythm!

Photo of Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

We halted to watch the entire show!

Photo of Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

Jay!

Photo of Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

Saumitra!

Photo of Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

No destination is worth missing this phenomenon!

Photo of Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

When the highway ended and we entered the local roads, it was no longer a very smooth journey. With our speed limited and energies beginning to drain, it became more and more difficult to cover distances. Although, we did find a place to score some beer & breezer.

9.00 pm :

The Car trip-meter showed 513.3km and Google Maps showed our destination on the left in 50m. Eventhough we were late by 2 hours, we had the time of our lives and we knew it was worth it!

HOTEL : Tarkali Niwas Nyahari, Malvan

A decent hotel with fine rooms, average restaurant and a superb location, with a clean beach right across the street.

Cost : Rs 2500/- (incl. Extra bed)

Total Journey : 513km

Total time : 14 hours

Pit stops : 2

DAY TIP :

- Please don't opt for SCUBA in Malvan.

- Do enjoy the beach.

Day 2

We took turns in getting ready and eating breakfast. Saumitra betrayed us by visiting the beach, assuming that Jay and I were busy having breakfast; though he did grab some nice pics.

A place to dip your legs

Photo of Malvan, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

The cleanliness of the beach!!!

Photo of Malvan, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

Calm waves!

Photo of Malvan, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

It was Saumitra's turn to take over the car as we left Malvan at about 8.30am. Following a few kms of local roads, a right turn rejoined us to NH 66. We skipped Sindhudurg Fort as it's neither worth it nor was it on our way.

Smooth cruising

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

The car-selfie!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

Rockstar!!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

Eeeyyyyyyyy!!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

After crossing Sawantwadi, Goa came in no time. Goa was only a pit stop on that day. We refuelled and boozed up the car as both are cheaper in Goa.

NH 66 dissects Goa in it's entirety, passing through the main cities. Polem is the last village of Goa and then we came to the Goa-Karnataka border checkpost. We thought the Police would scavenge our car for alcohol, but it was just a customary paper-check. Karnataka had the best roads among all 3 states - both quality and scenery wise.

4.30 pm :

We decided to check-in at the hotel before we leave for the beaches. There was a single parking space for a few hotels together and it wasn't even free (Rs 200). From there our hotel was about 150m on foot in the beach sand. We had booked Gokarna Adventure after I had read about it on Tripoto itself, but we were not satisfied for the amount we were paying. (See end of Day 2 for hotel review). Jay had been to Gokarna a year before, so he was our guide for the day.

Om beach :

I felt the strong vibes of that place as soon as we came down the stairs onto the rocks. The 2 semi-circular beaches touching each other form the '3' of Om; giving it it's name. You can find a lot of foreigners here - singing, seating alone or feeding the cows. Quite a few hiking options are available for the enthusiasts. Namaste cafè is worth visiting for a quick snack by the sea.

Om beach

Photo of Gokarna, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

Saumitra with his SRK pose!

Photo of Gokarna, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

I have no idea what Jay was trying to do!

Photo of Gokarna, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

You can see the '3' of Om!

Photo of Gokarna, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

The stand-alone rock

Photo of Gokarna, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

Before you reach the bottom of the stairs

Photo of Gokarna, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

I thought this would look cool.. I know, it doesn't!

Photo of Gokarna, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

Paradise & Half-moon beaches :

There is a ferry leaving every 30mnts from Om beach to these beaches if you don't want to trek. We decided to savour them only from a distance and rather spend the remaining time at Kudle beach.

Kudle beach :

A short downhill trek took us to the beach enclosed on 3 sides by mountains. This creates a Tunnel effect, resulting in cool breeze on the beach. Something about the place calmed my nerves and I instantly felt weak in my knees, wanting to go to no other place from there. Few more foreigners were learning yoga or selling handicraft items. We chose a decent looking shack and rested our buttocks on the mattress. While we were waiting for our order, a small puppy came between Jay and me, gazed at both of us and went to sleep right besides me.

Kudle beach

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

The light hovering over our heads!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

Dinner View!!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

Kudle beach cuddled by the mountains!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

The cutie!!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

We were so comfortable amidst the cool breeze, gorgeous backdrop and the salty smell that we couldn't care less about the rain-dance and camping back at our hotel. I reckon we were too comfortable because we ended up asking the waiter for some weed! None of us smoked so it wasn't a big deal that he didn't provide us with some, but his answer left us in splits. He looked on both sides and quitely said "Bro, this is not Amsterdam; this is f**king India!!".

Gokarna Beach:

This is where our hotel was located. We freshened up and ran to the sea. The moon shined on the waves giving them a brilliant 'silvery' view!

Flash angle 1!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

Flash angle 2!!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

HOTEL : Gokarna Adventure, Gokarna

It's a very small property on the Gokarna beach with only tents and cottages. Tents are very small with only mats to sleep on. The tents are not even places on the beach as their pictures publicise. The cottages have no concept of privacy or security. There were no basic ammenities, no bathroom door and no hygeine. We had to sleep with our legs dangling. I had to use my own towel as a blanket in the cold; because they neither had given us a 3rd blanket nor were there any glass on the window to stop the direct wind.

Cost : Rs 2500 (incl. 3rd person) [cottage]

Day's Journey : 209km

Total Time : 08 hours

Pit stops : 2

DAY TIP :

- Try Hotel Sanskruti, seemed like a really nice place.

- Mahabaleshwar Temple is a must visit.

Day 3

5.29 am :

I turned the keys to Ignition and left for Murdeshwar. We had been tired; we had slept late; it hadn't been a very comfortable rest; but even then, we were up and running 1 minute ahead of our schedule. As we drove the empty roads in the dark, Saumitra finished his sleep quota in the car.

7.15 am :

Pulled up at the Kawari Palm Resort. We looked around the empty parking lot only to find the Netrani Adventure office still locked. The three of us exchanged glances of pride having reached so early. I'm sure the EXCITEMENT factor played a big role!

Miriam, a gorgeous Polish diver was our instructor for the day. She gave us some basic knowledge and instructions at the dive-center. After a quick bite at Jaya snacks, we drove down to the beach to catch our boat. Just as we found a space to park our car, the front tires got stuck in the pliable beach sand! The more we tried to remove it, the deeper it dug! We got more and more concerned as all our tries were failing. Fortunately, our efforts soon reaped as the car came out without any damage. We immediately left the beach to park the car on a solid ground.

At the boat, all of us formed a human chain to pass the SCUBA gear and tanks into the boat. We sat in the boat, the motor revved and off we left... umm no, we couldn't! The boat was stuck in the sand! We were like "Sand.. WTF is your problem man!!" All of us got down and pushed the boat till we were ready to go. And finally the 1.5 hour journey to Netrani Island began. The back of the Shiv statue and the Gopuram were visible from the sea. A young girl got sea-sick followed by his mother. We wanted to help, but the father and the Polish lady had them covered very nicely.

TIP : Please take prior medicine if you tend to be sea-sick.

The Shiv statue, Raj Gopuram & our NA boat!

Photo of Murdeshwar, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

And off we go..!!!

Photo of Murdeshwar, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

Jay and Saumitra were visibly elated, as it was their 1st time at SCUBA. First we went for a swim with our life-jackets on. We jumped, swam, explored the sea-bottom from the surface and goofed around with my SJCam, capturing pictures and videos underwater.

We went back on the boat to get ready for SCUBA. I went for the reverse dive into the Arabian sea. The ScubaPro glasses showed me how clear the water really was. I could very easily see the sea-sand 14m below the surface. This was a try-dive where the instructor handles all your controls and all you have to do is gasp at the breathtaking world you knew existed, but had never been a part of untill NOW! (Don't gasp literally.. just keep breathing normally! :P)

My instructor took me to surrounding regions to watch different schools of fishes. The marine life was so diverse that I couldn't even believe it was a natural habitat. And then my eyes caught an eel with a leopard print on it. Amidst the loud silence of the sea and the mesmerizing beauty of the marine life, I had no idea it was time to go back to the dry world I had come from. We began our ascend slowly and soon breached the surface water.

I grabbed the best snorkel and goggles I could find and jumped back in the sea. When Jay and Saumitra came up and then again in the water with their accessories, I bombarded them with curious questions; and they responded with even more zest and excitement! We had just had the best experience of our entire lifetime and we were on cloud 9!

We snorkelled and clicked pictures again untill everyone was done with SCUBA. We hadn't wasted a single moment on the boat during the entire time the anchor was in place. We started our return journey back to the mainland. Looking around, all faces showed the same story - exhausted but bewildered! We slept on the return trip; wasn't easy not too.

Best place to Meditate!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

We looked funny in scratched-goggles

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

The 'Water' guitar!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

Light web!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

Jay and Saumitra 'milaap' from the surface!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

Saumitra with his fav pose!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

And obviously this pose!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

Snorkelling!!!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

The triplet!!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

The internal reflection was captured very nicely!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

Jay's doggy style (swimming!!!!)

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

The boat!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

Jay's first peek below the surface!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

Saumitra trying to hold himself under the water!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

I think I was looking at some fishes!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

Everything in one frame!

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

Saumitra learns how to snorkel

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

Jay with the gorgeous instructor! #jealous

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

Thinking about a pose?

Photo of Netrani Island, Karnataka by Rhythm Patel

4.30 pm :

We touched the sand after 7 hours and that always feels good. We were covered in salt and desperately wanted a shower. But we decided to visit the Murdeshwar temple and the Raj Gopuram first because our hotel was far away from the temple.

Raj Gopuram :

It is the tallest Gopuram of the world, topping at 20 floors height. The entire Gopuram is inscribed in the story of how King Ravana obtained, but ultimately lost Atma-Linga (a key to immortality). There is a lift (Rs. 10/person) that takes you up to the 18th floor and you have magnificent views on 3 sides of the Gopuram - West showing you the majestic Shiva Statue on the backdrop of Arabian sea engulfin the fiery ball of gases; North has the long coastline of Murdeshwar beach, tiny waves that die before reaching the sand, and people bathing in the cool water; East flaunts the view of the entire town of Murdeshwar (& its traffic) along with the southern beach.

Lord Shiva Temple and statue :

The granite temple holds impeccable beauty within itself. The temple has multiple sanctums; the main one containing the original remains of Atma-linga that stuck to the ground after Lord Ganesh put it there. The linga is 2ft below sea level. The massive statue is world's 2nd tallest Shiva statue. The location, the expressions, the structure are just magnificent. At the bottom of the statue is another sanctum.

While Jay and I were busy playing with a puppy there, Saumitra went ahead to check out the back of the statue, without our knowledge. We kept looking for him and ended up climbing down the hill. He didn't pickup our calls initially; and later when he did, didn't say anything at all (He pocket-picked our calls). After about 45 minutes, Jay found him strolling around the temple. As I got up to leave, I realised I had sat on fresh paint! Uughh!! There was no sign! It was my favourite shorts! To make things worse, Naveen beach restaurant (the only good option we could see) had only south Indian food to offer and nothing else! We were famished! We wanted something we could pounce upon. So we decided to have ice-cream cones to power us till our hotel in Bhatkal.

We had parked our car away from the temple, anticipating heavy traffic. Walking away from the temple, we realized what teaffic means - cars and people both. It took us 30 minutes to cross 2 km and not without being annoyed by the constant honks and headlights.

Northern view!!

Photo of Murdeshwar Temple, Murdeshwar, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

The temple!

Photo of Murdeshwar Temple, Murdeshwar, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

Western view! Gorgeous, isn't it?

Photo of Murdeshwar Temple, Murdeshwar, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

The Gopuram on our heads!

Photo of Murdeshwar Temple, Murdeshwar, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

Eastern view! Can you spot the teaffic?

Photo of Murdeshwar Temple, Murdeshwar, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

No, we are not launching a music album!!

Photo of Murdeshwar Temple, Murdeshwar, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

The marvellous piece of art!

Photo of Murdeshwar Temple, Murdeshwar, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

8.30 pm :

We reached our seemingly ordinary hotel, parked the car and headed for check-in. One look at our room and all our energy was restored. It was beautiful (atleast for the money we paid). After a quick shower, we went to the vegetarian restaurant and digged into our pre-ordered food. Back at the room, citrus Absolut, beer and breezer were waiting for us. We had ignored them for too long; not any longer. All the water exercises started showing effects on us and we ended up sleeping like hogs as the exhaution turned too poweful to fight.

The small collection!!

Photo of Bhatkal, Belalkanda, Bhatkal, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

You beauty!!

Photo of Bhatkal, Belalkanda, Bhatkal, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

Party time!!!

Photo of Bhatkal, Belalkanda, Bhatkal, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

HOTEL : The Royal Oak, Bhatkal

It's a small yet an excellent property. Professional, meticulous and well maintained with 2 restaurants, nice food cheering service and marvellous rooms. The rooms had 3 comfortable beds, clean bathroom and a sofa. This is exactly what we needed after the hectic day and previous hotel experience.

COST : Rs 3500/- for Triple occupancy (Worth it!)

Day's Journey : 100 km

Total time : 2.30 hours

Pit stops : 1

DAY TIPS :

- Netrani Adventures : recommended.

- Go for SCUBA among the first few in the boat for better visibilty.

- Park your car away from the temple in the evening.

Day 4

7.00 am :

I gained conciousness to Saumitra shaking me and saying it was already 7am. We had planned to leave at this time, but we hadn't taken the excessive weariness in account. We agreed that we deserved some rest and I went back to sleep.

8.00 am :

We headed down for a heavy breakfast after checking out. Jay started the day's journey on SH50 headed to Jog Falls. Just when we though we had seen it all, came the most flamboyant road of the entire trip! The dense forests, lush green canopies, dark shadows and smooth roads bespelled us. We switched off the AC and let the car fill with magical morning mountain air.

And there, as I was seating in the front passenger seat, I saw a 'window' of opportunity - pun intended! I unbuckled my seatbelt and plunged my torso out of the car. Jay immediately caught my shorts - left hand pulling me back and right hand on the steering wheel. He is actually very adventurous himself, so this surprised me. I came back in - "WTF bro!?" Turns out, he thought I was going to climb on the top of the car!! Hahaha! (He knows me too well to know I was completely capable of thinking about doing that!) I promised him that I won't do that and went back into the lap of nature.

All of a sudden, we saw a red worn off Omni car crashed into the side railing. We immediately parked our car and went for help. I saw a middle aged native in the driver's seat, a 6-7 year old girl in the passenger seat and the car completely okay - not even scratched. Confused, I asked what happened. In broken Hindi, he explained that he wants to take a U-turn but his reverse gear is broken & so he had gotten stuck at the stone-railing! We couldn't control our laughter and so couldn't that guy. We helped him push his car back on road and off he went. We used this stop to click pictures.

CAUTION : The roads are very narrow, so please be very attentive and beware of the oncoming traffic.

The half-dab

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

Swagster!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

Pseudo-candid!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

All 4 of us!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

Try not to take this risk!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

We were loving the day *this* much!!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

I just couldn't help myself!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

Pseudo-candid.. again!

Photo of Drive to Dive!! ▪SCUBA▪ An 1840km RoadTrip from Mumbai to experience a world beyond ours!! by Rhythm Patel

With a Rs. 40/- entry, we entered the premises of India's 2nd highest plunge waterfall. The fall has two parts - Raja and Rani. Being January, the falls weren't very voluminous, due to a damn built on the river. The falls weren't even falling directly, but in steps. In monsoon, the falls are very mighty and plunging directly in the pond formed below. We clicked pictures from 2 different view-points, but it wasn't worth climbing down 1400 steps to the nearer 3rd view point. Though, this might be a very beautiful point in the monsoon. Without wasting more time, we left for Goa. This time I took the car hoping for an equally beautiful NH 206; I was wrong. Nothing matched SH50!

Saumi-swag!

Photo of Jog Falls, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

The 2 trickles

Photo of Jog Falls, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

Me!!

Photo of Jog Falls, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

Jay-the dude!

Photo of Jog Falls, Karnataka, India by Rhythm Patel

4.30 pm :

After some medium-heavy goan traffic and alcohol-shopping, we finally reached our resting place for the night. We checked-in to a very nice corner-room with a pool view, a balcony, the best bed till now, a clean bathroom and a Fridge! Wasting no time, we grabbed our towels, costumes and breezers, & headed for the Pool.

We played cricket - floating tube as bat and a big pool ball as the ball; also tried to simulate the pool pics we had clicked 4 years ago in Goa, but failed (2 guys were missing on this trip, missed them a lot!). While playing, our ball went towards a group of other guests and Jay called out "Uncle, plz pass the ball!" You should have seen the guy's face on hearing the first word! His friends laughed at him. Luckily he took it lightly and laughed it off.

We went to hotel's cafe XO in towel-lungis. After finger-licking food and warm service, we returned to our rooms. All 3 of us drank a beer each and went back to the café for some tequilla shots & cocktails; followed by citrus Absolut shots back at the room. That night, we talked so much that the Russian couple next door complained the reception about us. We were too tired, but no-one wanted to sleep.

Tequilla shots!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

All smiles!!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

Can't see a single thread of weariness!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

Towel-lungis!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

Can't keep this beauty away!!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

HOTEL : Jasminn by Mango, Betalbatim

This is a nice clean compartmented property with good amenities, cordial staff, very good service, excellent rooms and nicelt maintained swimming pool. The exact comfortable stay we really needed. The café XO is a must visit, atleast for veg. food.

Day's Journey : 309 km

Total time : 9 hours

Pit stops : 1

Day 5

6.00 am :

The 3 of us woke up as zombies - eyes half-opened, legs half crooked, and using hands to guide ourselves to bathroom. Our early morning hussle was met with a few shushes from the Russian couple in the adjacent room; we burst into laughing.

7.00 am :

We hit the road as planned and started the longest lap of our journey. We refuelled for the last time in Goa. After exiting the city, we caught NH 748. On this day, speed was more important than scenic beauty as we had to catch a 1am flight from Mumbai; so we chose the straighter and much faster NH 48.

Passing through the all-time-beautiful ghats, we neared another Goa-Karnataka border. We had a couple of beers left with us and we had a gut feeling that we should discard them. So the 2 passenger guys drank them (It hurt to throw them away.) - but not Saumitra, who was driving. Luckily, after the border our car was checker twice for alcohol which made no sense, untill we asked. It wasn't the border, but a sanctuary check-post as alcohol isn't allowed in the protected reserve. It was the Mhadei wildlife Sanctuary. The roads here were pretty straight, but covered almost all the way by lush green canopies. It looked as if a tunnel had been cut through the dense forest to make a road. It felt like we were driving in a never ending tunnel of greenery. Today it was Jay and Saumitra's turn to come out of the windows and feel the fresh air.

After all the fun and frolic, the realization of this being the last day of our trip was starting to grab my mind - slowly and painfully.

Early morning mist!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

Winter morning be like this!!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

The last lap!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

I miss these roads!!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

Perfect roads!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

See the tunnel?

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

Not so dense anymore, but still beautiful!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

Canopies!!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

Looks like he was singing something!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

Just like life - we didn't know what was ahead of us!

Photo of Betalbatim, Goa, India by Rhythm Patel

Battling through heavy traffic at Belgaun, we found refuge at the Harley-Davidson café, just outside Kolhapur. Ground floor houses my dream bikes, while the first floor is the café. Very nice ambiance, good food and an awesome mocktail is what we got there. For a minute, I though of renting a Harley till the airport! Coming back to the real world, we resumed our journey.

The highway was too tempting; we sped up and covered a lot of ground, very fast.

The cooler

Photo of Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

Heart-eyes for this beauty!

Photo of Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

The raw look

Photo of Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

H-D Police bike!

Photo of Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

5.00 pm :

Reached the edge of the city. We knew we had no time to go inside the city and eat. So we decided to fill our stomachs with some home-made snacks we still were left with and move on with our journey. About 120 km before mumbai, finally came the most anticipated road - The Mumbai-Pune Expressway! It's always fun driving one of the best roads in India and it didn't matter how tired we were.

9.00 pm :

We reached 4 hours before our flight. This gave us room to breathe and freedom to roam around. We chose to have some coffee at Starbucks, BKC. After a grandé White chocolate Mocha, I had no more space for dinner. We went back to our car, repacked the car accessories and listend to some songs to pass the time.

11.00 pm :

The driver from SelfDrive.in called to let us know that we had to pick him up from a local station. We picked him up, drove to the airport and sirrendered the car. This marked the end of our 1840.3 km long friendship with our car. We reached where had started from.

Felt good to be back on time!

Photo of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

The Mumbai airport!

Photo of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

Starbucks!

Photo of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

Saying bye to our car!!

Photo of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

The total journey!!

Photo of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Rhythm Patel

1 am flight and a cab later, I was sleeping in my own bed and for the first time in last 5 days, I had no alarm clock set on my phone.

The memories of this trip are and will always be very fresh in our minds. We pulled of something we did not know we were even capable of; and that's why it holds a special place in our hearts.

SUGGESTIONS ::

1. Book in Advance

2. Choose a good, powerful car

3. Take good care of your car

4. Check fuel, air and other systems regularly

5. Be alert and vigilant

6. Keep your bagages to the minimum.

7. Car accessories to take -- Car charger, Battery banks, Phone Holder, Air pump, Emergency kit, food, snacks, drinks, Pillows, etc.

8. Save maps and directions offline on Google Maps

9.start your journey early every morning.

10. Eat healthy and at proper places

11. Take prior medications for motion sickness and/or sea-sickness

12. Always wear seatbelts.

13. Do not drink & Drive!!

14. Always follow rules.

15. Keep an extra day to relax at the end.

16. Put aside phones and enjoy the present!

17. Respect everyone on and off road.

With this note, I'll take your leave and..

SEE YOU UNTILL THE NEXT ADVENTURE!

[Here I have given only a short description of my experience of SCUBA and Snorkeling at Netrani Island. To read the entire in-depth experience and watch a SCUBA-dedicated video, please visit --- ]

https://www.tripoto.com/trip/scuba-diving-therapy-netrani-island-5aa57e5f26057

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