25-Jan-2005 -- My colleagues and I were on a "rest & recreation" trip to a seaside resort located north of the town of Kundapur in the state of Karnataka. Four of us opted to drive to the resort from Bangalore as we intended to reach 13N 75E on the way. We successfully reached that point a couple of days back and after a night's stay in Sudhakar's ancestral home located in the backwaters near Kundapur, we had an excellent breakfast of "Kadubu" and started off towards the Sai Vishram Resort which was near the town of Baindoor.
We reached the resort and after changing into appropriate attire, we went down to the beach to meet the rest of our colleagues who had traveled by bus. The resort offered a variety of water sports. One of them was a "Banana Boat Ride" which was basically a yellow pontoon on which 5 people could sit and it was towed out to the sea by a speedboat. Not the type of adventure I like, as I can't swim! Anyway, all of us donned life jackets and boarded the yellow contraption. As we got towed out, spray started hitting us and all was well till my good friend Gautham decided he needed a bit more excitement than just riding the water. In his own wisdom, he seems to have done something that made that pontoon tilt over and dump all of us in the water. To my credit, I did not swallow any water and after a few seconds beneath the surface, the trusty life jacket got my head above water. It was apparently quite thrilling for the rest, but it was an extreme experience for me. It took a few minutes for the speedboat crew to upright the pontoon and in that time I realized that I'd lost my sunglasses when I hit the water. After a struggle to get back on board, we headed back to the shore. For a landlubber like me, it was an altogether new experience. I think I will stick to other pursuits like confluence hunting!
We planned to start off the next day towards 14N 75E. It appeared to be only 44 kilometers away from where we were located, but the maps indicated that we would have to take a round about route to reach it, as it was located on the north shore of the Lingannamakki reservoir. After breakfast, we started off towards Bhatkal and then on to Honnavar. At Honnavar, we turned right towards the town of Sagar. This road took us through the hills and we reached Sagar for lunch. The confluence was 18 kilometers south of Sagar. After a decent lunch, we started out again towards the village of Avinhalli. The confluence seemed to be south of it, but the maps did not indicate any road leading there. We drove through Avinhalli and found that the road continued south in the general direction of the confluence.
The GPS counted down to 900 meters and then we found that the road was turning away. After a couple of kilometers, we reached the shore of the reservoir and the road ended there. Actually it did not. We saw a ferry coming towards us from the opposite side. We saw the ferry loaded with a bus and several cars. On enquiry, we found that the ferry ride would take us to Kollur, which was very close to the resort we were staying at (we would save about 70 kilometers of driving!). Armed with information on the next ferry trip, we turned around and decided to find a forest path to use to reach 14N 75E. We soon found a path in the direction of the confluence and turned into it. After a few hundred meters, we reached the shore again. We parked and decided to trek along the shore towards 14N75E, which was about 700 meters away.
In a short while we realized that we would have to cross a stretch of water to reach 14N 75E. Sudhakar and I decided to walk along the shore and get to the other side while my intrepid friends Gautham and Sridhar decided to swim across. They started off and in a few minutes of walking we found that the path ended and there was a steep cliff that looked difficult to cross. We turned back and found that Gautham and Sridhar had reached the other side and were having an animated conversation and they were both pointing into the water. I shouted out and told them that we would not be able to walk along the shore. It was at that time that they shouted back that they had disturbed a snake that was resting under a boulder and it disappeared into the water. I informed them that we would have to abandon the attempt today as we just had enough time to drive back to catch the last ferry ride of the day to the other side. But, Gautham and Sridhar did not look like they were going to get back into the water after seeing the snake slide into it. After a while, they moved a few feet away from the location they thought the snake was and slowly waded into the water. They made their way back without incident and after drying themselves; we walked back to the car and headed back to the ferry point. It was quite thrilling to drive on aboard the ferry and get transported to the other side. We checked with the ferry driver (or pilot) on the timings of the ferry the next day and then drove about 65 kilometers back to the resort.
The next morning, we left at 0700 and took the short route to the ferry point. We saw the ferry anchored on the other shore and the GPS showed that we were about 2 kilometers from the point. Soon, the ferry came to pick us up and after reaching the other side; we drove beyond the point where we turned off yesterday. We reached a tiny village called Hullidevarbanna and saw a forest track heading in the direction of the confluence. We drove down that path and found that the GPS was counting down quite rapidly. With about 450 meters to go, we turned into an even smaller path, as it seemed to head in the exact direction to the CP. All this was quite thrilling for my colleagues, as they had never ever driven into such a place. We kept brushing past branches and bushes and finally reached a point about 50 meters from the confluence. By now, we were in dense jungle and when I turned the engine off, the eerie silence was scary. The foliage was so dense that the GPS started to lose lock as we walked to the confluence. We had to find small clearings in the forest that had a little visibility of the sky for the GPS to get a lock and then continue. Walking through was not easy either as the undergrowth was extremely dense. After about 20 minutes, we reached 14N 75E!
We took the mandatory photos and a self-portrait of ourselves before we tracked back to the car. We drove out of the forest and reached the village where we spotted a tiny restaurant. They seemed to serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, which worked well for us, as three of my colleagues were strict vegetarians. Sridhar and I had fish stew and rice and it was heavenly! After a sumptuous meal, we drove back to the ferry point to hitch a ride across the reservoir and then headed back to the resort.
The rest of our colleagues were leaving in the evening by bus, but the four of us stayed one more night and started off for Bangalore the next morning. It was a thrilling few days away from the pressures of work. For me, it was exciting to reach 13N 75E and 14N 75E though the most enduring memory is my fall into the Arabian Sea!