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trip to marine national park -Narara, jamnagar, gujrat

trip to marine national park -Narara, jamnagar, gujrat

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Published by anandnaregal

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Published by: anandnaregal on Dec 07, 2009
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My corner….
Coral walk at Narara marine national park.-
Ahead of long weekend of Holi, I was searching for some shortholiday destination which has bit of all, adventure, education and pleasure (off course!!). And believe me or not but I was rewardedfrom most unusual source – Femina. I always thought Femina is amagazine which lures our females into buying more cosmetics,clothes and jewelry, only to realize later that those things look good only on Femina models. So when you buy Femina next timedon’t think you are spending just 50 bucks, you may actually be poorer by few thousands depending on where your wife sets her sights!.Here was a short write up on
Narara marine sanctuary andnational park,
located offshore same 50 kms beyond Jamnagar.Fringed by coral reefs, island promises close views of variety of marine life, including octopi, star and puffer fishes, brittle starscrabs and lots of coastal birds. This sounded very interesting for me and my 8 year old son. After a little bit of research I came upwith an ace to convince my wife too. “Well Reliance has opened amega, hyper mall at Jamnagar which spreads over 2 lac sq feet andeasily the biggest in Gujarat!”So after few calls and email bookings we were off to Narara onFriday. My holiday starts as soon as I leave home and not after reaching destination, so we really enjoyed 7 hrs drive (500 kms) to Narara via Borsad- Tarapur- Rajkot and Jamnagar. One startsappreciating roads of Gujarat only when one leaves city and hit thehighways and still if you are not happy, you must visit MadhyaPradesh. We had our dinner at a place called Chowkidhani, 18 kmsfrom Rajkot on Rajkot Jamnagar highway. Its set up in typicalvillage like set up with 2 restaurants one serving Rajasthani/Kathiawadi food and other the usual ( Punjabi- Chinese- and southIndian), beside there are very interesting chat, kulfi, chai stalls and
icing on the cake- a pan ki dukan. We decided to opt for assorteditems, hopping from one stall to other while kids enjoyed bioscope,magician and Indian rope trick. This refreshing break enabled us tocover our last leg up to Jamnagar in quick time, all the whilelistening to Pakistani FM radio from Karachi. It was veryinteresting to note that Pakistani RJs are sweet and sober but too preachy compared to our loud mouth Radio Mirchi ones, who keepmuttering meaning less monologues.There are 2-3 reasonable staying options at Jamnagar, but wedecide to stay at Hotel Express ( yes, baby sister of our ownexpress at Baroda), mainly for 2 reasons - Hotel was beyondJamnagar, nearer to Narara Marine park and only last week theyhad hosted Kareena Kapoor!! (Managed to get the same room butalas on a different Sunday!) . Jokes apart this hotel is a good business hotel mainly built for Reliance refinery traffic, so we see people from various nationalities and many moving around in their orange and blue work gears.We got up really early next morning to reach Narara in time for alow tide; Permit for entering the marine park is required and wasalready obtained by Hotel for nominal extra charges. Narara isabout 30 kms from Hotel and one has to turn at Vadinar onJamnagar – Dwarka highway. Roads are quite good as we drove past massive Reliance refinery – Its worlds biggest refinery andresponsible for changing the present and future of this sleepycorner of Gujarat. Makes you feel proud to say the least. As we arenearing island we came across many back water pools, full of migratory birds. One has to be really early to sight them andshould be ready to skip morning breakfast at hotel. Even theMarine creatures are best visualized in shallow waters of low tideearly morning before sun really start heating up this mostlystagnant waters and forcing them to go back in deep waters. NararaIsland is a misnomer because it is connected to mainland by roadand one can actually take cars right up to the forest lodge fromwhere marine nature walks starts. At forest rest house we got our  permits checked and hired a guide, Abdulbhai. One can not andshould not avoid a help of guide here as going in corals without a
 proper guide is like looking and trying to appreciate a modern artwithout a painter explaining you about it. On foot we traveledacross the sandy beach and along the marshy land of inter-tidalzone where we entered ankle deep waters and lo behold! The entiresea bed lay exposed in front of our eyes covered by crystal clear thin film of water. We could see abundance of marine vegetationlike sea weeds and algae, broken by rocky outcrops forming rock  pools at places. Soon Abdulbhai started showing us which wecould not appreciate with our naked eyes - crabs camouflagedamong the rocks among the rocks, star fish, brittle stars, crocodilefish lying motionless o the sea bed to attack the unsuspecting prey.I was happy to watch my son keenly listening to Abdulbhai andtaking notes in his tour diary. Soon Abdulbhai caught hold of a puffer fish, fascinating species known and named for its defensemechanism. Touch it and it inflates rapidly like a self inflating balloon or airbag. It achieves this by filling its elastic stomach withwater and air and it inflates until it resembles a sphere size of which can deter its predator. We held it in hand for photographicsession (Can remain alive without water for 2-3 hrs). It was alsointeresting to know that most puffer fishes are poisonous to eat butare considered delicacies in Japan and Korea.Parks star attraction is octopus, eight armed (or legged) marinecreature is a master of camouflage. It possesses specialized cells onits skin which can not only change color but also opacity andreflective ness. An octopus can squeeze itself with a squish intounlikely crevices of rocks. In clear waters it can eject thick black, blackish ink in a large cloud and slip away from your sights inseconds. So it was a pleasant surprise to all of us when Nagesh myurologist friend put his hand in water and came out with anoctopus. Next we were in knee deep waters and Abdulbhai led us to coralreefs. We were introduced to brain corals, star and moon corals.Coral formation here are much less luxuriant than those you wouldsee at say Andaman or Maldives, nonetheless wading so close tothem is an unique experience. Because of the protection they provide to smaller animals and the high nutrient provision to those

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Swapan Majumdar added this note
I visited CHANDIPUR in Balasore district in orissa inmy childhood.Istill remembered the water walk with my parent during low tides & observed many marine creatures.your article make me nostalgic once again. Ilike to visit NARARA as early as possible .Thankyou
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