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Charpora is a river in North Goa on which you take river cruises in a Trimaran. The river cruise is quite an experience especially during the monsoon and so I gave it a try on my recent visit to Goa. More relaxing than thrilling, I would recommend this cruise to anyone who is looking at doing something in Goa beyond the beaches!
In the last day two days of my time in Goa I had hardly seen any rains even though it was mid-July and peak monsoon time. As I was up early with my regular dose of coffee on the balcony I waited patiently for the rains to arrive and all I got was sun.
However, the day rapidly changed for the best right after the breakfast. The five of us packed our asses and squeezed into an Innova and about 45 minutes later we were at the Chopdem jetty on the banks of Charpora river.
Now, Charpora river originates from Ramghat in Maharashtra and flows into Goa, before meeting the Arabian sea near Vagator Beach. On the north side of the river there is Morjim beach, which is one of the most scenic and a rather secluded beach even during the peak tourist season. Before 1961 when the Portuguese still ruled Goa, the river was the de facto border between India and Goa. With the success of Operation Vijay, the Indian Army took over Goa and later its boundary was expanded and it became the present day state of Goa.
Coming back to the story unfolding at the Chopdem jetty, we quickly boarded a small motor boat and reached something that looked like a Catamaran but which was actually a Trimaran called Kalini. A Trimaran is often a ail-driven yacht but there are a few trimaran ferries and warships. Kalini was one such Trimaran and what a beauty it was! Even as I admired our boat, I was introduced to our captain who mentioned rather nonchalantly that he not just rides this boat, he actually also built it. Intrigued? Read more about Maneck here, his life story is not just interesting but also very inspirational!
Soon we were deep in the river and conversation moved to crocodiles something Goan rivers and backwaters are famous for, monsoon, beer amongst many other things. From where we were, I could even see the mouth of the river where it met the ocean (it was somewhere here that a crocodile was recently seen and created quite a stir). The sky was full of seagulls and interestingly I could see many of them flocking in specific areas on the river and on close inspection I realised that it was small mud island in the middle of the river. We decided to get close to these islands and actually jump into the river and swim across to the island. The flow was quite strong yet I decided to be the first one to take a plunge, with GoPro in one hand a beer bottle in the other.
Over the next hour or so everyone got slowly convinced and took a plunge in the flowing river and come to the island and get quite close to the seagulls. I walked alone across the island and into water again to talk to the fishermen who were putting the fishing lines. It was time of low tide so we could all stand in water, in a few hours water would rise and the islands would disappear. Drinking more beer on the island I was rather content and just sat in water and looked at the birds, the boat, the sea at a distance and a few small chapels on the riverside.
On the way back we went further up the river first but not all the way to the Charpora fort which was the original plan. I didn’t care much as I was having a great time already. I sat on the front of the boat and just enjoyed the air through my entangled hair.
Even as we had lunch later on the beachside restaurant La Braise, I could still feel the air, water and the smell of sea.