Travel Stories for everybody by anybody

Living on the Edge

“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” -Heller Keller

For a traveller, nothing rings truer than this. Whether your heart lies on the land, in the sea, or in the stratosphere, life offers some form of adrenaline rush for everyone. While I have never had much occasion for sky-bound adventures- adventure trips in all other forms form some of the best memories of my travelling life. As I pen this down I realize that I have already talked umpteen times about the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep- two of the best places in the country for a lifetime’s fun underwater. Both these place proudly present an assortment of islands to choose from and depending on the kind of island, each one affords a different kind of adventure sport. Snorkelling of course is the spectacular best for beginners. With no prerequisite of being able to swim or having had prior experience in water (the life-jacket will take care of that) snorkelling gives you a first person, front row view of life underwater. The glasses give you unhindered vision and the little tube provides for unhindered oxygen.

Warning for Beginners- When I first put on those funny looking glasses and dunk my head underneath, I exclaimed for joy at the sight of the intricate reefs and mutli-coloured schools of fish. This is ill-advised! Exclaiming, or trying to form words at all, will result in a bubble of confusion as you will end up swallowing water- and probably a few unfortunate tiny fishes with it. While this is not a life-threatening situation, it will result in the acquisition of a permanent trophy in the hall of mockery. (Don’t ask me how I know, just know that you’ll have a hall-mate when you get there.)

Right after snorkeling- and a fair bit more daunting- comes deep sea diving or as commonly called- Scuba Diving. Being a completely underwater experience, along with being much more breath-taking, Scuba diving also requires a health clearance and prior swimming experience and should not be attempted without a constant guide if you’re still in the novice stage. However, for fairly practised swimmers, deep sea diving can be absolutely thrilling. Move one step deeper from snorkelling- where you could only see and perhaps touch things that were at a shallow level, scuba diving allows you to swim down to depths and actually touch the ocean bed. Equipped with an oxygen cylinder and full body suits- yes, flippers and all- it’s thrilling while at the same time being fancy- giving you a perfect first hand “Discovery” experience.

Caution: Claustrophobic people should think twice before attempting Scuba diving- the closed head mask and the feeling of being completely underwater can be suffocation at times.

Coming out of the depths, let’s take a look at something that’ll take us high up- no, not ladders- but ropes, slings and anchors. I hear confusion- ropes…? How’s that adventurous? Well, when the ropes are among the few of your only accessories to climbing sky high rocks and mountains, then it definitely is. Rappelling is a sport that simultaneously freaks people out and makes them laugh out of excitement. My first and only experience has been in Shimla and I remember chattering away non-stop with the guide next to me from fear of falling. It isn’t the same as scaling Mt. Everest but as the height picks up and you reach the top there is a certain sense of accomplishment.

Reminder- The entire process is actually tremendously safe. However, for people with an aversion to heights- as my case turned out be- nervousness is a common symptom, without doing any actual damage.

Cost Breakup:
If done independently- Equipment: Rs. 500- Rs.1000, depending on clarity of vision.
Guide, along with equipment- Anything between Rs. 300-Rs.500, depending on distance covered.

Scuba Diving:
Package, with Equipment: Rs. 800 approx.

Guide with equipment: Depending on height and difficulty, anything between Rs. 500- Rs.1000

Total Cost: Rs. 1600- Rs. 2800

Contributed by Ateendriya

Ateendriya A literature kid at Lady Shri Ram, DU Combine crazy geek with a yen for writing and photography and you'll get something resembling me. A dabbler by nature it feels at times that I have more interests than I can keep up with. Literature is what I professionally follow- mostly because of my love for writing, partly because it gives me enough time for my dabbling tendencies. Travel writing is one of those dream jobs that I one day wish to make a career out of, because it combines two of my best interests. I have an undying love for gadgets, books and languages- self trained in basic Japanese and bits of Korean, and on the side, I'm an avid science hobbyist- from quantum physics to the genome project- just about everything interests me. Writing however, like I've enough emphasized, remains the uncontested first and strongest passion- fiction, non-fiction or words dripping in sarcasm - it's all me.