The heat need not keep you indoors. There’s plenty of action waiting out there — from snake walk and adventure sports to trekking and snorkelling. Geeta Padmanabhan has a long list
The sun is shining bright enough to help you test your outdoor skills. Whether it is a weekend trek or an attempt at adventure sport, you now have an array of activities to choose from.
“Go sailing. The new excitement is to charter powered boats / yachts — with AC, music, barbecue-deck — on cruises to Pulicat and Mahabs. With sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats and scarves, catch adventure by the helm!” says Dipankar Ghosh of Prakruthi, an adventure travel outfit.
High-end adventure? Basecamp Adventures offers integrated adventure, outbound training and consulting. “We deploy UIAA-certified technical equipment and authorised personnel,” says Kavitha Reddy, its CEO. Choose from high-altitude trekking, mountaineering, skiing, rock climbing, rafting and kayaking — all done with “safety assessment protocols that comply with international safety standards”. Rappelling, bouldering, rock-climbing, flaying-fox, river-crossing, zoomering, para-gliding… Try them all as D. Amalraja and his team take you to Malaipattu (five km off Tambaram) for “all aspects of adventure sports”. Your take-away will be expertise in rope-games. “We give training to students / techies in building climbing too, ” he says.
If you want to bunch up with “like-minded” people for weekends, there’s Chennai Trekking Club, founded by Peter van Geit. It conducts outdoor / sports events — from simple running and cycling to mountain-biking to triathlon. Think cycle trips to Udhagamandalam, Waynad and Kodaikanal, and lots of trekking!
Looking for ‘live’ adventure? Rajanna Mohan organises snake walks with Irulas. You start real early to catch sight of cobras / other snakes in the wild, watch their behaviour, and take pictures with them. It is best to go in groups of five and book at least 10 days in advance. There’s plenty of excitement if Rajanna’s blog is anything to go by — “Then came the big one. My most favourite snake next to the King — The Russell’s viper.”
How about fishing for a couple of hours? V. Nithyanandan’s Sport-Fishing Club is the go-to place for it. “We manage 12-year-olds and above on our own, but younger ones must be accompanied by parents,” he says. You’ll be taught to use rods and catch fresh fish. It could also be a chance for elders to do something they might have missed out on. Deep-sea fishing too is possible.
Nithyanandan takes you trekking as well — but this is a strictly-no-littering exercise. The trek has codes (don’t touch flowers!), and also includes clean-up drives. “It’s fun,” he says.
Game for diving / snorkelling? “All you need is basic swimming skill,” says Rajinikandh of Chennai Dive Club. After an hour-long session on theory, another in a swimming pool, you drive down to a GPS-located, tested spot for 45 minutes of underwater bliss. “We have snorkelling camps and certification courses on how to handle underwater situations,” he says.
And here’s how you can conquer the high waves off Kovalam beach. Over three hours early in the morning, you’ll go paddling, board-balancing before surfing the waves. Training can be split into four or eight classes — a lifeguard will be with you — and the trainers are ‘award-winning pros’. “Just a couple of sessions, and you’ll become an addict,” says Saba, a trainer.
For an informative mix of heritage and photography join S. Nivya and Vinoth Durairaj on their once-in-two-months tours. “It’s a weekend activity to brush up on ancient architecture and its importance in history,” says Nivya. You can travel to Gingee / Vellore Forts, Vallimalai, Seemamangalam, Mamandur cave temple, Mamallapuram and Thirukkazungkundram. Twenty is the maximum number of participants allowed, and they receive e-mails on the historical importance of the places.
Love eco-sensitive tours and activities? Ecologin provides just that!
TAKE YOUR PICK
Basecamp Adventures (www.basecampindia.com )
Snake walk (98844-40800)
Sport-Fishing Club (98842-83171)
Adventure sport at Malaipattu (95660-62589)
Chennai Dive Club (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Heritage photography (email@example.com)