Adventures unlimited

Making a splash Visitors to Kayak Adevntures learn kayaking on the lake   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

It is smooth sailing all the way. Oars splashing in the placid lake create silent ripples as a kayak glides from Murukkumpuzha to Kadinamkulam. A steady stream of instructions from Wing Commander (retired) Unni Krishnan Palat is the only conversation in the kayak. “Hold the oars parallel, then you won’t splash water into the kayak. Gently, gently…there are different movements to guide the kayak in the direction you want it to move. Once you learn how to steer, the kayak is the fastest and easiest way to travel on water.”

In the middle of the lake, surrounded by water on all sides, I wonder if I am in deep water as the shore seems far away and my hands often lose the coordination to keep the oars moving. The picture-postcard setting is another distraction. I find it is not easy to sightsee and keep moving all the time. But Palat is a pro and soon, to my delight, I find myself rowing a kayak in some fashion. Much to the amusement of two of the women on shore, Palat (doing the lion’s share) and I manage to reach the other bank and get back, all in one piece without the kayak capsizing or the oars getting lost.

This ability and confidence to guide even novices and landlubbers like me to enjoy the thrill of adventure sports is what motivated this veteran paratrooper (who was chief instructor of Paratroopers Training School in Agra and Limca Book record holder) to set up Kayak Adventure along with two other intrepid entrepreneurs. Kayak Adventure, affiliated to the National Adventure Foundation, offers adventure sports in absolutely pristine surroundings.

Palat, T. Parameswaran and Joseph Pereira began this place at Murukkumpuzha, a laidback town on the banks of the Kadinamkulam Lake, 25 km from Thiruvananthapuram.

“After taking the land on lease from Pereira, we did some landscaping on the nearly two-acre plot and set up the facilities to encourage people to discover the outdoors,” says Parameswaran.

A swimming pool, commando nets, Burma bridge (rope bridge), a tunnel, fibreglass kayaks, coracles and Zorbing balls invite guests to have a ball on the premises, all under the eye of trained safety officers, men and women.

Palat finds it strange that the profusion of water bodies in Kerala have not motivated many to learn swimming. “Moreover, water transport is the cheapest means of transport and in a waterscape like Kerala, it should have been tapped. However, we seem to have neglected or forgotten our water bodies and along with it our love for the outdoors,” says Palat.

To remedy that, Kayak Adventure invites all, gender and age no bar, to challenge themselves physically and mentally and in the process become physically fit too. Within a short time since Kayak Adventure came into existence by the end of 2011, many techies, students and teachers have done that and found themselves clambering up the commando nets, crossing the Burma bridge and kayaking in the quiet environs of the place.

“When they come in, most people are hesitant to try out various activities. It is not because they can’t, it is because they are not sure about their own abilities. Once they see one or two of their team take the plunge, a few of them join in and, finally, they all end up having great fun. That is when they discover their sense of sportsmanship,” says Palat.

Companies from Technopark have participated in team building activities to promote bonding and leadership. Visitors are divided into groups and specifically designed activities identify their strengths and weaknesses. A group of teachers from a leading private school in the city came on a picnic and found that they were still a class apart on account of their zest and sense of adventure.

Albums filled with photographs of men and women crossing a water body with the help of a rope, mastering the technique of crossing the Burma bridge, having a ball inside a Zorba ball and rowing coracles and so on vindicate Palat’s conviction that all of us can surprise ourselves.

Some of the local residents have also become part of the enterprise. Prince and Issac, two of the safety instructors on the premises who have been trained at the National Institute of Water Sports in Goa, effortlessly go through the paces as they demonstrate what Palat has been talking about.

Kayak Adventure is planning backwater treks to nearby places. Recce trips are being planned before opening it for tourists and visitors. “Like trekking on land, we plan to take visitors on water treks to Attingal and Chirayankeezhu,” says Palat.

Families are welcome but prior notice is required. Food is arranged by the resort for those planning to spend a day. No accommodation is provided unless the participants want to spend a night in tents.

“We do not permit more than 40 people at a time on the premises to ensure that there is no letdown in safety. Once a group comes in, we give them instructions on following safety procedures and then there are guided through the activities. At the end of the day, many of them find themselves surprised at what they have achieved,” adds Parameswaran.

As I am when I reach the bank safe and dry!

“This is what I said about each of us surprising ourselves with our ability to rise to challenges,” beams Palat.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 5:45:33 AM |

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