Madurai

Marine eco tourism, adventure sport launched at Tharuvaikulam

The fiberglass boat ride at Taruvaikulam beach in Thoothukudi district on Friday.

The fiberglass boat ride at Taruvaikulam beach in Thoothukudi district on Friday. | Photo Credit: RAJESH N

Tourists taking the scenic East Coast Road will have to hereafter stop at Tharuvaikulam, situated about 10 Km from here, as the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust (GOMBRT) has started marine ecotourism in this coastal hamlet. Tourists can venture into the sea in a fiberglass boat to see the colourful underwater world around the beautiful corals and enjoy fresh yummy seafood.

 Tharuvaikulam, which is witnessing rapid development following the establishment of Fish Landing Center for the benefit of 250-odd mechanized boats, is attracting a large number of public and fish traders from various parts of Tamil Nadu. Since the sea is calm during most part of the year in this region, the GOMBRT has introduced this initiative – Tharuvaikulam Community-based Eco Tourism Project – to attract tourists to this coastal hamlet.

 After formally registering the scheme - ‘Tharuvaikulam Eco Tourism’, GOMBRT and the local community have joined hands to execute this marine eco tourism project, worth ₹30 lakh with which equipment for snorkeling and scuba diving have been procured. A bank account has been started to maintain the revenue of this project through which the GOMBRT will get 60% while the remaining 40% will go to the local community participating in this venture, said GOMBRT Range Officer Raghuvaran, who is also the secretary of Tharuvaikulam Marine Eco Tourism while Amaladasan of Tharuvaikulam will be the president.

 The visitors can venture into the sea (except Tuesdays) from the shore for about 2 Km in a fiberglass boat, worth ₹12 lakh, fitted with a glass bottom through which tourists can see the underwater marine world including beautiful corals, colorful fishes, sponges, starfishes, sea anemone, sea cucumber, varieties of conches, sea grass etc.

 When the project’s trial run was started on Friday, Tharuvaikulam parish priest Rev. Fr. Vincent and the locals travelled in the boat for about 2 Km. Since the bottom of the boat is transparent, the tourists can see the marine organisms at close range. While ₹ 300 per head is being collected for venturing into the sea up to 2 Km with 10 to 12 passengers, fare for going up to 1 Km is ₹200 per head.

 “Since the sea will be clam between 7 a.m. and 10.30 a.m., we can go up to 2 km., where these marine organisms are abundantly available for about 3 hectare area. If the sea is rough, then the tourists with life jackets will be taken up to 1 km for a lesser fare and the operation of boats will go on up to 4 p.m. The boat will have a driver, a certified lifeguard and a lascar,” said Mr. Bakan Jagdish Sudhakar, Director, GOMBRT, the brain behind this project.

 To take this venture to the next level and add more colour, the GOMBRT is all set to introduce snorkeling and scuba diving also in near future to take the tourists under the sea up to 20 feet depth.

 “While snorkeling will be in 6 feet-deep water, scuba diving will be done in areas with 15 to 20 feet depth to swim around the colourful underwater world,” Mr. Raghuvaran said.

 To treat the tastebuds of the tourists visiting Tharuvaikulam, the GOMBRT is planning to encourage the local community, who are specialists in preparing mouthwatering fish curry and dishes like fried fishes, squid, prawn and crab caught by the fishermen everyday, to set-up their eateries near the beach.

 Those who want to book the boat or get any information may contact 86810 20780 as of now as the GOMBRT is planning to introduce online booking shortly.


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Printable version | Jun 16, 2022 12:53:31 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/marine-eco-tourism-adventure-sport-launched-at-tharuvaikulam/article65345021.ece