continuing from part 1
we begin day two early in morning exploring the nearby coastal area. after an hour of walking around in mud covered mangrove forest (avoiding the the pneumatophores - root-like structures which stick up out of the soil like straws for breathing - was a tough call), the letka kichuri (a not-so-wet porridge type traditional meal) breakfast awaiting us on board is indeed a welcoming retreat. after the hefty meal, we are all set for the only remaining agenda of day two - jungle trekking and island exploration.
once again it is 50 people jam-packed in that same 20ft life boat. and this time, none of us are wearing life jackets. the 30 minute ride to destination island covers the junction point where the river meets the sea. even a mild sea wave caressing the boat makes her swing left and right, and our hearts jump in fear; though for faruk vai and his crew this is mere child's play. some try to beat the fear with laughters and click-clock off their digital cameras, while others i am sure are silently engaged in prayer. to make things worse, a huge fishing net is caught on the propeller of our boat making the propeller stuck and leaving all of stranded in the 'mild waves' just meters away from shore. after what seems like ages, we are finally towed on shore by a group of fishing fishermen.
first thing first. right after setting foot on shore, everyone gathers for a group photo before setting out on the eight km trekking trail through mangrove forest, a 'mini desert', katka beach (where we make a two hour swimming stop) and tiger point, a huge open field where tigers hunt for deers. one of us, a doctor, finds a pair of deer horns, a tigers skull (claims faruk vai) and a man's left hip bone (she is damn confident about that). i guess bones are naturally attracted to doctors !!! (probably we would have 'discovered' it if an antique antenna was to be found).
by the time we are back on board and relaxed after filling our burning stomachs, it is almost evening. the eight km trek is too much to take for us dhakaians, and we spent the rest of day 2 sleeping and or lazing away. refreshed by an untimely evening nap, i am on deck dating stars and the sky at midnight. experiencing the moon slowly climb over my head, i realize Sundarbans is not the place for a three day getaway. even after weeks exploring, i dont think one can fully devour her majestic beauty and vast wilderness.
the next morning while on the upstream journey back from serenity and peace of nature to chaos of civilization, i make a firm resolution of returning to the Sundarbans. i can clearly foresee myself laying helpless in her arms, like a child to his mother! and probably catch glimpse of a royal bengal tiger !!!
more photos, courtesy of chandan