Note: I am continuing this two part blog post almost a year later. For the previous post on MV click here
Into the waters
After a hearty breakfast and much preparation, we were ready to set off on our kayaking adventure. Two backpacks with lunch, water and some snacks, head gear and plenty of sunblock later, we were ready to go on.
As the lightest member of the group (with questionable upper body strength) I was offered the seat of honor, sitting at the back of the kayak, holding on for dear life to the rower in front of me. Others were much more comfortable with the seating arrangement as their asses were not in the danger of being soaked. The journey towards the bathing holes/lunch destination was nothing short of amazing. Although a relentless Sun was beating down upon us, none of us even noticed the heat as we were completely taken by the beauty that was around us. Glistening waters, skeleton trees rising from nowhere breaking the still uniformity of the mirrored skies and the breeze that helped push us towards where we want to go – it was as if we were transported to a different world.
Our favorite scenery would have to be when we were rowing along the river where we could barely see the land, and turn a bend to emerge into a narrow stretch of water trapped by two gigantic rocks on either side. It was shady and amazing, and I really wish we had photographs of that. Unfortunately, none of us had waterproof cameras – although I doubt if we would have taken them out anyway considering a single mistake would have the camera at the bottom of the river.
A couple of hours of rowing later, we arrived at sand dunes. As it was the dry season, the river had somewhat diminished here and we could not use the kayaks anymore. Thus, we set off – I, the carrier of bags, and the others with the kayaks on their heads to find a good storing place for our sole mode of transport back to civilization, before setting off on a trek to reach the bathing holes.
So we climbed along the river, over the rocks and through the trees upwards and upwards to reach that one perfect spot – according to Priyanka – for bathing and rock sliding. So we found gorgeous butterflies, eagle feathers and a few men from the neighboring village on their way to fish.
And so we found this piece of heaven, where we lunched, frolicked in the water, rock-slid and sunbathed – all while Priyanka kept a close eye on us, scouted the surrounding and acted the perfect host for a group of nature-deprived people.
At around 3 pm we started our journey back – after a hearty lunch and a tea that Priyanka made on the spot. We were happy and content; until it was time to row back. The wind was blowing against us, pushing us back as we strived to go forward, waves were breaking across the calm waters of the reservoir making the kayaks buck like a colt unbroken. The Sun, in all its glory was shining right in our eyes – with a strength that no pair of shades could counter.
I was once again at the back of the kayak, holding on for dear life (note: I can’t swim. And while we did have life jackets on, a body of water where my feet can’t touch the bottom terrified me). Priyanka advised us not to row in a straight-line and waste our energy, but to row in a diagonal. The scariest part was when we were in the middle of the water body, the kayak attempting to throw us off, our kayak being filled with water and coming dangerously close to the danger line – and Priyanka selecting that moment to inform us that there are crocodiles in the river. I do not believe in God; but I don’t think I ever talked that earnestly to Nature and vibes of the universe to deliver us safe. Our other pair – Annie and Dilshan – later informed us that they had a bit of a moment in the middle of the water, where they had to fight tears of exhaustion and hopelessness and gather whatever the remaining strength to push through. All in all, we rowed until the Sun disappeared over the horizon, and finally dragged our exhausted, sore, beaten bodies to the river bed. Suffice to say, it was one experience none of us were likely to forget.
What [a] Fish!
The next day was our day of return; hence we woke with a little sadness and a lot of sore muscles. Deciding not to physically exert ourselves, we decided to fish in the reservoir. Nisal opted out of the exercise, as he said he cannot bear the sight of it. As he does not eat fish anyway, I made no objections. It was difficult to hold a fish out of water and remove the hook without freaking out. Of course there were quite a few instances of screaming, jumping, but as this is one thing that we had to do (You can read my view on why I had to do it as well as my response to those of you saying “sin! How could you!” here), we did do it.
After a couple of hours of sitting in the baking Sun, a lot of wasted bait, and several incidents of twisted fishing rods later, we managed to catch five fish for lunch. The proud fisher folk that we were, our pride rocketed when Priyanka expressed surprise that we managed to catch fish!
Final lunch, more banana fritters and one final look at this little piece of heaven later, we all piled back into Priyanka’s jeep, and headed to Kandy to catch our train home.
With each meter that we put between us and this place of serenity, with each meter that we got closer to the hustle of Colombo, my heart did sing a tune of melancholy. All in all, Miracle Valley does indeed live up to its name. The oneness you feel with nature in the arms of this cozy nook is unlike any I have ever felt before.