Missed an update from the previous day: We also visited a light house nearby after sunset. Until now I used to think light houses are a thing of the past but apparently that is not true. From the hill where the light house is located is a panoramic view of lights of Panaji city at night, and Mandovi river near the sea. We saw quite a few boats and cruises enjoying the night on the river. We all wished we were in one of those boats and also contemplated on buying boats and living near the shores. :-)
This day, 4th November 2002 was the last day in Goa. Only thing that was remaining to do was to go to Sun Village Resorts at 10-30am to get a hang of diving and then start driving to Bangalore. We got up fairly early and decided to checkout nearby Arpora Fort. It was a good idea to go there. Fort was located on a hill with very long view of sea shore. One side was the Vagator beach and to the other side, sea waters made an entry into the land, forming a bay. Or was that a river? There was no one around whom we could ask, but from the map we had, it looked like a bay. Looking at the sea and the waves not from the beach but from somewhere a few hundred feet high gives a completely different picture.
We returned from the fort and drove to the resort. Had a filling breakfast there that lasted beyond lucnhtime. :-) When we came out of the restaurant, the diving crew had already arrived. There were a few people already in queue and we had a bit of waiting to do. During the wait, I had a fairly long chat with the divers and got to know a bit about the sport, the fishes you get to see down there, some enjoyable experiences of the divers and a lot more. One of the guys was telling about a story where he was standing still in water, and fish would come to him out of curiocity, repeatedly bang into his goggles while he got a close look at the fish. He also talked about some friendly fishes that would let you swim with them in the school. All that made me all the more enthusiastic about diving(marketing?) and there, my turn had come to dive. I put on the gear. It consits of a belt with some heavy metal piece attached to it to ensure that you can get down the water easily, a pair of long shoes you might have seen in tv that helps you move forward, a jacket that has the air cylinder attached to it, an air regulator/mouth piece to inhale water from and goggles. Even wearing all that was not an simple job. :-) After putting on the gear, I struggled a bit to get used to breathing with the mouth but soon got used to doing that. Then it was all like a breeze going around the pool. It was a good experience. We all returned back hoping to come back for a full time course, time and money permitting.
So there we started our drive back to the city around 12pm. Even the drive back was good. Most of the drive was thru a lot of greenery. After half an hour or so, we entered the western ghat region and started steep and curvy climbs. The picturusque drive lasted for nearly 45 minutes when we reached the planes of deccan. We drove on continuosly for 4 hours and arrived near Hubli. We had to pass via Hubli-Dharwad bypass road which seems to be a newly built toll highway. The road was surprisingly good, wide, away from villages and was almost deserted. We got a chance to put the car on a stress test and managed to reach speeds as high as 150kph, very safely. Must say this is faster than the speed limit in many states in US. Even after this, the road was pretty decent all the way till Bangalore. Most of the time, we stayed at 90 to 110kph. It helped us to reach the city a little earlier than projected - at around 12-30am and we were able to catch some sleep that night, before heading to work the next day. And the next day, I woke up to the grind, again. :-))