Having made friends with the lifeguards from the beach at Varkala they were keen to take us on a day trip on their day off so last Sunday we boarded their scooters and headed north through some of the Keralan backwaters.
There we met the fishermen who work at Lake Paravur and they lent us their fishing boats which are basically kayaks and we paddled out onto the lake. The lake is half cold, half hot and so the lifeguards made a beeline for the hot water, not that it was that frigid in the cold half. We could also get out and walk in part of the lake because it was shallow enough much to the amusement of passers by who were parking their cars on the road that you can see in the distance and taking photos.
The paddles were made of hollowed out bamboo canes and the kayaks were fashioned from plastic.
It’s remarkable that the fishermen use these same kayaks on the ocean. It was really nice to get to know the lifeguards. They were speaking about their work and mentioned how they work 7-7, 6 days a week and are paid a day rate with no salary or pension. They also spoke of how few people in India actually get taught how to swim so that explains why they keep everyone out the water.