Mumbai has a beautiful coastline and perfect conditions for water sports. It is also one of the least trafficked coastlines in the world. So you’ll most likely have the great blue Arabian Sea to yourself as you try your hand at jet skiing or sailing.
On No TV Day, get your family or group of friends together and head out to try a new, or favourite, water sport or, for adrenaline junkies who prefer to stay dry, try rock climbing and rappelling in the forests of Borivli’s Sanjay Gandhi national park.
“The feeling of conquering the rock and seeing the lush green forest from that height is an amazing experience,” says Esha Savla, 21, a college student and Matunga resident who was introduced to rock climbing and rappelling six years ago. “I started by attending a one-day rock-climbing and rappelling trip and scaled a 15-ft-tall rock. It was challenging and exhilarating and I have been doing it ever since.”
Rock climbing and rappelling build strength and stamina and help you tone your muscles by acting as a workout,” says Parag Gandhi of Escapades Adventure Trips, which has been conducting adventures sports camps in and around Mumbai for 11 years.
Back on the water, Malvika Joshi, 13, has been learning wind surfing for two months and says she has fallen into the water several times, but now has the hang of the sport.
“I can successfully windsurf and it feels great,” she says.
Joshi now wants to learn scuba diving and is considering enrolling in certified instructor Neet Shah’s recreational scuba diving courses in the swimming pool of Juhu’s Sea Princess hotel. “Learning scuba diving is the closest you can get to being in another world,” says Shah.
Dr Vivek Allahbadia, 45, an orthopae-dic surgeon, attended his first scuba diving session in a swimming pool three years ago. “Even that session was amazing,” he says. “I was afraid at first, but I soon overcame my fear and went on to complete the open-water scuba-diving course. I am a certified scuba diver now and so is my 16-year-old son and we both dive at least twice a year at different locations in India and abroad.”
Aqua-enthusiasts can also head to the H2O Water Sports Complex at Girgaum Chowpatty, for a one-day course in jet skiing.
“To learn this sport, you need to understand how the machine works and get some balancing skills as you ride it in the water,” says Kulwant Singh Sehni, 34, a resident of Navi Mumbai who learnt jet skiing two years ago. “Once you get the trick, jet skiing is lots of fun.”
For those who would rather be spectators, H2O will also be hosting a dragon boat race and windsurfing championship on January 27, 28 and 29.
Or, at the same venue, take a lesson in sailing from Homi Manekshaw, who has been sailing since 1969 and teaching for 14 years on his 6-ft-long yacht.
“The aim of the course is to introduce people to the fun of sailing,” says Manekshaw. “The view of the Taj Mahal hotel and the NCPA building at Nariman Point are stunning. The light breeze and the silence of the ocean will make you want to sail often.”