“Why would I need a life jacket in a canal with 2 feet deep water?”, I was bewildered when I first saw the location of body surfing, a water sport I had never heard of before. My friends on social media had the same question when I shared a picture on my SM platforms without giving away much. Body surfing is a relatively unknown soft adventure sport. It does not demand much from an individual and anyone can attempt it irrespective of age/gender/fitness level etc.
Our hosts from Corbett Wild Iris Spa and Resort arranged a series of adventure sports which ended with this unique sport. When our guide Mr.Vinod brought all of us travel bloggers to the canal, we were not very clear what we are going to do. It did not even look exciting enough. However, after a few rounds of body surfing, we were begging for more.
Body surfing is nothing but just floating on the mildly rough currents of water in the narrow and shallow canal, supported by the lifejacket induced buoyancy. A life jacket was tied to our bodies and we were given a demo before we tried it ourselves. As instructed, I let my body float on the water, giving away the control of all of my 6 feet and 1 inch to the water currents, albeit mindful of not bumping into side walls.
Sometimes, I would close my eyes as I moved poetically, soaking in the sounds and smells of the jungle. My stupor was disturbed by a dry leaf falling lyrically on my face. So, I would keep my eyes open for some time and appreciate the birds chirping on the dense foliage above, or observe the busy ants marching on the side wall in disciplined queues, as if they are going to the mattresses.
A wooden plank was installed on the supposed end point of the sport, holding which we helped ourselves out of the canal. The staff also helped us get out. Though I was told, we could have body surfed all the way to our hotel. But we ditched the idea because another version of the game was on anvil. We returned barefeet to the start point again. I had the genius idea to stick my slippers between my chest and lifejacket. But my friends had a better idea : snatch those slippers from me, that is!
It was now the time for doing the same in a train like human chain. So we 5 bloggers queued up against each other. Once we settled our positions, we ‘lied down’ on water, holding the toes of the person behind us. Funnily enough, Swati who was behind me and last in the ‘train’, was soon surfing next to me, while we were still moving. In no time, she was the first person in the train. We burst into laughter and quipped, “Never seen a general compartment of a train become an engine in a span of five minutes.” She of course, being the last, blamed it on the lack of anything to hold on to. Needless to say, I enjoyed both version of the sport. No wonder, we attempted it 5 times, alternating between individual and train.
The location of the sport was a winner. We were in the middle of a jungle. What makes the canal memorable is that it belongs to the era when British ruled India. In fact, the canal was built by a British and is in a very good condition. It is still used by locals for their daily activities. There was also a patch in the canal where one could body surf under a dark tunnel. The wild child that I am, I was excited to do it but my friends showed zilch enthusiasm for passing through a pitch dark tunnel, infested with (harmless) bats. I tried to show them the point but to no avail. Finally, I dropped the idea too.
My maiden trip to Corbett National Park is different, as there was literally no stress of sighting a tiger or an elephant. We were actually on a cultural/heritage/culinary/adventure sports trail in a place where people roam with harrowed expressions, frown looming heavily on the forehead and asking every passing vehicle, “Tiger dikha kya? (Did you see tiger)” I wanted to ask them instead, “Aapko jungle dikha kya.” (Did you see the jungle?)
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Note: I was hosted by Corbett Wild Iris Resort and Spa. The resort conducts many such adventure sports within the forest. Check their website for more info or ask me in commenst below. I was accompanied by travel blogger/journalists Mrs. Alka Kaushik, Mr. Dipanshu Goyal, Ms. Parnashree Devi, Ms. Swati Jain, Ms Suhana Sajwan
WARNING : COPYRIGHT TO ALL THE IMAGES AND TEXT HERE REMAINS WITH ME. YOU CAN NOT JUST LIFT THE CONTENT AND USE IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. STRICT LEGAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IF CONTENT IS STOLEN. YES, I AM SERIOUS.