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The International Writers Magazine: India Travel

Turtle Bay
Marianne de Nazareth
It’s summertime and the living is easy, with exams and sundry stuff out of the way, it’s time to head out of town and enjoy a true blue holiday. So we decided to head to Turtle Bay in Kundapura, which is on the coast of Karnataka in India.


We had forgotten how super a holiday on the beach can be- there is something about the sea and sand that immediately invigorates the heart and the mind!

So, taking a Volvo bus out of Bangalore we kind of slept on the reclining seats and got into Kundapur at around 8am. Would you believe it, but our bus tickets said ‘Coondapoor’ in true Blue Brit style. Guess the KSRTC is still in a time warp.
Abraham Chacko the owner of Turtle Bay Resort sends out a taxi to collect you should you come in by bus, but we met a young couple from Bangalore who had driven down in their own car, the whole 900 odd kms.

The resort is slap bang on the beach, there’s just a picket fence that separates Turtle Bay from the vast expanse of pure white sands and foaming waves. It’s an awesome experience and what makes it even more exciting is the beach seems to be a well guarded secret with hardly any people on it except for the few fishermen who keep to their end of the beach! It’s a veritable environment lover’s dream resort with not a sliver of plastic or junk anywhere on the sands. Just hundreds of little crabs racing around ahead of you and disappearing into their holes, as you pad into the ocean.

Dump all your luggage in the cabana which is air conditioned with just the salt smelling cool breezes wafting in from the sea, and thankfully minus regular air-conditioning. Pull off your heavy jeans and trainers, and slip into shorts and Tees and you are ready to run barefooted into the sea. It was breakfast time, but we could not bear to wait to eat, so we just took our watermelon juice down to the waves and sipped it as the water lapped over our toes. There are stunning rock formations on which heaps of carbuncles clung and the sea had shaped with its constant eddying into dramatic shapes.

Bay Abraham Chacko the owner is very particular that his guests swim in the sea while at Turtle Bay, so even if you can’t swim at all, don’t worry, he will take you out into the breakers with a life jacket so you can experience it. “Sea water is a great relaxant and I like all my guests to enjoy the feel of going out into the waves,” he says.

All the cuisine at Turtle Bay is coastal and delicious. Try their fried Mackerel, Batter fried Squid Bhajjies and most definitely the Crab Shukkha eaten along with steamed rice or phulkhas. Forget ordering aerated drinks, just ask for their Nimbu Soda, they have perfected the art at Turtle Bay.

Another well kept secret is their masseuse. Don’t leave Turtle Bay without a massage which may not be done in a Spa ambience with dimmed lights and low music. But the music of the waves in the distance along with the magical fingers of the masseuse will leave you totally relaxed after an hour of her gentle ministrations. Thankfully its minus the overdose of smelly oils which most Ayurvedic massages leave one covered in and which takes days to remove.

That night it rained in Turtle Bay and for city slickers it was the most awesome experience we had been through. Lightening crashed and thunder roared and the rain poured down in a steady sheet. Visions of the waves coming in and washing us away made us stand at the windows looking out anxiously at the breakers which were as far away as they were in the morning! How puny we are in front of the power of mother nature, yet man loves to pretend that nature waits for his decisions.

The following morning we were woken up bright and early and after a breakfast of hot Puris and Palya, drove off to Murdeshwar for a day of snorkelling and Diving. Another closely guarded secret is Turtle Bay is the only resort in coastal Karnataka, which offers world class diving and snorkelling facilities.

Dhirendra Rawat, an Australian trained Scuba Instructor took us out into the ocean along with a group of six other equally inexperienced tourists. Rawat is Padi trained and has a whole lot of checks and balances in place, including a short training session as you head out for Pigeon Island (Netrani) to Dive and Snorkel around the steep and uninhabited island. The variety of exotic fish that we saw was mind boggling and as we went out we were kept company by a school of friendly Dolphins diving in and out of the waves alongside our boat.

It’s the holiday season and hopefully you can get bookings as Turtle Bay is not on the commercial map inspite of being 20 years old. It’s the place to relax and commune with nature, and the best time to visit is between November and April. A special 30 percent on already very reasonable tariffs are offered during the monsoon season.

Contact Abraham Chacko: Turtle Bay Resort Pvt Ltd, Kanchugodu. Gujjadi Post. Kundapur Taluk, Udupi Dist. Karnataka, PIN 576235. Phone: 910  08254  745422 Mobile: 9845374079. email:

© Marianne de Nazareth May 2010
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