Trip to Mandapam - exploring about life under water


Rameshwaram  is  an historic place with full of temples and beach and a crowded place .  We enjoyed the view of  beach in the night.

We experienced  glimpses of snorkeling and viewed corals , sea cucumber, sea lotus, etc. The person who took us for snorkeling shared that he would value satisfaction of children than money children decided how much to pay and the same was accepted.  He took us to the side where water was clear and had no waves and was not too deeper.  We had very few set of goggles and snorkeling set. Children managed to take turns for the set.  Few were just enjoying in water, few were curious to look into water for corals, sea lotus, seagrass,  few were exploring the set and were into swimming. After some time few started collecting the shells, few were still in water looking for corals,  and sea animals. Corals were sharp and porky, Sea grass was slippery to walk and was creating different feeling in our foot. Few were very comfortable swimming and exploring. Few made an exhibition of sea shell collections of different varieties.

We met fishermen. They were busy with their fish business. We met, observed and talked to them about their business, community, living,  boats, boat making, nets, seasons for fishing. One child explored and explored by interviewing different people (while having no knowledge about local language. Language was not a barrier for this child’s learning. Few children were behind catching fishes and identifying fishes, few were collecting and identifying shells and dead animals. Few were exploring the touch, look and feel of fish.  One child was behind the dogs, how they were being treated, fed and so on.  We also observed different types of boat.  

Dhanushkodi  was quite different than Rameshwaram. We could see only huts and fishermen and very few people.  We had sea on both sides of the land. One side was very calm and other side looked like waves were  roaring. Waves were  welcoming, jumping floating, rolling, screaming, dancing and the children duly followed the waves.  


CMFRI institute gave us warm welcome right from the security guard. One child forwarded to do entry procedure and two children accompanied to meet the chief scientist.  Children shared their journey of learning at Aarohi to him and he was quite happy about the children. He gave them a warm invitation, if they are interested to become a scientist and shared CMFRI Institute needs people with creative minds for discovering.

He helped us in arranging a mentor to guide us and share us about the details in museum and fish culture. Second day he helped us by introducing to a scientist who took us and showed us  the complete process of Fish culture. We saw how fish grows from eggs in lab to adult fish in sea. It was amazing to understand that the complete research and working of CMFRI is to help the fisherman with  business opportunities and at  the same time conserve the sea and its wildlife.

CMFRI Museum: This museum was an eye opener to understand the sea life. They have preserved a huge collection of  specimens. We also saw the marine reef museum, colour fish aquarium where live fishes, crabs, and many more sea life were cultivated. We also enjoyed crab fights, touch and feel of tortoise, star fish , sea urchin of different sizes and shapes,

It was quite astonishing to know the life cycle of Clown fishes. These fishes has the ability to change their sex naturally. Female fishes dominates over males and are always bigger in size . We laughed, enjoyed, observing them, questioned their life style .

The experience of 3 days of exploring sea life has left us with lot of thoughts about sea animals, life and much more beyond our imagination. 

Challenges : We explored local buses for traveling and found very comfortable . We all stayed in a single big room with only mats and pillows. Permission rejected to Gulf of Mannar due to age limit: We emailed , we made phone calls for the permission. We also talked to Chennai branch officer but due to age limit they rejected our application and did not grant permission.  One child spoke, pleaded, requested, argued with the officer and was even ready to do dharana for grant of permission. Child was not ready to give up or accept  the rejection due to age factor. The entire process of child driving was amazing.

Another trip, another learning, in search of Marine life.