I woke up at the morning 7:30 when the launch was having a stoppage at the Monpura(মনপুরা) Island of Bhola(ভোলা). We are having a team of four members for this tour. Yesterday Shamim(শামীম) who failed to board on the launch for heavy traffic jam at Dhaka. In fact I was at the brink while on the way. And Murad(মুরাদ), who jumped inside the launch after it started moving.
Yesterday It was the day after full moon. A large moon was accompanying us throughout the night. It was a nice feelings to standing in front of the launch and enjoying the beauty of the moon. Enjoying the moon's beauty and also playing cards coerced us to sleep at late and hence we missed the sunrise of today.
I woke up twice at the morning, one by the knock of the boy from the launch, and another one by the frequent pleading by orphans on the loud speaker at the Monpura(মনপুরা) Ghat. But was still feeling lazy to move my bum from the bed, so had a nap for another one hour and finally left the bed when we have arrived at the Hatia(হাতিয়া) stoppage, the last one. It was just after 8:30 of the morning. I think we have arrived here around an hour earlier than expected.
We have finished our breakfast at a low facilitated(but benign) hotel nearby. One of the waiter use to call the Porota(পরোটা) as Potora(পটরা) which sounded funny to me, but I didn't laugh. The hotel's waiter was talking about a trawler that would leave soon for the Nijhum Dip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ). So after finishing our heavy breakfast, we have reached near to the trawler ghat. A boy from the hotel guided us the path.
The trawler was full with goods and other stuffs. Also the front side of the trawler was occupied by the women and the kids, and the rear side was occupied by the men. Middle of the engine boat was packed with the goods which were intended to carry to that remote island, our destination. We have jumped inside the boat after crossing the patchy mud at the bank. It was around 9:40 of the morning, but terribly hot.
As the roof of the trawler is always open, so its a nice punishment to sitting on there. It was a long banal journey and we had nothing to do. First one hour or more we have played cards on the trawler, and later got tired on that too. Sometimes I have covered me with my umbrella. A septuagenarian man was sitting beside me, and I found awkward to be inside an umbrella and he was under the scorching sun. So I have invited him earnestly to join my umbrella, and he accepted the invitation.
We had a long conversation after that. As he was using his native language, and also for the harsh sound from the engine of the trawler, it was sometime difficult for me to understand his words. But still I filled those blanks by guessing. According to him, lot of spotted dears were available even a few years back. But recently, the wild dogs use to attack the dears and the count is decreasing. In fact, the foxes use to attach the baby dears too, as they are helpless.
A mid of our journey, I found a sailed boat that was moving slowly with he help of wind and the tide. After a long time I am seeing the sailed bot. The sail of the boat was colorful. Normally we see the white sailed boat often.
While talking with the wise man, I found we were becoming nearer(though more than an hour left) towards the Nijhum Dwip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ). And the scenes beside the river were getting more interesting. Hundreds of cows were grazing on a plain land beside the river. The land was covered with small grasses and looks like a green carpet. It was an amazing view.
It was a low tide when our trawler started, but soon the high tide replaced the lower one. So later part of the journey was taking time as it was moving opposite to the flow of water. But this gave us a benefit. Instead of anchoring on the Moktara Ghat(মোক্তারা ঘাট), the boat seeped into a narrow canal as it was fully packed with water. Later meandering through that narrow canal, our boat dropped us near to the Bazaar of the Nijhum Dip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ). It was around 1:10 at the noon. It took almost four hours to reach to the remote island using that trawler.
There is a boarding near the Ghat and lot of tourists use to stay there during their traveling. The boatman and the locals on the boat thought we would be staying there. So everyone of us were suggesting us to have a walk as it was pretty near to there. So we started walking by knowing its to near.
When we have reached to the bazaar(উচার বাজার), later also crossed it, and still no sign of our Nijhum Resort. Suddenly things got remembered to me, that resort is located at Namar Bazar(নামার বাজার). It was actually around a 2 hours of walking from there. It was terribly hot out there, but I have deiced to have a walk.
Shahadat(শাহাদাত), the laziest one from us was nonchalant about walking. He was asking the rickshaw pullers to provide him a lift for payment. Most of them were looking for 200 taka. After hearing the amount, he decided not to walk as he was confirmed about the distance. So after a quick bargain, he fixed a rickshaw for 150 taka. I have forced Murad(মুরাদ) to join him on the rickshaw. And me and Monish(মনিষ) stayed back to feel the heat.
The walking was tiring. Being the Jumma prayer time, there weren't that much of villagers on the road. It was almost silent, and empty. After seeing us walking, a local boy joined us to provide company. He went to enlist his name on the voter's list for election. I have asked a lot of questions to him, and he has answered all. Sometimes I found hard to understand his tone.
It was a single straight line road and both sides of the road are having plenty of paddy fields. I have found lot of large sized herons and egrets were wandering around the shallow waters to find a prey. Looks like the villagers are polite with those decaying bird inhibits. They didn't afraid by our presence. In fact they didn't bother about us as we were watching them closely.
A mid of our walking, we found a place where both side is covered with lot of mangrove trees which were planted by forest department. Local people say this as garden. We found lot of shades while crossing that portion. There were few narrow canals inside the garden, and lot of fish seeking birds were standing there to feed themselves.
Our last 40 minutes of walking was through the pure village road, no concrete or anything else. As it was time of Late Autumn, the paddy fields got a color of gold and fully prepared to be harvested. The sun was at it's best brightness and the color of the fields were viable around us. Lot of native birds like Doyel, Choroi, Bulbuli(দোয়েল, চড়ুই, বুলবুলি) were flying around the ripen crops. Who knows, few of those might have a nest inside the dense paddy fields!
It was almost 3:00 at the afternoon when we have reached to the Namar Bazar(নামার বাজার). After asking to the local people we have reached to the resort that we have booked from Dhaka. We found Murad(মুরাদ) and Shahadat(শাহাদাত) were having a lunch there. After dropping our baggage and freshen up, we have joined them for the lunch.
There were a group of eight people who came from Dhaka yesterday. That group was full with chaos and nonsense. In fact they were driving everyone crazy by the brouhaha and their irritating stuffs. Even they were quarreling themselves for the allotment of foods. Believe me or not, they were all fully grown up people.
That group hired a boat for watching dears at the canal nearby named Choudhury Khal(চৌধুরী খাল). They would pay the boatman 1000 taka for the service. We didn't have any plan to visit that canal today. But the offer of the boatman was luring us. He wanted 400 taka from us if we join them. But that group wasn't interested to take anyone with them for the ride. Anyway, we went to the beach according to the tour plan. And before leaving, we have fixed the boatman for 800 taka or less for tomorrow afternoon.
The beach was very near to the resort. It was around 5 minutes of walking from there. This beach was totally a new type to me. The sands of the beach was pure white in color. Also instead of having lot of sands, the beach was in fact covered with carpet like grasses. In fact, the place was mainly the point of merging of river with the ocean. Also, a little far from the shore, a small rising island is visible too. No people lives there, it just packed with mangrove trees.
We had a lazy walk around the beach. A shepherd was driving his Sheep cattle to home. It is rare to see shepherds at Bangladesh. I felt lucky to see that small group of Sheep. Basically the people from the island have to have cows more or less. The island has lot of fresh grasses everywhere to feed those domestic animals.
Winter is a good time for traveling. But not for me. The days use to come an end quickly, where in summer I use to have two hours more for traveling. So before closing the day, we have prepared to enjoy the sunset. I have watched so many sunsets in my life, but still I never get tired of watching it.
After the sunset, we have returned back to the nest. For the BBQ at night, we have bought two Ilish(ইলিশ) for 750 taka. Usually that pair use to be around 300-350 taka there. But unfortunately, for that group, we had to pay extra. They villagers have decided not to sell anything to that 8 members group for a conservative issue about a female from that team. I don't know what she did, but possibly she misbehaved with an elder from that village. And hence that awkward ban situation.
That resort has the equipment for the BBQ, so we just prepared the fishes with spices and waited to burn that after our dinner. In the meantime, that group started to make BBQ with chicken(cause they couldn't buy any fishes). It was another chaos. To avoid that cacophony, we have locked our door, and passed the time by playing card.
After our dinner, we have burnt those fishes with coal. It normally does not take much time. As we have wrapped the fishes with banana leafs, it took a few extra time. Before eating that BBQ fish, we have invited the boys of resort and the caretaker to join us. All of us enjoyed that delicious BBQ. Normally Ilish(ইলিশ) is not a better choice for BBQ, but we didn't have any option. Anyway everything went fine with us.
After the dinner, we have enjoyed the moon by sitting in front of the resort. When we got tired on that, we have passed another hour by playing cards, and later went to the bed for starting a new day freshly.
If you want to know what happened at Day-2, then click here and read that story.
Nijhum Dip (নিঝুম দ্বীপ),
Thana: Hatia (হাতিয়া),
District: Noakhali (নোয়াখালী),
This article is written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/