Kerala Backwaters in the Rain

Line of passengers on punt ferry. A punt ferry transporting its cargo in heavy rain. You can stay marginally dryer standing up in tropical rain than sitting down in it - marginally Kerala has had a democratically elected communist government for much of its recent history, and (maybe consequently) its literacy rate is higher than that of the UK, there is also a marked lack of the poverty seen in much of India. This makes it an ideal tourist destination within which the 'Backwaters' form a key attraction. They stretch some 200 kilometres in the form of a series of lagoons, rivers and canals which lie between the sea and the mountains. The 900 kilometres of shallow water allow visitors a close view of both human and other life. Kerala is wet. The average rainfall in this long narrow south-west Indian state is over three metres. The reason is that Kerala is defined by a mountain range (Western Ghats) which runs along its border and which raises the moist air coming from the Arabian Sea to a height where it precipitates over the state, giving a rainfall that is similar to the west coast of Scotland, and roughly three times the Indian average. Photography seeks to paint with light; heavy rain defeats this end, the quality and consistency of the photos here and on the next page suffer accordingly. View of waterway from launch. The view ahead from our tourist launch People standing by punt on steps by river, factory behind. The average monthly temperatures in Kerala range from a high of 29 to a low of 27... Two men sitting under umbrella on palms in boat, one standing in prow of boat. the discomfort from rain is not like that in a colder country. Shelter is more optional Two boys with fishing rod, two girls waving. Children on the banks seem to keep up... Group of children waving from river bank. ...enthusiasm for the passing curiosities... Family disembarking under umbrellas. ...less so adults making for shelter Man punting long boat with cabin and piles of sand. The almost stationary and shallow water makes punting safe and punts the norm Longboat with cabin anad sand. Another longboat with a variant on the cabin, otherwise similar to the one above Punt with sail. Relatively useless in these windless places - sail assistance View along waterway. Another wet watery view of a waterway Punt with punter palm leaves and two men sitting. Cargo of palm leaves on a punt Small shrine on small pier. The rain stops for a little, umbrellas disappear, colours emerge from hiding, and life seems easier. What appears to be a combined shelter and small shrine sits on this pier Boat with two men punting. A two punter boat Two larger boats with cabins moored at a pier, seen between palms. Larger boats moored to another pier Prow of boat projecting into the river and the rain. The prow of a much larger long boat - rain soaked Long boat out of the water. Long boat pulled up from the water onto the bank Long boat moored at bank. And another moored by the bank Long boat seeming to be going at speed causing a wave. A long boat speeding down the waterway, prow up, umbrellas up, other people's annoyance up. Strict speed limits help protect the banks from erosion Man heaving on a punt pole. The effort required to shift several tons of sand even in calm water can be guessed from this shot of a man putting his whole weight behind the pole Two men bailing out a canoe. Through the murk of the rain maybe you can see that these two men are bailing out their boat; a task verging on the Sisyphean in such weather Vehicle ferry being punted. ...and a punted vehicle ferry The punted passenger ferry shown in the top picture. A punted passenger foot ferry... Car and passengers on punted ferry. The Morris Isis was still in production in India into this century, here one is being propelled by three men on a ferry constructed from two punts Man punting canoe with low cargo. Most boats are shipping goods around the waterways: side view of punter... Same as last from front. ...front view of the last punter Two men one waving from on sandbags. Two men packing sandbags for one of the defensive walls Two men in canoe, one standing. Part of a sea wall protecting the lagoon from the open sea, the waves of which can be seen over the wall Man canoeing. Within the lagoon the water is less flat than in the... Lagoon with horizon of palms and heavy rain on water. ...canals, but still manageable in light canoes Lagoon in heavy rain. Rain Trailers... A Chinese Net. The next page has the Chinese lift nets of the 'Backwaters' as insect art. Image intended to be hard to comprehend at first glance. The next page is entitled
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Saturday 25th May 2019 Murphy on duty

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