I slept for less than 2 hours as Sonal called me well before the time I had set up my alarm. After a session of filter coffee at her aunt's place, we were off and I reached RAIT at 5.
I know... RAIT is in Nerul and 2 stations ahead of Vashi. I took a wrong turn and there was no U-turn all the way till Nerul.
Anyway, that didn't matter much as Mithun didn't turn up till 6:30--long story!
Harihareshwar started to seem too far away but we didn't give up just yet and decided to skip the breakfast halt so as to have a reasonable chance of reaching the place by noon.
Again, that didn't matter as Mithun took the road to Pune after Panvel instead of going towards Pen. The Harihareshwar jinx continues...
We caught up with them and the time was just after 7. After a hot debate of the options we had--Aanchal blocked all my attempts to steer the group to Karnala--decided to head on to some beach in Alibag.
There is a exit at the right that says "Rasayani" on the old Mumbai-Pune highway--every biker should try it out. The winding road passes through many small hills and is dotted with little villages. A (highly polluted) steam runs through the length of the road that ends just before Pen. I got some fantastic snaps over there--must try the route again!
We drove leisurely now that Harihareshwar was off our maps, and stopped for breakfast at Vadhkhal naka. Everyone was super sleepy but somehow managed to chew through whatever was on our plates.
We set out for Nagaon--this is the same place where Ashwin wanted to arrange our office picnic. It was a long detour through typically sleepy villages, which gave me the impression that the place would be good... but the place was crowded, commercialized, and we didn't like the beach.
The best thing about the Alibag area is that we are spoilt for choice as the next beach is never more than 10 minutes away.
We decided on Nandgaon which is after Kashid. En route, we stopped at Revdanda fort - I have passed this fort on ALL my trips but never noticed it. I still need to explore the area completely.
On Revdanda bridge, we could see a fort on the hill parallel to us and I talked the others into exploring it.
I had no idea we would discover what we did. There is a left after the bridge that leads to Korlai village. To reach the fort/lighthouse we had to go to the end of the village and then on top of the hill. As soon as you get out of the village, you find yourself on the side of the hill, on a rock track with the sea on one side and the fort walls visible high up on the other.
The entrance of the fort has a board saying it was a restricted zone and we need "permission" to enter, but we pretended to not see it. The keeper of the lighthouse was eager to show us around but there were a few other "official" looking people who didn't like us loitering around but Sonal's buttered them up in Marathi and they were taken care of.
The fort is pretty well preserved and we explored the entire north stretch. It was exhausting and the fact that we didnt have water didn't help our cause but the view was fabulous and it kept us going--first up and then down, and further down, and further, till we reached the sea. On the way we stopped for photographs, snatched a kid from a goat, and explored the doorways and canons lying around the place.
There is a huge wall just before the sea and a mini beach at the end, it would make for a perfect hidden getaway if the water was cleaner :P
We enjoyed the scene and dragged our feet back up to the top of the fort. We were in a mess, no water and no food. There was no food at the caretaker's place either and he asked us to go back to the village. I really wanted to get down to the beach and put to use the new shorts I had picked up from Nagaon beach but my stomach got the better of me.
We found a decent place 5 minutes down the road towards Kashid (just before the diversion). There was a nice long debate over whether there were other girls having food in there and we finally got in for a nice authentic cuisine. Plates of kombdi thali, misal pav, anda burjee flew off the table. The food was very good and it made up for not being in the water.
On the way back, I talked everyone into trying the jetty route from Revas. We rushed to make it in time but I knew at the back of my mind that we would have to be really lucky to make it during high tide. We reached the place before 6 but the boat was scheduled for 7:30. Bad luck--I was dead by this time with no strength to ride back home. I could have waited all night to catch the next jetty if I had to. The good thing about riding in a group is that I don't get to do what I want--which is good at times.
We rode back... 2 hours behind schedule... thanks to me.
After the bad stretch at Ispat, I could hear weird noises from the back of my bike as if something had broken. There were no lights over there so I stopped at Vadhkal nak, right in front of a police chowky. The cops were very friendly and tried to help me source of the noise. I tried rocking my bike, shook every part I could but there was no sound. Hoping it wouldn't resurface we rode on and thankfully, it didn't
I dropped Aanchal and Swapna misguided Mithun AGAIN on the way back! The trip ended just as it had started!