On the last day of last year, my friends and I clambered into a boat that whisked us off to Ciao Bella, a glorious little mustard-yellow yacht that took us sailing around Goa’s tranquil backwaters. I had never even heard of Goa’s backwaters until then, and I wonder how they manage to keep something so sublime a secret.

For hours we meandered slowly down the Mandovi river, a gentle breeze on our faces and warm winter sunshine on our backs. We could see the clouds reflected in the glassy water and we spotted all kinds of birds. 

Most of the time we were the only boat on the water. It was lush and green, and serene and peaceful. Goa on New Year's Eve? C'est pas possible.

Towards the evening, our captain spotted movement on the riverbank and he turned off the engines so we could get a closer look at a magnificent and very scaly crocodile. 

We made it back to shore by literally heading into the flaming sunset for a bit, probably the most splendid one I’ve ever seen and certainly the nicest way to bid 2014 goodbye. 


If you want to experience Goa’s backwaters, it’s easy enough to hire a boat (if you want to splurge, you can even hire Ciao Bella) or find a boat tour via Google. 


Photos by Aamer Zubairy and myself.