To bring some order in the functioning of water sports operators, beginning next tourism season – October 2014 – the tourism department through Goa tourism development corporation (GTDC) will operate all the water sports booths in the state. The booths run by GTDC will issue tickets, maintain the queue system and control sport activities. The decision has been taken in view of complaints against water sports operators that they don’t follow a queue system. The new water sports policy of the government will also be implemented from the next season. Tourism officials say that despite their directive, water sports operators operating from popular beaches in the state reluctantly, follow the queue system.
During the last two years, although the queue system is being followed, there have been constant fights among the operators. The tourism department has been in receipt of many such complaints. Also, many complaints were about irregularities against water sports operators, alleging that safety measures are not followed as most of the boats are overcrowded and expose passengers on-board to danger. Also, two writ petitions were also filed in the high court seeking directions to tourism department to intervene in the interest of safety of the tourists. Nikhil Desai, director, tourism department, in the affidavit filed before the high court, said GTDC would undertake operations of water sport booths, but only from the next season. This is because the process of taking over of the queue system from the water sports associations will take some time as all the necessary infrastructure will have to be created as also additional staff will have to be employed to maintain the water sports booths.
The tourism department has moved the proposal to the government for taking over the queue system from the water sports association from ongoing season itself, Desai had stated in his affidavit filed in the high court. There are over a thousand water sports operators operating from various beach stretches but North Goa beaches Calangute, Baga, Sinquerim and Candolim are most crowded. Touts also move around tapping customers.
Water Sports In Goa
The fabulous golden Goan coast is sprinkled with water sports excitements from windsurfing to paragliding. John Lucas, an Englishman, who first came to Goa in the early 70s like thousands of other westerners on a spiritual journey, found his heaven here in Goa. Being a keen windsurfer, the next time he came back to Goa, he had with him, his board and rig. And the trend for water sports in Goa was set. Today there are a number of water based sports and activities available in Goa. The best season for enjoying water sports in Goa is from October to May when the skies here are cloudless and blue, and the waters fairly placid.
Windsurfing trainers and experts alike claim Dona Paula bay to be the ideal location for the beginners. The prevailing winds and the calm sea, ensure almost lake-like conditions. The morning breeze is light and steady — just right for learners; while stronger winds that set in during the afternoons offer a perfect challenge for the more experienced.
For Dinghy Sailing Dinghies are available for hire at the Cidade de Goa and the Taj Holiday Village. Instructors are available for beginners.These 15-odd feet long crafts hold three to four people comfortably. The Zuari estuary at Dona Paula is an excellent learning area – its calm waters being the kindest Goa has to offer. Scuba diving is also fast gaining popularity. Underwater visibility in the more tranquil of Goa’s bays and lagoons ranges between five to ten meters. Although Goa does not have magnificent coral reefs it boasts of myriad schools of fascinating marine life. For the speed-lovers Goa offers the thrills of venturing into the sea on speedboats. The high-class speedboats for Water Skiing which are available in some places, can achieve speeds of up to 30-40 miles an hour.
The beaches of Goa offer a varied and plentiful, almost inexhaustible, supply of seafood, still fairly cheap and absolutely fresh. The Agonda beach in Canacona, which lies a short distance from the more famous Palolem beach is a popular spot for Angling. Soormai, salmon and mullet are frequent catches. High fliers amongst the speed lovers can opt for Parasailing. There’s a rope about 300 feet long attached to the parasail harness at one end and to the speedboat at the other. When the boat speeds off on the water, the parasailor just takes one or two steps and he is lifted into the air, the parasail lifting behind him. Water Scooter are readily available at Dona Paula jetty, Cidade de Goa, Majorda, and Candolim beach.