Had been looking out for some good Suratensis for some time now. Madhu called me to inform that he'd spotted some good ones in a LFS (Local fish shop) he knew.
During the call he happened to mention "Mettur dam" and how the backwaters had low levels and some parts of the submerged city were visible. That only added to the idea of visiting Salem and the surrounding places.
A couple of calls and bus ticket later landed in Salem where Madhu picked me up. Was greeted warmly by his family who hosted (read put up) with me for the next two days :-)
Settled in and after a good dinner of Dosas and Idlis, we went to the roof top and talked a lot with topics varying from bikes to fish to snakes to photography and locations. Madhu had really developed a liking to photography and had made some good progress in very little time, and that lent a whole new dimension to our plans for the next two days.
We decided to visit Mettur dam and the backwaters (Stanley reservoir) and click anything that catches our attention :D
Setting the alarm to 5:30, we retired to bed. Woke up bang on time and by 6 we were on our way. Open roads and Madhu's riding ensured we were reached half way in good time. First stop was beside a small field where we clicked a few. Sharing talks on the shots as we took them was nice.
I would smile to myself everytime I saw Madhu smile looking at the picture in his camera's screen (which meant he shot something which he liked).
We reached Mettur dam after a couple of stop overs to click. The water levels were pretty low thanks to the bad monsoons this time. A couple of interesting shots and we moved on towards the backwaters.
We spotted some E. maculatus and some awesome colored P. Conchonius here.
I almost nonchalantly asked Madhu "Macha pass the net here" to which he replied "What net ?? We did not carry anything!!". Just imagine two hardcore aquarists visiting water bodies and not carrying even a net :D
He went on to explain why he did not carry nets as the waters we were visiting were either too deep or too open to corner fish. We just smiled to each other knowing well that this would be a "view only" trip :)
Somehow seeing someone getting to be more of a photog was quite something. We really did not feel that we were missing out. (Part of it knowing well that I would take back the Suratensis from the LFS the next day :D )
We explored the backwaters of the Stanley reservoir, and went in search of the part where we could see some remnants of a submerged city (during the creation of the dam). We were able to catch a glimpse of a church, though the rest of the city was still submerged.
Watching the Indian roller in flight is quite a sight with the stunning amount of blues.
The sun was beating down now and was getting increasingly tough to not wet the camera's viewfinder with one's sweat. Sipping on some cold Sprite felt great! In fact Sprite was to be our saviour on both the days, helping us keep cool :D
We moved back to Mettur dam and enjoyed some nice freshly fried fish (with me having a difficult time with a fish bone stuck in my throat for some uneasy time!).
Done with lunch, we headed back to Salem with a few photo shoots along the way :)
Spotted some E. maculatus with fry and a tilapia mouth brooding.
the small black dots that you see are fry
And where there's water, there ought to be insects :)
A quick shower and some fishy talks later, we headed out for some snacks and to visit John's aquarium. Madhu treated me to some lip-smacking garlic snack, the taste was simply electric.
Retired to bed early all set to explore Yercaud the next day.
Another early rise and we were out on the curves of Yercaud (with it being a mere 30 Kms from Salem). The morning chill and the sights were lovely.
Tried clicking Madhu coming out of an Apex with some panning tries, and then moved onto some landscape shots.
Going further, we could feel the moisture in the air breathing deep felt very very nice. Clicked a few mosses and ferns growing on the roadside.
The sun peeping through the thick foliage made for some interesting photo-ops :)
Enjoying the landscapes of Yercaud with the cool breeze was soothing.
We moved on to a lesser known seasonal waterfall after some grub to help soothe the grumbling tummy (leaving early, the tummy demands breakfast early too!)
Madhu trying to pose :P
Clicked some nice ones here and then....the damn batteries exhausted..again !! Felt miserable there with the batteries gone (had been through the same feeling earlier during the Kannur trip to Kasargod too). Promised myself to buy some good set of batteries plus backup soon :)
It was nice n serene, explored the area for a bit and headed back to some "touristy spots", the Gents seat and the Ladies seat enjoying some raw mangoes and peanuts. We could see the mined hillocks of Dalmia magnasite from here along with most of Salem city.
Returned to Salem for some lip-smacking mouth-watering chicken to go with boiled rice. Gorged myself and waited for Gokul to arrive. A short talk later, picked up some fish from John's shop and Madhu dropped me off to the railway station.
Enjoyed traveling through the lush fields and hillocks, and reached back home by dinner time.
Thanks macha Madhu for the gorgeous hospitality and taking me around with a smile :)
A pat on the back for your bike too ;)
Adios till the next ride/trip.
Note: Delayed report after a looong time :)