2001-03-23 in Kannyakamuri, India
The Deep South of India

We left Cochin on a bright sunny day, fought our way through the crowds and headed further south towards the tip of India.

About 80 kms into this sortie we encountered another one of Keralaís finest. This time some old Gomer on a Honda Kinetic scooter decided, after seeing me, that the best place to park his scooter was directly in my path. Another accident. Does Kerala get any better? So, all the usual then? We had another laughing policeman accompanied by a wonderfully chuckling-in-unison-crowd! So after promising to make my way to the police station, we kept going on towards Varkala Beach. Did I forget to mention that the offending scooter was perfectly bisected with a wheel on either side of the road? Poetic justice. (In case you are wondering, the Gomer was too busy giggling to be bothered by any injuries.)

As we turned off the highway towards Varkala we spotted Kushi and Ayah, two really brilliant Enfield Bullet driving Israeli travellers. We decided to drive in to town together (this set the tone of the next few days). The next morning Kushi, Ayah, Tiran and Gali (two more Israeli Enfield maniacs) and Ariella and I headed to Kannyakamuri (aka Cape Comorin, the tip of India). Well I certainly learned how lucky I was to be driving a Beemer. Over a distance of 150 kms Tiranís Bullet managed to break down 3 times!! On the final occasion I stuck one of my BMW badges on his petrol tank, this seemed to fix the problem!

Kannyakamuri was not to be disappointing. We arrived at a small beach and persuaded the local fishermen to take us for a sunset cruise. First let me begin by saying that the design of fishing boats in this part of the world hasnít changed in about 5000 years (bar, of course, the addition of an outboard motor). The boat is essentially three logs held together by pieces of twine. Not the ideal transport for 7 (a Japanese chap joined us for the ride) tourists and a fisherman. After crashing through the surf and being entirely waterlogged before getting out of the bay we settled into a beautiful cruise. Watching the sun set at the tip of India was very special for us, as the majority of us had driven at least 5000kms to get here!

The next day we woke at 5:30 am to watch the sun rise over the ocean (this is the only place in India where the sun rises and sets on the ocean). After a chai and photo opportunity we headed back to Varkala beach for a bit of R+R.

Fatefully this break in Varkala led to the meeting of Benka Pulko, an absolute maniac/gem. Benka has been riding her BMW F650 around the world for the last four years. She has visited five continents (including Antarctica!) and is busy finishing Asia before she ships her bike to Cape Town, where my family will ensure she is in good hands. To recount some of the stories she has told me would make both sailors and hard-as-nails-adventurers blush with equal measure. It is at times like this that I really feel there is some powerful force behind all motorcycle adventurers that draws us together! LONG LIVE BENKA PULKO!!! (www.ardi.si/benka)

Readers Take Note: Benka has acquired 45 sponsors along the way, so anyone looking to help out should make their cheques payable to MR C Ash, Guernsey account details available upon request. Seriously, if anyone knows a company (or individual) that would like their name associated with an around the world journey please give them my details.

Yesterday we put the bike on a riverboat and went for a breathtaking 8-hour cruise of backwaters of Kerala. (See picture) and arrived SAFELY in Cochin for one more night before heading to Munnar in the hills.

Israeli tough guys and me

What every sunset should look like

Followed by every sunrise

The only way to travel!

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