The boat takes off, as your guide tried to set the sail, the sun mesmerizingly makes the sea glisten, as the little sea creatures bounce and swim around. You try and free through the glass of your boat, right beneath you an exciting marine life seems to be hopping around- it is like the calm water is hiding bustling energy beneath it. The fishes swim around as if trying to greet you, and everything in the world seems fine.
Such is the feeling of being at the miraculous Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park. Located in Tamil Nadu, this national park, unlike others focuses on the life below the water. It shows us a realm which is usually hidden from us most of the time. It is also said to be one of the richest biospheres concerning marine life. Interestingly this was also the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in entire Southeast Asia, making it so much more special and important.
Once you are inside this arena, you will realise that it is made up of different islands- there are about 21 islands. All of these islands are stunning and unique in their way. However, most of the islands are so far away from the urbane life, that they are still uninhabited.
What will impress you in this park, is the sheer variety of marine species that have been preserved here. Full of colours and vibrancy, these animals come alive right in front of your eyes at this park.
You will not just find different kinds of fishes, but also corals- that have all the shades of a rainbow, active polyps, and beautiful underwater flowers that just make this place more alluring. You will also find lusciously green seagrass just wavering with the motion of the water, and mangroves just dipping themselves slightly into the water. It has been estimated that a total number of 3600 species of flora and fauna have made this their own. There are also parts of this deep blue sea that are still to be explored and remained uncharted.
Among the various sea animals you will encounter, here are some that are the most common- Sponges, Turtles, Pearl Oysters, Sea Cucumbers, Dolphins, Seahorses, Barracuda, Herrings, and Whales- among whales, you can also find the largest mammal on the Earth- the Blue Whale right over here. If you are looking for some colour among the deep azure waters then look out for fishes like Butterflyfish, Parrotfish, Clownfish, Snappers, and Squirrelfish- all of these are coloured in all shades of nature’s palette.
If you are all about the coral life, then head over to the Mandapam island, which is known to be the home of 112 species of brightly coloured hard corals.
To enjoy all of these magnificent waters, just head on to a glass-bottomed boat, and let the sea life unfold in front of you.
This mystical national park offers much more than just staring at the immense marine life while sailing on tranquil and pristine waters. There are some places near the park, which you can visit and get the most out of your visit.
Side Note: You must take permission from the forest department before entering the park. You can also only enter this park by a glass-bottomed boat.
You can also spot all kinds of unique sea creatures here, so keep your eyes open.
You can volunteer at this park, and make an effort to converse the environment and the brimming water life. Many marine research centres have popped up in this area. This greatly helps in the development and conservation of these marine animals.