India-paddling in Chilika Lake

Chilika lake is an amazing place to paddle, I only wish I could have spent more time there, realistically, I could have spent a month paddling around the lake visiting all the different villages.
So, I took an auto rickshaw direct from Puri, rs.450, pricey but I was in a hurry, I arrived to Satapada, the end of the road, from this point you can hire boats take a ferry or put in with ur raft. This lake is huge!!! after visiting the visitors center I had a better idea of what I could do with the 2 days I had to spend there, no great distances covered but plenty of amazing wild life. I saw all kinds of migratory birds and more than the normal tourists share of Irrawady dolphins.
I put in at the fishing jetty in Satapada, and paddled west,the lake is challenging to navigate until you figure out how it is laid out, there is a labyrinth of bamboo polls with tiger shrimp nets hung between them. The shrimp nets come far out in all directions from the land with shallow water surrounding them. I was struggling for a while trying to follow the coast, but getting trapped in a maze of shrimp nets and bottoming out in mud. I eventually came up with the bright idea to paddle over to where I saw many boats, where, I discovered there are deep water channels running thru the net mazes. These channels serve as thoroughfares for the fishermen who come out to check their nets. They access the different sections of nets this way then hop off the boat and check them for shrimp. I found that as long as I could see open water I was on a good track, even if I was heading in what seemed to be the wrong direction, I knew there would be another channel leading to where I wanted to go, it was like a bunch of detours. Because this took the better part of the first day to discover, I decided to cancel my original plan and paddle to the last bit of land I could see towards the north west, and stay there for the night. It turned out to be a tiny island occupied by some friendly local fishermen, about 15 guys living in small shacks and on their boats, I camped here and had tea with the guys. Early the next morning I paddled back past Satapada heading for the mouth to the ocean. I took out at a small sand bar by the mouth, where I was welcomed by locals, who then tried to over charge me for the 2 beers I drank, but I got the price down to semi normal, haha, be careful here, I found more “hustlers” around this lake than other places in India. After working out a fair price, I then hitched a ride back on a tourist boat with a local family from Tata. They were all too happy to hear about my adventures and gave me some more beer and some tobacco, nice folks. One other thing I saw that I really liked were the make shift sail boats, I will post one vid of some kids putting up a sail made out of trash bags, it was totally awesome, and it worked too!
I made it back in time to catch the bus back to Puri. Short trip in 2 days but the wild life was so worth it, and I am now inspired to come back and plan a long trip all around the lake. I got no good dolphin pics as I am shooting with an ipod but I saw plenty. All in all my time here in India was good, I am now back in Kolkata waiting for my flight back to Thailand, I am going to try to make it back to India for the surf fest, Ill keep posting either way, ALOHA!

This was roughly my path, minus all the pain in the ass mud and shrimp net bs, ha!

This is an example of the shrimp nets-

This is a view from inside the channel, you can actually see different ways to go clearly-

One hell of a place man, I am def going back!

trash bag sailors- (BAD ASS!!)-