I, being from Cochin, have been for harbor cruises many times and i have always felt that the best and the most interesting way to explore Cochin is by water. The backwaters and its islands has always added beauty to the Queen of the Arabian Sea – Cochin. It gave a favorable Harbor and a natural port for Cochin since early centuries.
Cochin is divided into two, one is the old part of Cochin which was once the hub of the colonial powers and the prime center of spice trade. The other being the new commercial center also referred to as Ernakulam city. The Vembanad lake that you see in Cochin, extends through out the districts of Kottayam, Alleppey and Ernakulam. The expanse is very wide and large making it one of the distinct water worlds on Earth.
Cochin is made of many small and big islands on Vembanad lake (backwaters). The cochin shipyard, The container terminal, the Naval Base, the coast guards, the oil runners, the fishing trawlers, cargo ships, and the Chinese fishing nets are all part of the Cochin backwaters. A Harbor cruise is the best way to explore Cochin by water. The Vypin islands, Fort Cochin, Wellington Island and the Bolgatty island occupy the Vembanad lake in Cochin.
The new part of the city is identified by a concrete jungle of residential flats and a commercial high raised building. There is a marine drive where lot local people spend their evenings, most harbor cruises from the city starts from here. Boat transfers are very common to the islands and there is a pretty good volume of people using boats to commute to Ernakulam and Fort Cochin. The Kerala state water transport corporation (KSWTD) has lot of boats plying through the water routes.
A lot of ships are docked loading or unloading cargo. the container terminal which has four major cranes could be spotted from anywhere because of its height. The recently opened terminal has a lot ships docked by loading and unloading containers. This is located at Valarpadam, where there are few fishing harbors. In the morning, these places become wholesale markets for sea food.
The beauty of the Harbor cruise is when you reach the mouth of the sea at Fort Cochin, particularly if you are in the evening. The sunset will always be an enchanting sight at the sea mouth with the background of the Chinese fishing nets. Fort Cochin has a lot of old colonial buildings and warehouses which were once the spice houses and auction centers. There are boat Jettys and fuel stations for boats at Fort Cochin. Ferry service connecting Fort Cochin and the Vypin island is very frequent.
Written by Benjamin John