Sivaraj – Boat driver
When you are taking one of our exciting boat safaris up the Kabini, eagerly anticipating the sighting of an elephant family, a basking crocodile or a painted stork swoop down upon a hapless fish, someone will point all these and more animals out to you long before you see them, even if you are sporting your most powerful binoculars. Our boat driver, Sivaraj, is a very unassuming man thinking no more of his outstanding sight as you may of your ability to drink a glass of water. He is a gifted pilot and navigator, intuitively steering us away from the submerged trees that stand petrified below the surface of the river like hidden sentinels waiting to ambush passing boats. This ability too he takes lightly, as you may your ability to read a wildlife encyclopedia.
Sivaraj hails from the village closest to our resort and is truly a man of many parts. He is an expert radio and television mechanic, a heavy vehicles driver and a knowledgeable farmer. As a youth he spent a few years in the port town of Mangalore piloting and maintaining a fishing boat. On his return to his village he started a television repair and spare parts shop that he ran successfully until a few years ago when falling TV prices forced people to think in terms of replacement over repair. When he heard that we were organizing boat safaris and needed a driver he was happy to sign up. He has taken to his work like a duck would take to water, to use an old but apt metaphor in our opinion.
He is, after all, our boatman from the village next door. Let him cruise you up and down the beckoning Kabini and sharp shoot for you with his eyes. It’s an experience you will bookmark for a long time to come.