Trekking through the Sundarbans

19 February 2007

Over the past three days we have travelled, mainly by boat, around the Sundarbans which is a world heritage site and the home of about 250 tigers. The islands are located off the West Bengal bay. We have experienced extreme weather conditions ranging from monsoon rain to glorious sunshine.

We have been visiting various reserves around the islands trying to catch a glimpse of some of the exotic animals that India has to offer. On our adventure we have seen a great variety of animals ranging from the spotted deer to crocodiles and many of the unusual and colourful birds that have all made their home in the Sundarbans.

Our accommodation is not the Fairlawn but nonetheless it is warm and comfortable as tents go! Unfortunately we have not seen any tigers but we understand this is not unusual.

In the evenings we have had the pleasure of sitting around a warm camp fire and taking in the Bengali atmosphere.

This morning our guide took us on a tour of some of the local villages located around the Sundarbans. We first went by boat to a small primary school and then hiked back to our accommodation walking through local villages seeing how self sufficient the people were. As we were watching and furthering our knowledge of the lives of people who live in the Sundarbans we were able to get a feel for the Bengali culture. Furthermore we were given a further insight into the many cultural differences between India and England, some of which can only be seen and understood by experiencing it first hand, which we have had the privilege of being able to do.

We have now returned to the Fairlawn for our penultimate night in India. It is Shane’s Birthday so we are off to celebrate Indian style!

Tomorrow we are off to visit Brother Gaston at his ashram. He is a highly inspirational man and has been the motivation behind many of the charities we have visited including the Asha Bhavan Centre, a home for physically challenged children. We look forward to reporting back tomorrow with news of how our final day in India went.


Kathy O'Brien

@ 4415 days ago

Hi Siobhan and all you wonderful trekkers.
It sounds absolutely fantastic. What can I say, wonderful, brilliant, exciting, there doesn’t seem any more words to say.
A big and special hello to Shane I hope you had a wonderful 18th birthday – you certainly look like you are enjoying yourself. I hope your presents were not too embarrassing, I’m not sure what the others presented you with, but I did see Siobhan’s. Quite appropriate considering you were in the home of the big cats!!!!! Have a wonderful night. Our thoughts are with your mum, dad and Shannon at home without you.
Siobhan how did you manage to trek – isn’t that harder than walking – you’ll be putting yourself up for the public version of I’m a celebrity get me out of here next – seriously though we are all proud of you and all the group. You have done so much and I’m sure you have got an awful lot out of it. The pictures look fantastic, I felt very deprived over the weekend not being able to catch up. Don’t know what I’ll do with my life when you get back.
I bet it was a surprise to get the message from Granny & Grandad Walls. It certainly shocked me when I saw it this morning.
Bye for now, lots of love, hugs and kisses. Mum xxXXxxXX

Allyson O'Grady

@ 4415 days ago

Hi Liz

The trip around the Sunderbans sounds really exciting, but I’m quite relieved you didn’t see any tigers! You all seem to have coped really well and the pictures and commentary have been brilliant. I hope you have video footage of the Macarena and Saturday Night, I’d pay to see that!

We’re looking forward to Wednesday.

Mum & Dad

Mr Sweeney

@ 4415 days ago

Hello to all of you.
It seems as if you have all been having a very special and spiritual experience on your travels which I am sure will remain with you for manys years to come.
Enjoy the remaining time you have left. We wish you all a safe journey home and are looking forward to hearing about many more of the memorable ‘once in a lifetime experiences’ that you have shared.
Take care and may God bless you all.
Mr. Sweeney

barbara & peter oliver

@ 4415 days ago

hello everyone probably my last msg-think by the time i get home from work tomorrow you’ll be on your way home? have a most wonderful last day- cant wait to hear about all your experiences and the most amazing sights and ways of life that seem worlds apart from ours. sorry its a bit late shane but wishing you a very happy birthday i’m sure its like no other birthday ever and being 18 to! fancy not seeing even one tiger! thinking of you all as always lots of love and wishing you a safe and exciting journey home! kat’s mum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx love from dad to he’s so proudxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


@ 4414 days ago

happy birthday my dear Shane!!
I’m sure Devlin and Weldon are showing you a good time
but when you come back we’re def celebrating it properly!
x x x

Danny Risdon

@ 4414 days ago

Happy Birthday Shane!!! Don’t party too hard! Hope to see everyone else back at school soon – I’ll be back having fun there tomorrow woo!


@ 4414 days ago

Happy birthday Shane, party hard u all deserve it. Shame u didn’t get see any tigers but like you said you saw loads of other lovely exotic animals. I’m sure you’re all really sad to be leaving, it feels like you’ve been away for ages. The pictures look amazing and we’re looking forward to hearing all of you’re stories about the things you’ve done and the people you’ve met.

Come back safe.
Matt x

Carol,Mick & Shannon Normoyle

@ 4414 days ago

Hi Shane and the gang,
I don’t know if you got our birthday messages we left on Fridays daily update, but if you didn’t we want to say HAPPY HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY to you Shane, we are sending loads and loads of love for your special day. It was lovely to speak to you today although it was brief. It sounds like you had a fantastic weekend in the Sunderbans, the pictures look amazing. Hope you had a brilliant night and didn’t overdo it and embarrass yourself?! If you did I want to see those photos! Hi Shane, this is Shannon speaking. HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY! When you get home I will give you a proper hug and kiss. I hope you don’t get to drunk. Lots and lots of love from Shannon!!
Aunty Diana, Kirsty and Jessica send all their love and can’t wait to see you,
Love Mum, Dad and Shannon xXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxX


@ 4414 days ago

Hi Grace
Wot No Tigers!!!
Sounds fascinating all the same, I didn’t realise that you were going to travel all round the Sunderban.
Hope Shane enjoyed his special birthday and that you all helped him!!
I umpired for your netball team tonight – yes they were desperate, they played Phoenix – shall we say the least said the better!!!
Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday, James will be at home to welcome you – he’s still struggling with his work.
Have a great last day and come home safely. Tom has been working hard and says Hi.

Can’t wait to see all the pictures and hear about the trip.

Lots of love, God bless,

Mum & Dad xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Francie and JJ O'Shea

@ 4414 days ago

Hi Neal X, everybody and of course the birthday boy – OK you can have one too X!
So here we are almost at the end – and I say ‘we’ because through the website I really feel we’ve been with you on your once in a lifetime trip. Thank you so much for doing it. Hope you can post one last photo of all of you together tomorrow for the record books.
Shane that cake looks suspiciously like one from Costco – so that was what was in Mrs Weldon’s enormous red suitcase.
Everybody, we are so proud of you all – for the fundraising, for the heart you put in to the trip, for hopefully the difference you’ve made. It has been a thought provoking journey of great adventure, fun, spiritual growth, and awe.
Now that you’re heading home, we can admit how much we missed you and can’t wait to see you all back on Wed.
Safe Journey and I’m sure you’ll all be bringing a little bit of India in your hearts forever,
Lots of love
Mum and Dad xx xx and Kevin too XX

I think I will get the hang of this blog business and you’ll be booking slots on the PC in future Neal.

Mrs Dyt

@ 4414 days ago

How wonderful to read about and see your adventures. God bless and safe journey home.
Mrs Dyt

Kathy O'Brien

@ 4414 days ago

Hi Siobhan, hi guys and gals,
Well you are now well into your last day in India and what a trip it has been, not only for you but for all of us as well. It’s almost as if we have been there with you. Its been absolutely fantastic and something which will stay with you for the rest of your lives. Savour your last day and come back safe and sound.
If you have any Indian money left make sure you change it up before you leave as you will not be able to do it back in the UK.
Can’t wait until tomorrow when we see you at the airport – and yes Siobhan I will cry, buckets and buckets. I must remember to put on the waterproof mascara!!
Well guys if you get a chance – one last photo and diary for today and that will be that. It will be an early night (if you are getting any sleep) and then off to the airport really early, but of course early mornings are the norm for you now – no more excuses to Miss Devlin for being late!!!
Back to school on Thursday and enthuse all the others in the sixth form to raise even more money for Udayan.
Love to you all and special hugs and kisses for Siobhan, can’t wait to see you darling. All our love – Mum, Dad and Ciaran xxXXxxXXxx


@ 4414 days ago

sounds like another amazing day.
good to see the fickle english weather followed you!

take care
love BELL

ps; nice hat neal.