Trek Polamaa 3, March 10-11

Monday, March 12, 2012

Write-up compiled from a few participants -

Find below also the contact details and presentation links of guest speakers (few pending).

Video coverage of the event and presentations will be shared shortly.

More elaborate versions of some of the workshops (first aid, mountaineering, maps & GPS, ham radio, .... ) will be organized in the coming months.



What could make an active outdoor adventure team sit through an entire day glued to their seats? 

Yeah , it is Trek Polama 3 !!!

Topics like Marathon training, Conservation, Sea Surfing , Mountaineering, Rope knots , Photography, Snakes  to mention a few, were the varied topics that were covered during the day.

Saturday , Morning Session :

Peter Van Geit kicked off TP3 with an overview of CTC’s history, 4th birthday and various outdoor, social and environment related activities

Balaji Vijaykrishnan from the Indian Aquarium Hobbyist club, resumed with a nice overview of the freshwater fish diversity of South India. He went over the biological classification, discovery and naming and different types of fishes showing illustrations of the most common species.


Member Ganga presented an overview of the environmental awareness initiatives, clean up drives and no-pollution guidelines in CTC.
He was followed by Dharma Chandru, wildlife photographer, who enthralled the audience with beautiful photos of more then 60 waterfalls in Tamil Nadu.

Next was a presentation on Animal Welfare by Dawn Williams elaborating on the various government laws related to protection and handling of animals and several cruel violations he encountered in various places in the state. His friend Ravichandra talked about the various dog and cat adoption drives and was accompanied by “black beauty” who was looking for a new owner.

Saturday , Afternoon Session :

The afternoon session began with young at heart Anand Anathraman[60+] who talked about marathon running and training required, barefoot running essentials, running surface and even some interesting tips on the diet for runners. The listeners seemed to enjoy his experience his inter continental experiences and the his training experiences definitely seemed to inspire more people to take up long distance running which clearly came out in the marathon of questions he faced from the audience after his speech. 


Gayatri, CTC member, gave a recount of her experiences as a girl in various CTC treks and invited more women and participate in outdoor activities.

This was followed by Showkath Jamal's presentation on snakes which had colourful pictures of snakes in their natural habitats, ways to identify them, do and don’ts of handling a bite, common fatal mistakes that people may make along with very practical tips to handle snakes with ease. It was scary for some of us who don’t expect to see snakes in their everyday lives and hope not to see them in the future too. After this was followed by an exciting presentation and video of Sea surfing, stand up paddle in Chennai. 

Melagiris, a little known part of western ghats took the front stage next presented by Sanjeev Kumar, president of Kenneth Anderson Nature Society who showed us the landscape and talked much in detail about the human elephant conflict and the dangers it poses to the society around it. 

Dr. Babu of Nizhal covered on the water eco systems in and around Chennai. It was surprising that the weeds and the sand dunes that we so often ignore in the beaches play a crucial role in the eco system and may even be a natural protective mechanism against the Tsunamis. The awareness that it gave to the participants on what we see in every day life and ignore, and what we can do about it.


The session on Mountaineering by Sujai Karthik, in spite of the audience being avid trekkers, gave so much information on various kinds of trekking like hiking, rappelling, rock climbing, snow craft and many useful tips on the safety techniques to be followed during a trek. The most useful tips were on how to prepare for a trek.  His close encounters with wild side of nature were mind blowing. His experiences in Himalayan climbing inspired many more to follow his steps to reach those breathtaking peaks.

Nagin's session on rope knots left people tied to their seats. Different techniques of knots, what need to be used when and how were pretty useful for the crowd, although it definitely is not as easy Nagin made it look like and for sure needs practice and intuition to be able to do the way he did it.

Photography basics was the last session of the day1 and no one seemed to be in any hurry to move. Karthik Rajagopal helped decipher a number of jargons and made it understand with lucid examples and of course colourful pictures.  Karthik helped break the myth that we need huge, heavy costly cameras to take great pics.  His tips to purchase cameras, photography techniques, and the importance of capturing not just motion but emotions was captivating to say the least...


Sunday , Morning Session :

Day 2 started with a powerful speech by Colin Stevenson, Conservationist and Director of the Crocodile Bank. He illustrated the evolution of the species and the various biological features of this ancient species and distribution across the world.

Thilak, CTC’s social pillar, presented an overview of the various social initiatives in the club.

It was followed by a very good talk about the YHAI movement by Venkat Narayanan, the National Chairman of YHAI. Details about the origins of the movement, the need to have Youth Hostels and how one can utilize its support were clearly explained. When asked if there was any age limit to join the YHAI , “ Only the age at heart matters “ was the reply.

Dr. Arun Kumar highlighted the importance of first aid and more importantly what and how to do when a mishap happens during a trek. It was a very useful session covering CPR, wounds, cramps, snake & insect bites, blisters, fractures, dehydration, etc. He finished with a list of must-carry items in any first aid kit.


The importance of taking photos of different species [flora and fauna ] during a trek was highlighted well by Amogh ,Wildlife photographer . After all, a new species of jelly fish , even a snake may be named after you !!! He also illustrated how frogs are indicators of important changes to the biosphere they live in.

Sunday , Afternoon  Session :

Mr. Anand Joseph, Herpetologist ,took the audience for a toss by sharing his close encounters with the wild. He highlighted many facts and misfacts about snakes. Topics like How to handle a snake bite victim ? How anti venom is prepared ? Why many private hospital do not treat snake bite victims / were covered extensively.

Then came the icing on the cake . A few lucky volunteers were called forward and were given a chance to directly interact with Mr. Rat Snake and Mr. Bronzeback.


Aishwarya, CTC member, discussed the challenges and reservations of women towards becoming trekkers. She announced the formation of an active women group in CTC to discuss related issues and come up with more initiatives by and for women.

This was followed by a talk on Turtle Conservation by Arun from SSTCN. Arun illustrated the different turtle species found in the world and their biological features. He then focused on the Olive Ridley frequently found in India and it’s slow demise.

You go for treks into the forest.  In the current rate, in 25 years, you won’t have these forest to trek into. This is because of careless people, uneducated public, a forest dept. staff who’s average age is 52 and many other reasons. The problems faced by the forests in the Nilgiris Biosphere were clearly highlighted with a root cause analysis by Prof. CR Jayaprakash, conservationist.  The role that CTC has to play for helping in nature conservation was also clearly mentioned.



Anil, 11 years young, shared his experiences of participating in CTC’s environmental awareness initiatives including the recent Chennai Coastal Cleanup.

CTC founder, Peter Van Geit, followed with his workshop on how he was able to form CTC , GPS/map Reading and creating your own path.  This was a very useful session for wannabe trekkers and navigators alike.

The day ended with Aravind Balasubramanian , CTC member introducing the crowd to HAM Radio, How  it can be used? Where to learn about it ? How to get a license?

Photos taken at venue -


Thanks to our main sponsor Chariot Beach Resorts from Mahabs to covering the majority of our expenses to organize TP3. Please visit their web site and browse through the various outdoor adventure activities they provide for personal and corporates.

big thanks to Mr. Kannan and Mrs. Preetha, the owners of the venue for kindly sharing their rooftop for organizing this year's TP event. 

We presented all guest speakers with a Trek Polamaa memento as well as a bird feeder which will help our little friends to find food in our concrete jungles -

Bird Feeders, NF, Bird Feeder 

We welcome your feedback on the event, organization, speakers and sessions - 



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