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    From learning the basics of water shiatsu to cooking crab, there’s more on offer in off-season Goa than just the monsoon

    Getaway1aMind the toque
    A few years ago, when Lucie Masson came to Goa with her boyfriend, she took one look at the crabs and decided to stay put. Thus came about the cooking sessions in her Portuguese heritage house, a little off Baga beach. So apart from the little boutique hotel, Siolim House, where you can stay, you can also learn to cook up some traditional fare with popular chef Jane, a caterer in the area, Aunty Lourdes, a resident of the house, and chef Anthony, the in-house chef. They conduct a 10 am trip to get you to choose fresh catch straight from one of the oldest fish markets in Goa. They also offer an evening session, minus the trip to the market. Popular recipes taught are chicken cafreal, fish caldinha and crab xec xec (the one Lucy originally fell for). `2,500 including market visit, `1,800 for evening sessions. At Siolim, Bardez District. Details: 09604887740
    Dance wave
    Watsu, or water shiatsu for the uninitiated, is a concept developed by Harold Dull, a US-based practitioner of Zen shiatsu, to help re-establish a balance between body and mind in water. Essentially a treatment that combines stretching and relaxation in warm water, together with light pressure on some acupressure points, it has been extended to an art form involving alternate movements of submergence and emergence.  WatsuGoa provides a full schedule of aquatic-based therapy sessions—though they have cut back on sessions this year due to renovations. The workshops will begin in full swing in 2015 and reservations are open now. Details: watsugoa.com
    Touchy topic
    Though still a few months away, we suggest you hurry to register for the quirky Contact Festival in Goa. A celebration of dance and artistic movement, it is a unique programme that blends somatics and contact improvisation, a dance technique in which points of physical contact provide the starting point for exploration through movement improvisation. The session, from January 27 to February 5, will see international dancers like Erika Kaufman from USA, Irene Sposetti from Italy, Johan Nilson from Sweden and Mirva Mäkinen, originally from Finland, host intensives, while other dancers from India, Norway, Sweden, Spain and Germany will have daily sessions. This will culminate in a dance performance on the final day. Set on the Arambol beach, you don’t have to worry if you’re not an expert, as they welcome amateurs, too. Don’t miss out on the nightly dance jams that take place in an outdoor marquee, beside the ocean, inspired with eclectic live musicians. Details: goacontactfestival.com
    Getaway6aShaken and stirred
    Sipping on a cocktail by the beach is fun enough, but gobananas.com teaches you to whip up your own concoctions. Guided by a professional mixologist, you can learn to make party pleasers as well as one signature drink based on your favourite spirit. You’ll be taught three different cocktails, its history and how to mix the right kind of drinks. Knowledge on different glassware, drinks and general terminology will be an added bonus. Some of the drinks you’ll be taught include Gin Sling, Cuba Libre, Daiquiri and Champagne-based cocktails. Details: 09895179947
    Strings attached
    Bringing in the true blue musician flavour of Goa, Chris Horton, originally from England, will help you create your own guitar. With no real set course dates, he is happy to give you a time of convenience, provided it suits him too. “There is a kind of minimalist approach to the way the workshop operates. This has a lot to do with the nature of the place,” he says, adding that it is a reflection of India as a country where craftsmen reign supreme. “A chisel has been an inspiration for me. Because of this, I mostly use simple hand tools. This gives us the ability to truly create an individual guitar, which imparts a character of your own, using the direct transformation of your own energy into the wood. I have designed the workshop to run over 15 days,” explains Horton. Taking on only four students per workshop, he charges $1,500 (`92,000 approximately) for crafting classical or steel string guitars. The price includes all materials, strings, tuning machines and a well-padded soft guitar case. Near Baga Beach.
    Details: jungleguitars.com

    Underwater world
    While in Goa, you might as well make
    the most of having the ocean in your backyard by getting yourself a diving license. Dive Goa, started by Ajey Patil—
    a marine engineer, naturalist, SSI
    (Scuba Schools International) and PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certified dive instructor—
    is a diveshop and training centre
    which customises schedules to suit
    your requirement. Taking on no more than five people per lesson, you can do various SSI and PADI courses. From open water lessons to rescue dives, you can get certified in these waters starting October (until May). There are sites with coral, rocky pinnacles and shipwrecks to dive, too. Prices start from `15,000 for certified courses and `5,000 for fun dives. At Panjim. Details: divegoa.com

    ­—Aakanksha Devi

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