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A locally owned houseboat trip in Kerala

The Goodearth houseboat, owned and operated by locals, offers a rare glimpse of an unspoilt corner of the Keralan backwaters – and pours its profits into the community

I took a deep lungful of air and dived through the thick brown water to the river bed, clawing blindly at the sticky mud. The swift current was dragging me downstream, and my lungs began to burn. Finally, I felt a smooth round shape in the slime. I shot to the surface and proudly held my prize aloft.

Watching children on the bank just giggled. The boat cook didn’t look impressed either. Mussels, not pebbles, were on the dinner menu.

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