Some good news poured in from Mumbai this week. Around 80 Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings were discovered at the city’s Versova Beach. The species had returned to their old nesting ground for the first time in 20 years!
This historic moment proves that conservation of habitats is crucial for the effective survival and propagation of many species.
If you missed the goings on in Versova, there’s still hope along the Arabian Sea coast. Velas, a small fishing village near Ratnagiri, is where this natural phenomenon can be closely observed while having a holiday in the lush Konkan region.
What’s the Big Deal?
Living in warm and tropical waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Olive Ridley turtles are one of nature’s most wonderful reptile species. These endangered sea turtles are known for nesting en masse on familiar beaches, which they return to every year.
Velas is one such beach on the west coast where you can witness this magnificent ritual of nature. Females born on this beach intuitively return here to lay eggs for the rest of their life! Isn’t that wonderful enough?
Usually hatching in about 50 days, young turtles amble slowly into the deep dark ocean without any assistance from their mothers, who are long gone after doing their business of laying eggs.
Tell Me More!
Velas hosts an annual turtle festival — currently underway and lasting till about end of April.
Local people and members of the NGO Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra manage travellers keen on observing this annual custom almost every weekend.
You can travel here by yourself and get in touch with ground operators for a personalised experience. Options include hopping onto a state transport bus or arriving by own car or motorcycle.
You can also sign up for an organised 2-day holiday package, which is highly affordable and recommended, especially for solo travellers.
Homestays in Velas offer comfortable local accommodation and food. The Konkan region’s famous seafood delicacies are a must-try. Weather during this period is also suitable for travel.
Stepping into a natural habitat requires you to be a non-intrusive traveller.
Respect Velas’ environment and do not disturb young hatchlings or turtle eggs. Throwing trash around, playing music, or dirtying the beach in any way is an absolute criminal act.
Watching hundreds of young turtles dive into the big bad sea alone is an emotional moment; keep napkins ready.
If you’ve got more time, choose to hike up to the ancient Bankot Fort or laze away at MTDC’s cosy chalets on the sublime Harihareshwar beach.
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