A blog to Velas Turtle Festival by Renuka Nair
Yellow Bus to Velas
Midnight, traffic jams not withstanding, we exited Mumbai, the yellow bus takingus relentlessly toward our destination on the beach at Velas. The small village was already bustling with activity as the clans assembled to celebrate their annual festival. The lot of us proceeded on foot to the beach, where the activity was already in process, 20 young turtles had found their way out of their secluded nests buried in the cordoned off by the Friends of the Turtles.
The access to the beach is beautiful, with two concrete cattle gates, obviously used the gates, choosing instead to bypass them, followed by a quaint wooden log platform bridging the backwater creek , the narrow path surrounded by things of beauty, trees, water rippling quietly by fish and other water beings , the green paddy fields glistening in the early sun and the hills tapering down to the beach.
On the Beach, the Turtles.
The beach is on open cove with spits of sand interspersed with spits of sand, the farthest of which we hurried to as the young turtles were to be released to their new life from there.
And so the basket was opened ….the hatchling… 3 inch diameter beings released on the beach carefully by the handler. It is amazing how them lure of the sea has survived through the centuries as the tiny turtles scuttled unerringly in the direction of the sea, some of them turning around, as if imprinting these sands in their memory before waddling to the surf and disappearing into the wash.
We stood around for more than an hour, introductions were made all around and we were briefed about the life cycle of the Olive riddley turtles and the amazing sight we had just witnessed.
On to Velas , walking through the village, to a quick breakfast and rest before moving off Bankot fort.