Break at Bankot Fort.
If the turtles of Velas point out the wonder of nature, then the vantage point of the Bankot fort points to the perseverance of man, his view of the sea as a haven , guarding from safety.
Commanding views of the Arabian sea, the small fort, 52nd on Shivaji Maharajs conquests, is not large, easily accessible the ruins proved, for us a perfect place to browse around, doing nothing but taking in the beauty of the view sloping down to the bay and the ancient fort. Across the bay, the hills beyond which we must travel the next morning to Hari Hareshwar beckoned.
Turtle Mania continues with Syncro jumping, handstands and Friends of the Turtles after Sunset.
And so we returned to a leisurely lunch and more relaxation before running back to the beach to see some more tiny hatchlings make their new life. This time we were right on time to see the turtles push their way through to the sand from their nests, helped again into baskets for their final journey to the edge of the beach.
The sun set was cheerful, the count of 26 hatchlings a constant refrain on our lips as we lazed on the sunset Velas beach.
The group assembled again after dark in the village to view the documentary on the work of rescuing the turtle hatchlings undertaken by the villagers here, the project designed to include the entire village community into the conservation effort.
Morning trip to Hari Hareshwar
The trip to Harihareshwar was anticlimactic after one more visit to see the young turtles ( 7 this time), and we were sad to leave. Only the ferry rid across to Hari Hareshwar cheered us up and the group walked into the temple premises and walked around the rocks on the edge of the bay. It was low tide but the waves still thundered and lashed the outcrop of land, the erosion through the centuries evident on the rocky faces.
Lunch again and a drive back to Mumbai, punctuated by Antakshari and coffee break….at the end of it all….the sight of the turtles waddling off to sea, such a rare sight, occurring in so few places across the globe, truly were were privileged.
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