If the idea of supporting local conservation efforts while enjoying lesser-known destinations along the Konkan coast sounds appealing, then join Mumbai Travellers’ overnight Turtle Festival trips to visit the sea-side villages of Velas (April 14, 15 and 22) and Anjarle (April 22). At dawn and dusk, you will be taken to the beaches to see baby turtles being released from the hatcheries. As the sun rays warm their bodies, the hatchlings make a run for the sea. If only minutes ago they seemed incapable of any movement, they now make a headlong rush to meet the surf, which they know will take them to their pelagic home.
Located within 250 km from Mumbai, these villages have been actively participating in saving Olive Ridley turtles that come to nest at the nearby beaches. Even though Olive Ridley populations are quite large–at least among other sea turtles–an and in many places across the world, the Olive Ridley turtles (also known as the Pacific Ridley turtles) have been tagged ‘endangered’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. Some of the biggest threats faced by the turtles are habitat loss, predators, and fishing trawlers. The female turtles turn up at the Konkan beaches to lay eggs and then leave. To keep the eggs safe, local environmentalists gather these eggs scattered all over the beach and place them in well-guarded hatcheries. As the hatchlings break open the egg-shells, they are released at dawn and dusk. Visitors are invited to watch the release of the hatchlings from a distance.
Mumbai Travellers’ Velas trip is priced at â‚¹2,999 per head and the Anjarle trip is priced at â‚¹3,499 per head. Package costs include transportation to and from Mumbai, local transportation, accommodation and veg meals, etc. Apart from the Turtle Festival, the trip to Velas also includes visits to Bankot Fort and Harihareshwar while the trip to Anjarle includes visits to Suvarnadurg, and some popular temples, Kadywarcha Ganpati, Shree Keshavraj (Vishnu) and Shree Vyaghreshwar (Siva).