velas: baby steps into the future

First Published at: livemint.com. Click the link to read the entire article and check out Mint’s Weekend Series on Fridays some great pieces curated by Supriya Sehgal. I’ll be putting up a few more articles on my Velas trip right here soon. Stay glued!

Weekend vacations: Turtle territory

Watch Olive Ridley turtles take their first steps into the sea

 

We left for the 1km-long beach at 6am, an hour before the scheduled release of the turtles. It’s a short distance from the village. The walk took us through dimly lit, cobbled lanes, across a tarred road, and on to a muddy path with paddy fields on one side. Past this stood a grove of casuarina trees, like a platoon of soldiers guarding the beach.

My friend and I began helping the volunteers to set up bollards to keep spectators out of the release zone. A patch free of footprints was chosen, for the hatchlings struggle in depressions. By 7am, the beach had started filling up with people.

Within the cordoned area, a lone cane basket lay covered with a burlap. A volunteer lifted the burlap, took out seven hatchlings, one by one, and placed them on the sand. Off they went to the sea, paddling as fast as their tiny flippers could take them. Each was the size of our palms. Usain Bolt, as one was promptly nicknamed, left the others behind. Two seemed lost and headed towards the spectators, who were clicking pictures furiously, before turning to the sea again.

The cheering got louder as one of the hatchlings overtook Usain Bolt. It stopped just before the water, and the crowd became quiet, waiting. The hatchling lurched forward, but was pushed back by a wave. A collective sigh escaped. The hatchling edged on, moving slowly through the cloggy sand, till another wave carried it into the water, to its home. The crowd clapped, happy. In those 20 minutes, we had felt we were part of that tiny turtle’s journey.

First Published at: livemint.com. Click the link to read the entire article and check out Mint’s Weekend Series on Fridays some great pieces curated by Supriya Sehgal.

 

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