Velas Turtle Festival 2016

 

 

Maharashtra is blessed with 720 kms long coastline. Shared with Konkan, Thane, and Ratnagiri also Sindhudurg districts. Many marine creatures come visit. However, the exact count and type are unknown. As from what is believed there is not a detailed study available. In the year 2000-01, it was found that a species of turtle, Olive Ridley is a prominent visitor to the shores of Maharashtra for breeding purposes. Other species are the Green Turtle, Hawksbill and the Leatherback. A lot of the other information is already available online, like what does turtles eat, how a turtle looks like. The difference between a turtle, tortoise and a terrapin.

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 Why Velas?

Velas is a small fishing village on the western coast of Maharashtra. About 220 kms away from Mumbai, a little over a hundred houses on the coast of the Arabian Sea. It is that time of the year again - when a tiny grey head pokes out of the golden sand and takes a breath of the fresh salty air of the Arabian Sea. It is a culmination of a lengthy process, which started when, under the cover of darkness, it’s mother emerged out from the rolling waves to lay her heap of 100-120 eggs on the sandy beach. Oblivious to the world that awaits it outside it’s sandy cocoon, the tiny hatchling is soon followed by a hundred others, all crawling their way towards the brightest lights of the horizon- in this case, the sea. TreksandTrails, India invites you to this journey from the nest to the sea which draws oohs and aahs from tourists - each of whom is gathered on the shore to witness this miracle of Nature. The location is Velas, a remote village in Mandangad taluka in Ratnagiri district approx. a 6 hour drive from Mumbai.
Important Note:
Hatchling sighting is not guaranteed.
Maximum batch size is 25 travellers on first come first basis.
Travel by private non A/C vehicle. Pick up and Drop at centralized locations only.
Event Introduction and Summary:
Difficulty Level: Easy Level
Endurance Level: Low
Food Arrangement: Homestay with Veg food already arranged
Transport: Travel by same private vehicle for the entire tour,
Height of Bankot fort: 500 ft
Base Village: Velas
Taluka: Mandangad 
District: Ratnagiri
Region: Konkan
Route from Pune: Pune – Banner – Khopoli - Velas
Route from Mumbai: Mumbai - Panvel - Mahad - Loner phata - Velas
Distance from Mumbai: 220 km approx.
Distance from Pune: 195 km approx.
Total time required for climbing: None
Total distance for climbing: None
Minimum participants required: 6
Maximum participants: 24
Trek Leader: Rajesh Mhaddalkar
Duration: 2 days 2 Nights
Cost: Rs 2300.00
Event dates:

01 - 02 - 03 April 2016

08 - 09 - 10 April 2016

15 - 16 - 17 April 2016

22 - 23 - 24 April 2016 


Event FAQ as below:

What is the event plan and itinerary?
Day 0: Friday
Meeting at Pritam Dhaba Dadar East 22:45
Departure from Pritam Dhaba: 23:00
Chembur Diamond garden pickup 23.30
Vashi below main bridge pickup at 00.15
Panvel ST Depot pickup 00:30 (Pune Participants)
Day: 1 Saturday
Itinerary - Saturday
04:00 Early morning arrival at Velas.
06:00 Visit to Velas beach for turtle sighting
08:00 Breakfast
10:30 Visit to Bankot fort
13:00 Lunch & Rest
17:00 Visit to beach for turtle sightings
20:00 Dinner and rest
Day 2 - Sunday
06:00 Visit to Velas beach for turtle sighting.
08:00 Breakfast
10:30 Depart for Harihareshwar temple from Velas village
13:00 Lunch
14:30 Departure for Mumbai from Harihareshwar temple
23:00 Approx. arrival at Dadar – Mumbai.
Inclusions:
• Accommodation in a typical Konkani homestay /dormitory.
Saturday: 1 veg breakfast, 1 Veg Lunch, 1 Veg Dinner
Sunday: 1 Veg breakfast, 1 Veg Lunch
• Sightseeing as per the schedule if any.
• Expertise, guide charges and TreksandTrails, India administration charges if any.
• Ferryboat charges. All entry tickets and permissions. Provision of primary first aid only.
Exclusion:
Non Veg Food, Camera or photography charges if any.
Dinner on Friday and Sunday not included.
Mineral water and any other item not mentioned in the inclusions list.
Cancellation Policy
  1. 50 % refund if notified via phone conversation 3 days prior to the event date
  2. No refund if the cancellation requested is less than 3 days. 
  3. No show No Refund.
Rules:
Smoking and drinking alcohol is strictly prohibited. Telephonic confirmation is mandatory. If unable to contact, send a text message. Group leader decision will be final and binding. This is a group activity. Treks and Trails India reserves all the right to change/deviate/cancel the plans without prior notice.
List of things required:
Haversack to keep hands free. Please carry a personal photo ID proof. Water Bottle 3 lts. Please carry a personal sweater (optional) extra bed sheets. A good torch and extra batteries. Camera (Optional), Personal medicines. Please avoid wearing Gold and other costly jewellery (at own risk). Electoral or GluconD powder and some ready to eat snacks & biscuits. Wear good trekking shoes, beachwear footwear, floaters, and a extra pair of clothes.

Remember:
• It is a conservation site visit and not a picnic.
• No plastic, don't litter or shout when the turtles are released.
• Wear sensible clothes, although it is a beach the locals are conservative and might take offence at beach attire suitable elsewhere.
• The route to the beach passes through a dirt track built over the mangroves, in the evenings it gets pitch dark and there are no street lights. Do carry a torch with you for such emergencies.
• Photography should be WITHOUT FLASH only.
Velas Turtle FestivalBlog by Adya
TreksandTrails, India sincerely appreciates the great efforts been undertaken by local NGO - Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra, as they have borne fruit since 2002, each year all the nests on the western coast at Velas, Murud, Harnai, Dapoli and other sites are carefully protected and conserved to ensure both natural and human threats are reduced. All the eggs laid on the beach are collected and placed in a common hatchery which is barricaded from all sides and is guarded throughout the day. Average eggs laid by a female turtle is 100. The incubation time required for these eggs is between 50 – 55 days. 
Once the emerging of the hatchling begins, their moments creates small depression in the sand, these mark increase as the days go by. Thus experts can then determine the activity in the nest. One the hatchling emergence from the nest, it’s very important to release it into the sea. Hence each morning at 07:00 and evening at 17:30 - 18:00 the baskets covering the lid are open to check if any turtles have hatched if they have they are counted and carefully laid in another basket and taken closer to the sea. They are then gently placed on the sand and they slowly make their way to the water. Their first baby steps are not only endearing to watch but also important if it is a female, as she records in her memory the site of her birth only to return here after 10 - 15 years to lay her eggs.
Listed here are a few threats / dangers to Turtles:
Poaching of eggs, Natural Predators.
Trapped in fishing nets, Sand excavations.
Artificial bunds/walls/tadpoles built to prevent costal land from erosion.
Unnatural plantations along the coastline.
Illuminations along the coastline.
Ports and Harbours, Tourism.
Pollution both land and water.

Event Risk Profile and Medical Conditions Disclosures:

We recommend you to please take care while walking / climbing / trekking/ travelling for any adventure / outdoor activity as it is potentially risky. For all these events, you are at your own risk. Organizers are not responsible for any accident or compensation in whatsoever manner. Participants strictly follow the code of conduct, to avoid troubling our fellow trekkers or other people from our group or outside. Do not misinterpret it as a PICNIC. We all are going visit conservation site. Note, this route does not have any fixed/proper/appropriate washrooms or bathrooms.  
It is mandatory that you visit your personal physician before enrolling for the trip if you suffer from any illness of any kind then disclose the same and your medical history to the organizers so that best possible arrangement can be carried out post approval. Participants complaining to motion sickness and pregnant ladies should not embark on this tour. As organizers of the trip, we will be providing basic first aid throughout the trip. In case of unexpected mishaps or accidents, we will arrange for the injured patron to be taken to the nearest medical hospital or PHC wherever possible. The medical expenses will have to be borne by the patrons themselves. The cost mentioned above is for Indian citizens ONLY payable in Indian Rupees.
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