By D N Singh
Post the New Year buzz, the month of January enters our lives with a litany of eventful times that are extremely festive and exhilarating as well.
From the cultural world to a world of nature the new year remains a propelling phase when the mirth of the last leg of the winter take us to (change)
From the land to the sea, the transitions are rocking sometimes. After the New Year celebration cravings we also chose an odyssey from the land to the sea.
The voyage was refreshing and adventurous. We were tightly loaded in a motorized boat heading from Bhitarkanika National Park to Gahirmatha beach. Supposedly the largest rookery in the world for a rare and endangered species of million years, the Olive Ridley turtles.
The boat ride was not just pleasant but risky. Soon we crossed the limits of the tidal creek meandering through the National Park, we were heading into the oceanic water that was far from normal.
As the morning sea breeze blows and grows gusty the boat ride becomes equally topsy-turvy, the boat has to enter a coarse phase full of turbulence making the voyage unpredictable.
However, after an hour of sailing we were nearing a huge Island made of sand-dunes named as Babubali, adjoining the other Island that serves as world’s largest rookery attracting Olive Ridley turtles in lakhs to lay eggs on the sea beach.
Babubali Island is as usual an ephemeral spot as any other Island a little away shifting their locations due to huge literal drifts at intervals.
Our boat anchored at Babubali and we headed to the destination that was dotted by several make-shift huts abandoned by the fishermen who usually stop fishing due to restrictions during this time of Turtles’ laying eggs.
We chose a few huts as our shelter for the sojourn and to our disappointment heard that the night before there was no mass arrival of the turtles. However, after a manageable lunch at noon, as our boat man was washing the utensils, suddenly he came back with a loud cheer to inform us that, vast number of turtles have started covering the beach. All of us took to the boat and sailed to the spot and were thrilled by the spectacular sight of lakhs of turtles having taken their places and have started digging their pits for the laying of eggs.
By late evening more number of turtle could be noticed crawling up onto the beach like an epic migration.
The setting of the Sun started but unperturbed by anything they were in their pits.
Fatigued, we all came back to Babubali for the night’s stay and the boatman was indeed a great sport to prepare a hasty yet tasty dinner of steaming hot rice, dal and curry of vegetables.
Morning was exhilarating as the early Sun light was literally sieving through the so-called walls made of mud-pasted dry branches of hedges.
It was like a different world that we were witnessing, the magical touch of the warm morning Sun-light, generously spread all over expanses with the blue Ocean creating sparkles on its bosom and an upsurge of tides occasionally, as if, singing paeans as a tribute to the splendor of nature there.
The rookery was thinning slowly as the batches of turtles were leaving the site and back to the sea. Some new arrivals also could be noticed.