The breeding home for endangered species
The Olive Ridley Turtle. Every year they come to shore to lay eggs to Velas between November to April.
The villagers are trained by WWF & UNESCO and also they make business by providing shelter to the visitors. The place is well connected by Pune & Mumbai and the roads are rougher via Tamhini Ghat but are better from NH66 [via Khopoli-Mangaon]. It takes approximately 5hrs 30mins to 6 hours depending on the traffic in the ghat region. The route from Ambet to the beach is mesmerizing and it seems that river leads you to the sea.
If you are looking forward to a very lavish experience then you would be disappointed but the homely and caring nature will definitely sweep your heart away. The shabby houses and gloomy corners don’t deter the bright and happy faces of those who stay inside. The daily lifestyle depends on fishing and nurturing turtles that hatch.
The beach is covered with black sand at one end and rocky mountains on the other. The waves move from east to west in diagonal direction and the tides are not favorable for swimming. There’s no vendors available on the beach hence do carry a bottle of water with you while visiting the beach. The off road walk between the mangroves and spruce trees makes it exciting and memorable.
The beach is open for the visitors from 5am to 6pm. If caught after 6pm on the beach then the visitors are liable for a fine of 30,000/- and also might have to serve 3 months behind bars depending on the moto of the stay. The beach comes under the surveillance and governance of both Marine Dept. and Forest Dept. Consumption of food and alcohol is highly prohibited and the volunteers walk around to maintain the rules & regulations.
There are no vendors or shacks available on the beach, hence ensuring that the beach is free from plastics and unconsumed food products. Hence do carry a bottle of water with you while visiting the beach.
The sight of the hatchlings coming on the surface of the sand and their first walk towards life fulfills the peace of the mind and contents the heart with utter joy. The survival rate of these infants are almost 1:1000 but their enthusiasm to glide through the currents inspires one to walk ahead, may what be the circumstance.
The feeling of sudden sulking and melting away describes the sunset as the sun simultaneously melts in the horizon. The way back to the road from the beach, through the mangroves after sunset is barely visible but the lights laid down by the fireflies brings you closer to the world of Avatar.
The city of Velas is small and contains a handful of population hence making it more invisible from the outside world. The unfinished bridge in the middle of the ocean and the island on the other hand seems more like the opening of the play “Tales of two cities” by David Copperfield. The unfinished business, the struggle of day to day travelling for an hour from one island to another, the rougher tides hitting the rocks, and the long tiring eyes with smiles to welcome all is all one should ask from life.