BCAC organised Coastal Trek Season-6 with an Appeal to “Save Olive Ridley Turtles & Marine Ecology”

Puri: The wonderful winter brings in the much awaited and family-friendly adventure under the tagline of “Coastal Trek – Season 6.” Conducted in coordination with Barefoot, Puri, this once-in-a-year nostalgia leaves memories of a lifetime for the adventure enthusiasts. Walking on the sands of pristine Puri Beach, this Coastal Trek offers a remarkable adventure over a stretch of 30 odd KMs from PanthNiwas, Puri till an uninhabited sea-mouth of Chilika at Dhalabali. BCAC is proud to share this Coastal Adventure as the ‘one and only’ of its kind in India, which is safe, family oriented and offers a magnificent experience to explore the coast-line of Odisha on foot.

The Coastal Trek – Season 6 was quite unique in many terms. Thanks to our co-organizer at Puri, we had the privilege of witnessing a beautiful Sand Art by Padma Shree Sudarsan Pattnaik in line with theme of the event “Save the Olive Ridley Turtles.” This event which witnessed a massive participation of more than 50 including 06 ladies and 06 kids and a few new adventurists, resulted in a fantastic experience for the repeating members and the public. Meticulous planning, constant brainstorming under the personal supervision of President BCAC and Commissioner Transport, Govt. of Odisha, Mr. Sanjeeb Panda, IPS, this event stood out to be the best of the treks among all previous seasons. Mr. Yogabrat Kar (Bubu) from Barefoot, Puri delivered every possible effort for a flawless inauguration with food arrangements at Puri and Dhalabali.

As per the plan, the team of volunteers reached Hotel Jamindar Palace well before the planned time of 6:30AM to welcome all the participants. We have systematized baggage tagging, breakfast coupons and complementary vehicle arrangements for the convenience of the participants at Puri. As the day progressed, all participants assembled at the hotel for a relishing breakfast. Soon after we distributed kits with Oranges, Gluco, Chocolates, Stickers, Firstaid and Water for the participants. By 7:30AM the inauguration ceremony started in presence of Superintendent of Police, Puri among other dignitaries. After a brief media interaction and Sand Art exhibition by Sri Sudarsan Pattnaik, the trekkers were all in “High Josh” to start their day-long trekking adventure. The beats of Punjabi Dhol and Nagada were preparing a thrilling ambience with a beautiful rhythmic vibration. The kids were real inspiration, whose carefree dance along the waves of sea was filling the hearts with joy and ecstasy. By 8:30AM, the event was flagged off by the President of BCAC along the crowded beach of Puri crossing through the visitors and sea-bathers.

As the group marched on to the enchanting tunes of Dhol and Nagada, the public on the beach halted for a few seconds to watch this nostalgia. Some even asked the participants what’s going on and were happy to learn about the theme of the event. The morning weather was quite encouraging as the trekkers passed through the beach. A few people from the public also joined the trekkers till the Dhaudia River point in front of Puri Lighthouse. The cheering and clapping of crowd along the way fill the enthusiasm among the trekkers who are set-out on advocating for saving the endangered marine ecology along with the Olive Ridley Turtles during their trek.

After crossing almost 4Kms from the starting point, the group reached the sea-mouth of Dhaudia River near Sterling Resort. The time was almost 9:30AM and the tide was all high, which added another new-adventure for this season’s participants, who had to cross the river on a dingi boat. Again thanks to the meticulous planning and tidal calculations, that a boat along with lifeguards welcomed the trekkers with their smiling faces to help us in crossing the river. Soon, the trekkers thanked and bid adieu to the boatmen and lifeguards to continue on their trek to the next destination at Bali Harachandi beach.

The human habitation gradually shrunk and this part of the trek was with almost zero human presence. The high-tide time was offering another challenge to the trekkers who were walking on an inclined surface almost all the time. This real-time challenge was accepted smilingly by all the participants who broke into smaller groups, gossiping, sharing and even enjoying the roaring of the sea. We came across various marine lives, like dead Turtles, Puffer fish, even live conches, jelly fishes and sea crabs. Kids were enjoying the most even though the sun was high on the heads and temperature was rising. The walking along the beach continued till next 10odd KMs, where Ajay welcomed the group with water and Mazza (just before a kilometre from the Lunch Point). The tiring souls were delighted to this gesture of Ajay, who was volunteering this season and took the pain of walking almost a KM on the beach to welcome, while managing the Lunch Point. As the trekkers reached Bali Harachandi beach, Prakash and Manas guided the hungry souls with a humorous standee and another set of water and cold-drinks. Soon, all the group quickly get inside the cashew and casuarina forest of Bali Harachandi to savour a packed lunch with assorted items.

The lunch was quite soul-warming and tasty. Soon, the trekkers finished their lunch, took some rest and refilled their kits with water, oranges and Gluco to set-out on the second part of the trek. By this time, Sanjeeb and Gopal has already reached the Dhalabali and started setting of tent area with flag-fencing and looking after other arrangements. The kids and some of the participants decided to take a break from the Lunch Point to reach the Campsite by vehicle. Rest of the trekkers moved off quickly as the sun was going down.

The second part of the trek was comparably easy as the low tides set in. The participants were enjoying the music of the waves while witnessing a fantastic sun-set and fishing of the local fishermen. Looking at the flatly receding beach, some of the trekkers decided to complete the last 10Kms by running. The first batch of the trekkers reached the campsite by 4:45PM, while the others continued their trekking witnessing the grandeur of the sunset and walking on a patch with Chilika at one side and Sea at the other. As the evening set-in, the trekkers reached the campsite batch by batch. Gopal welcomed participants with scented iced towels, which took away the pain almost instantly. Sanjeeb Sir awarded the participants with a beautiful Sea-Shell medal, made exclusively for this season of Coastal Adventure.

The darkness of the sky came with glittering stars in a clear black sky. The rising of the moon was still late, although it was a moonlit night. The trekkers enjoyed evening snacks around the Bon-fire and relished a glittering evening with music, dance and drinks. It was so cool to have a fun-filled evening where all are unique and special with care and attention. As the night progressed the participants lumbered into their cosy tents which were tagged with individual names and planned meticulously along the campsite.

The morning came early and it was beautiful and sunny. The kids and adults enjoyed various games like Cricket, Frisbee and volley on the beach. Photographers didn’t miss a chance to capture the beautiful sun-rise and the events. The arrangement of life-jackets and tubes for sea-bath was quite amusing as some of the participants ventured deep into the sea to enjoy waves and sea-bath. Overall, it was the finest morning full of fun and entertainment all throughout.

As the clock struck 10, the volunteers and participants set again into action mode. The tents were disassembled, garbage was cleaned and the beach was made virgin as it was before camping. The kids also helped us to collect garbage and pack them properly for treatment. All helped to disassemble the campsite and load everything on the boats for transportation to Arakhkuda. Vehicles were waiting at the Arakhkuda Police Station to carry us back to our destinations at Puri and Bhubaneswar. Last batch of participants carried freshly picked sea-fish along with them as a souvenir of the event.

This was one of the most amazing and fascinating events organized by BCAC so far. It’s quite evident from the sharing of the participants after finishing the trek. We are sharing a few of them here:

A. “Thank you for an amazing trip. Being my first participation, I had a great time. Arrangements were fantastic and food was great. Can’t say a lot about beverages though. It must’ve been even better, as I saw. It takes a lot of effort and time to put up such elaborate arrangements. Thank you and thanks to everyone participated.” – Mr. Dipankar Sahu, Joint-Commissioner, VAT & GST

B. “With the background the leadership has, it’s tough to stay minimalist. Sanjeeb sir is the best in this balancing. Ajay, Santosh & Gopal awesome dream team. The camp site looked so good, when we arrived after the gruelling trek. The setting clearly depicted the meticulous planning & execution. Who else can make us pick garbage? Happy for making us stay grounded & responsible. Too good! Unfortunate are those who missed the trek.” – Mr. Tirumal Kumar, Founder Director, Sri Durga

C. “I promise to include my family next year in this amazing unforgettable experience. Thanks to all the co-trekkers for their great sportsmanship.” – Dr. Utkal Kishore Khadanga, Consultant Endocrinologist, Utkal Diabetes Care

D. “Every night we need cemented walls and roof to sleep inside but, this night we dare to sleep at just 5 feet away from the high tides of the roaring sea. The list goes on endlessly. And all these exceptions happened only because of some exceptional brains by giving their endless efforts year after year. Bravo! Team BCAC.” – Mr. Kedar P. Pradhan, Lawer & Tax Consultant

E. “The sea shell medal is really a unique and special gift after completing a tiring and beautiful trek besides the sea. Felt proud to display the same to my near and dear ones after returning home. These memories shall remain with all of us till the end of life.” – Dr. Ranjan Pattnaik, IIT, Kharagpur

F. “I don’t know how to thank Sanjeeb Sir and the active team BCAC for the wonderful arrangements made for this coastal trek, right from beginning till return. All this could be possible because of meticulous planning and ensuring its execution by personal supervision till the last minute. It was a full-proof arrangement. Hats off to Sanjib Sir and lieutenants of BCAC for the memorable event.” – Mr. K Balaji Subudhi, Chief Accounts Office, Directorate of Industries