Bhubaneswar/Chilika: The much awaited flagship adventure event of BCAC; the Coastal Trek Season-5 happened on the Republic Day this year. On Saturday, 26th of January 2019, 45 adventure enthusiasts from BCAC and public participated in this extravaganza and fathomed 31KMs long coastline from Puri (Jamindar Palace Sea Beach) to Chilika Sea-mouth at Arakuda. The huge assembly of Trekkers including kids, ladies and elders were offering quite an interest for the tourists on the beach. The group holding high the National Tricolour marching with the beats of Punjabi Dhol was quite an amusement for the peoples on the beach. This year’s theme message “Save the Olive Ridley Turtles” was echoing in the air around the beach of Puri till the first 3KMs of the trek till the Light House and Hans Coco Palm. Almost 20 local nolias dressed in yellow jerseys and their signature hand-woven pointed hats joined the first few KMs of the trek with the team of BCAC. The show was so spectacular that even the tourists taking bath on the sea-beach were seen dancing and chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jay”, “Vande Mataram” along with the team of trekking enthusiasts. It was indeed a spectacular show on the morning of the Republic Day full of positive vibes and fun.
As planned all participants of this year’s Coastal Trek, started assembling at the Hotel Jamindar Palace by 6:30 AM. The team of volunteers under the guidance of Sanjeeb started from VIR-22, Unit-6, Bhubaneswar well before so as to welcome the participants exactly at 7:00AM at Puri. The participants were offered a sumptuous breakfast at Hotel Jamindar Palace and distributed kits filled with Trekking Badges, Stickers, Water, ORS, Tata Gluco, First-aid, chocolates and information sheets. By 8:00AM the trekkers marched towards the beach in front of Panthanivas, Puri to have a media interaction and flag-off. After trek briefing and route instructions, Mr. Sanjeeb Panda, (IPS), Commissioner Transport, Govt of Odisha flagged off this year’s Coastal Trek from Puri. It was quite amusing to watch the trekkers walking on the beach to the tunes of Dhol and Nagada holding high the Tiranga. It almost felt like dancing on the wet sands of the beach while marching towards the Dhaudia River, which is almost 5Kms from the starting point.
They have planned this trek as per tidal calculations. The high-tide time was around 12:30 in the afternoon on 26th January. By the time they reached Dhaudia river, the water level was rising, but was around 2-3 ft only. Kids along with others crossed the river by foot while clicking snaps of every moment on the beach. The National Tricolour added a special glory to this year’s coastal trek while many clicked some beautiful snaps with it. After Dhaudia river, it was quite a tough beach as the tide was on the rise. The trekkers had to walk almost inclined over the beach as the tide was on. The weather was quite perfect for the season and we never felt the pain of Sun rising above our heads. Kids were super enthusiastic for their coastal adventure while offering us moments to keep the smiles intact on the face despite of pain and suffering of walking on the inclined sandy beaches.
Soon, the trekking became an enjoyment when the group spotted a pod of Irrawaddy Dolphins near the coastline. The pod of Dolphins was in the deep water of the beach and continued along the line for almost 30 minutes, until they were disturbed with fishing boats along their swimming path. In these years, since we have conducted the coastal trek on this coastline, we have never seen Dolphins earlier. For kids, it was another moment of joy. Many of them visited Chilika Lake several times to see these Dolphins, but watching them in the Bay of Bengal on Puri Beach was something nostalgic, which continued for more than 30 minutes. They took many snaps of these beautiful intelligent creatures in their natural habitat. As all of them moved ahead, they came across many living marine creatures including sea-crabs, live conches, snails, jellyfishes and others. Like previous years, we also spotted quite a huge number of dead-bodies of Olive Ridley Turtles.
As they covered 15KMs of the trekking distance, a humorous standy welcomed us to the lunch point on the beaches of Bali Harchandi. The line “You have lost almost 1200 Calories – Fill it up!” was tempting us to a fabulous packed lunch on the pristine beach of Bali Harchandi. This first half of the trek happened entirely in the high-tide time and drained almost all energy from the trekkers. Everyone savoured the packed lunch with cold-drinks and ORS to regain strength to cover the second part of the Trek to our destination at Dhalabali. A few lady members along with the kids called-off their trekking and chose to reach directly at the destination by road. After almost an hour of break and rejuvenation, remaining trekkers started their journey towards the final destination of the day at Dhalabali. The afternoon hours were quite blissful as the water levels were receding and beach was becoming almost flat. The speed of walking increased and almost all the trekkers reached the destination by the time of sunset. During the dusk, it was simply nostalgic to watch the golden sun creating an illusion of molten gold on the waves of the sea. The smartphone enthusiasts couldn’t resist their urge to take some memorable snaps of the beach during the end of the trek.
By the time they reached Dhalabali, our tents were well-set, there was hot tea and evening snacks were ready. Thanks to Sanjeeb Sir, who have meticulously planned and executed everything for comfort of the trekkers under his supervision. We were welcomed with iced and aromatic towels which took all the pain away almost instantly. Within a few minutes all of us joined together for an evening bon-fire. Forgetting all pains and suffering participants joined the live music, danced in joy and enjoyed a fun-filled evening over dinner. The night sky was amazing with glittering stars and our tent venue was quite crazy for enjoyment. The party continued till mid-night and the trekkers sank into their cosy tents for taking a few hours of rest.
The morning was quite cold and cloudy, where we failed to witness the sunrise. But, this could not help the kids to enjoy their time on the beach, while some of the members took this opportunity to run on the beach. It seemed fitness keeda was still stinging deep to the BCACians wherever they are. We missed the sea-bath and kabaddi match on the beach, but other games and chit-chatting continued till 9:30AM in the morning. Soon the participants started packing their luggage and winded-up the tents. We collected all garbage from the beach and burnt them in a pit for their proper disposal. Our loo-tents were quite helpful this year for lady members and kids. We made sure to clean each and every bit of the beach before we took the last boat to Arakuda to return back to Puri and then to our destinations.
Although they missed the presence of Bubu (Yugabrata Kar) this time, BCAC would like to thank the co-organiser Barefoot, Puri for impeccable execution of Coastal Trek Season-5. Their volunteers have done a tremendous job to make this coastal trek the best among all others.
As the President, Mr. Sanjeeb Panda (IPS) said, “Coastal Trek Season 5 has come to the end. The enthusiasm and participation from all the participants was the highlight of this trip. In spite of all the arrangements made by us, unless the participants show due courtesy to each other, the event wouldn’t have been so memorable. We need to appreciate the hard work put by Ajay, Gopal, Nihar, Santosh for the spot-on arrangements. Even though we missed the presence of our co-organiser Bubu, but his arrangement at the starting place and dinner/breakfast at Dhalabali was outstanding. Our support staff Prakash, Rana, Umesh and all have contributed for the logistics. But once again I must appreciate the participants for your whole-hearted involvement.”