Olive Ridley - Arribada Turtles laying the eggs. Returning to the sea I did not know of the name Olive Ridley when I first saw the turtles in the early nineties. We were on a picnic to Chandrabhaga beach near Puri where I first saw them in plastic containers. It was a wow moment for all of us to see them. There were 3-4 of them, probably sick as they were swimming a bit lopsided. Later, read about them in the newspapers of them coming for nesting. The next encounter with them on the beaches of Puri when the dead turtles would have washed ashore after being caught in a fishing net. Many of them rotting and would be creating an awful smell. And because of this and unknown to us, but quite a few wild life warriors would be fighting on the side of the turtles with the owner of fishing trawlers to stop the killing. The main culprit being trawlers and line fishing and not the traditional fishermen. Every year there would be an uproar during the mating seasons about the dead turtles turning up on the beach and the govt. not doing anything about it. Later the waters were patrolled to stop the fishermen from fishing during the breeding season. But still dead turtles do turn up on the beach every year. Even this year. The urge to witness the Arribida(Mass nesting) was there. But reports always appeared after the event had happened. Tried a few contacts over the years but the effort was zero. Then a few years ago saw some post on facebook by friends who had visited, but the time had passed so did another year. Same thing happened the next year but no one was telling me the exact date and time these turtles would come to nest or hatch. Then this I met a fellow rider Rudra at a ride he is wildlife official. And a few weeks after meeting him I saw his post where he had gone and witnessed the mass nesting near Rushikulya river mouth near a village named as Gokurkuda. I immediately called him up asking about the timings and the route. On getting the details, I finalised the trip. Took a car and hired a driver because the nesting happens at night and there is no place to stay near the nesting beach & it's around 360kms round trip from Cuttack. Left Cuttack at 2am. Making its way towards the sea. The turtle hatching are fighting for survival even before the eggs are laid. As a next turtle might come and dig its nest on the same spot as the previous one and scooping up the eggs. These times are a boon to many a predators like kites, crows, jackal, crabs and big fishes who feast on the eggs and the hatching. A nest destroyed during high tide. In one of the posts will highlight this. The hatching's happens after around 45 days after the eggs are laid. Odisha has three Arribada(mass nesting) sites. They are Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, Gokurkuda at Rushikulya river mouth and at Astaranga on the Devi river mouth. Gahirmatha is the biggest and Astaranga no longer has mass breeding, its only sporadic.