Baywatch in Juhu
Marine walk (Outdoors)
Anyone who knows me well would have heard about my Juhu beach story. If I could count my happy memory days, a large chunk of it would be our trips on the 374 LTD BEST route from Chembur to Andheri, and from there to Juhu Beach. Yet, while Mumbai's hotspot for joy for the lesser privileged continues to be this stretch of shoreline, for my kids and others, Juhu beach in the same sentence along with happiness quotient tends to invite quizzical looks.
I'm in my happy place at 7.30 am one muggy June morning with 30 others who have gathered with Marine Life of Mumbai, a citizen-led, voluntary group which documents the life on this city's marine spaces. They curate a monthly free shorelines. And I can see why it is vital that this citizen initiative through both trained marine biologists and enthusiasts is such an important one. If you see with trained eyes, the wonder on the shore is incredible. It is just as important to disseminate this information so that more of us can protect the fragile ecosystem. If you see with trained eyes, the wonder on the shore is incredible. It is as important to disseminate this information so we can protect the ecosystem.
Marine walks are best done now before the heavy rains lash and again in October. Different shores have different types of animals: Sandy shores in Juhu/Girgaum, rocky shores in Haji Ali and parts of Juhu, and muddy flats in Sewri. But as it's not possible to see everything, if you are able to participate in one marine walk every month you'll see a whole set of new creatures that exist at inter-tidal zones each time.
We've been divided into two groups and ours moves to the rocky area first. We will eventually move to the sandy parts of the beach to spot different marine life that exists in horizontal layers of the sand. Crabs, we are told, are as common and numerous as crows. They are survivors and scavengers, come in different size and colour, are greedy and aggressive — they fight each other to death and some species eat the others.
We are introduced to barnacles, shrimps and oysters. Each rock we turn over is magic, revealing a whole universe of creatures that either remain very still or scuttle away from the light. There are sea snails and snail eggs. We saw the eggs of the sea snail Indithais lacera the colours of which change from the time they are laid (yellow) to the time they are ready to hatch (pink).
We spot starfish, sea worms and beautiful, colourful sponge. I can never go back to any shore without these seeing eyes now. Ditto with the kids. We return in awe.
Where: All shorelines are potential sites. The teams of this group hold walks across the city's shoreline.
Best for: For regular walks, boys and girls, 10 years upwards.
Timings: Check for updates on their social media pages. For a customised walk, mail contact@marinelifeofmumbai.
Budget: Free; MOLM does customised walks only for children too (paid for)
Water: Please carry
Rest Room facilities: No
Parent Poll: Loved it
Kids' Poll: Loved it. Excited that they spotted sponge and the starfish.
What's Good: Enables us to appreciate coastal ecosystem
What's Not So Good: It was perfect
SAFETY TIP: Wear proper shoes with good grip. Carry water and wear a cap. Do not attempt to touch any marine creature, as some of them may sting or cause reaction.
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