Flamingo boat rides by Coastal and Marine Biodiversity in Airoli resumes to overwhelming response

Published on Nov 12, 2021 04:30 PM IST

Flamingo boat rides conducted by the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre in Airoli have received overwhelming responses ever since it was restarted on October 15 after the second lockdown; more than 750 birdwatchers from across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai enjoy the rides in the first 25 days

Flamingo as seen during a boat ride by the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre, Airoli. (HT PHOTO)
Flamingo as seen during a boat ride by the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre, Airoli. (HT PHOTO)
By, Navi Mumbai

The flamingo boat rides conducted by the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre (CMBC) in Airoli have received overwhelming responses ever since it was restarted on October 15 after the second lockdown.

According to the officials, more than 750 birdwatchers from across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai enjoyed the boat rides in the first 25 days. Last year, the rides were restarted on November 1 (after the first lockdown) and the number of visitors in the first month was less than 600.

NG Kokare, range forest officer from the centre, said, “We have two types of boats here. The big boats can accommodate 24 birdwatchers and they move at a normal speed. Apart from the driver, such boats have a guide to give information to people on board. The smaller boats, which can accommodate only seven people, are speed boats. Normally the members of a family or a group of friends opt for such boats, and there the driver himself plays the role of a guide.”

Depending on the existence of flamingos, the boats go either towards Vikhroli or Vashi, and return to the centre. A ride is completed in an hour.

“Usually flamingos come to the creek in October and stay here until the onset of monsoon in June. Visitors can see the birds from close quarters during the rides. We decide the timing of the rides depending on the high tide and low tide of the day. In our centre, we are strictly following the Covid-19 protocols,” Kokare said.

CMBC also has a separate information centre and their team explains different aspects of mangroves, birds, crabs among others by showing pictures there. “Entry to that centre is free for people who come for boat rides. But we take a nominal fee from the other people,” another official said.

The official said, “Earlier we also had the online booking system. However, the tours and travel agencies would book all the boats beforehand and that would deprive the other people. Also, those agencies would charge their customers anything between 1,000 and 1,500 for a ride whereas we take only 396 from one birdwatcher on a 24-seater boat on weekdays.”

Shwetha Shinde, 41, a resident of Ghansoli who took a boat ride, said, “Even as I was born and brought up in Navi Mumbai, I had never seen flamingos so closely until I took the ride. That day we were taken towards the Vashi bridge and it was a unique experience. We could see both Mumbai and Navi Mumbai on either side of the creek. Every nature-lover should enjoy the boat ride at least once.”

The birdwatchers can book their boat rides on the CMBC helpline 99876 73737.

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