Vale of a time – Mumbai Touchdown March 2009

Bindhu and Unny went valley crossing and realised that they needed more than just Tarzan-like instincts to reach the other end.


A clean, but rocky beach. Frothy waves caress the sand below. A cool breeze strokes your face. Pure delight! But, what if this beach is 200 feet below and you are suspended in thin air?


…Well, not exactly. You are harnessed and hooked up to a rope. If you trust the organisers’ competence and strength of the harness and the rope, this is a magnificent experience. Look down (pun intended) upon the lovely beach. Close your eyes and enjoy the sea breeze. Wave at your friends eagerly watching you traverse 600 feet hanging from a rope. So far, so good. You could strike this off your secret wish list – the experience of performing your own action stunt!


The valley crossing event was organised by Nature Knights, an eco-adventure organisation, in association with Ratnadurg Mountaineering Association, Ratnagiri. Ratnagiri, a port city at the south-western part of Maharashtra and at about 380 km from Mumbai, is known for its beaches. The event, though named valley crossing, was actually conducted on an elevated plateau that overlooked the beach. The beach served the purpose of the valley.


The technique used was ‘Flying Fox’, where the participant harnessed and hooked up to a rope that runs across two points. You are all tucked in and well-harnessed. But, when you are asked to step into air, your heart skips a beat. Or two. Once you cross that moment, rest is fun. For the first half, it’s just gliding down along the sagged rope.


The heavier you are, the more the rope sags. For the second half, you are pulled from the other point by the facilitators. In effect, you are not putting in any effort. Just coast along and enjoy the experience! And for those who have a fear of heights, well, here is that chance to overcome it. This event is not regularly conducted at Ratnagiri. It has to be organised for a group in association with Ratnadurg Mountaineering Association, who are experts in various activities such as rock climbing, rappelling and similar such adventure-centric experiences.