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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Under Down Under- A Time for Anniversaries

12 12 12 12 12 12After the last lashing we on the 6th, I decided to stick to 40 degrees south for a few days and head into lighter winds that were promised in a trough of high. It was quite a peaceful time despite the 3 m swell from South West that has been rocking the boat since I don’t remember when. The swell is long and hardly perceptible, but in very light winds it can cause enough damage to the rigging. It was because of that that I took off all sails in the end and set up the A3 which somehow seemed to stay full and survive well.
On the 10th that we passed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin decreeing the end of the first leg which had been psychologically marked out from Mumbai till the first of the three great capes. The second leg is from here till New Zealand marking an entry into the South Pacific.
The break had been very much needed. There were issues with the boat that needed attention. More than anything else, it was the generator’s turn this time which threw up oil pressure warning at a much less leisurely rate than ever. It would shut down after ten seconds of running and, definitely, it was not the cooling system that was causing the problem. Although the indicator said that oil level was within limits, I decided to change the engine oil and prematurely carry out a 300 hourly servicing. When the problem still persisted I got in touch with shore based technicians who figured it was most probably a sensor issue. They gave me a method to work around the problem. I did not have to follow through all the steps though- just cleaning the sensor lead sufficed.
I took advantage of the lull to do some housekeeping and after all the effort the boat looked very much like a cadets mess right before the divisional officer’s inspection. (Well not really…it is still very much a naval mess inside.) To my surprise I found bird feather all over the boat. It did not take a lot to figure out that the  sleeping bag had been leaking down! A couple of times I made some very rudimentary pinacolada (virgin, of course) and once I fried canned sardines for dinner. It was also a time to have a shower and do the laundry, both of which were not terribly necessary despite the gap of almost a fortnight of abstinence. I have read somewhere that Mongol warriors under Chengez Khan never bathed and the layers of grime on them insulated them well from cold. I might buy that theory because on Wednesday I was sweating in the Southern Ocean . It has been days since I have seen the sun and the low overcast sky does nothing to make matters any better. The temperature has been in the range of 15-20 degrees and that of water is well below that. Therefore, for each shower I need to run the engine to heat water through its system of heat exchangers.
The season of anniversaries and celebrations has just begun. It was on 12 Dec 2008 that her hull floated and her bottom tasted salt for the first time.  Congratulatory messages first came in from the core team of Admiral Awati, Cdr Dilip Donde and Ratnakar Dandekar because it was only these three who were aware of the significance of that date. Ratnakar went on to remark that Dutta Jayanti had fallen on that day four years ago and it had been a full moon night. Even I had been unaware because I had joined the project almost four months later in 2009. Nevertheless, I ended up unknowingly celebrating with pinacolada under an unusually bright and sunny sky.
Coincidentally, at noon on that date a year later Cdr Donde had taken her out to sea after casting off from Lyttelton port on his solo circumnavigation around the world. A couple of days later, on the 14th the Mhadei crossed the international date line for the first time marking the longest day in her life. She celebrated  the launching date this year under the Great Australian Bight and her position at 12:12:12 on 12/12/12 was recorded in her log for posterity. 
PFR 2012In the December of 2011, she was paraded along with the naval fleet at Mumbai for the Presidents Fleet Review a day after a postage stamp commemorating her exploits was released by the President of India. I wonder how many of the followers of this blog have it in their collection. I, for the nomad that I am, do not have one.
With summer setting in and weather opening up this part of the world is seeing a deluge of racing boats. The Sydney- Hobart regatta will be on next week. Jeff, who is racing, has asked if I would be around in that area at that time. Although I am still deciding whether to go through the Bass Strait or not, there are very little chances of running into him given the fact that I will be almost crossing New Zealand by that date. Behind me at this time,  the savage fleet of Vendee Globe is devouring miles at the rate of almost 500 a day on their single handed non stop race around the world. Catch their positions on this link http://tracking2012.vendeeglobe.org/en/ At least for a while, I have been leading their pack!
When will it be that we have an Indian taking part in the race?
Meanwhile, here is a song I enjoy listening to often.





Up Next- Pacific

23 comments:

  1. Nice read! Tomy you are certainly getting better with every new post. Yes time of anniversaries... 14th Dec has a special significance in my life too :)

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  2. what all 'mocktails' (other than pinacolada) does the 'Mhaidei' boast of??? or is pinacolada the master's favourite???

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    1. Virgin pinacolada and deflowered pinacolada :D

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  3. nice to see the video with an appropriate backing track:-) looks great.

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    1. It was a very rudimentary effort! Spoke with Padmanabhan. He is planning to make a full length movie on it.

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    2. uh oh, so i guess u figured out the dolphin's identity...It was a good first effort. appreciate the way you like to learn new things.

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    3. I have known for a while who it is :) I have made a better effort but that was a few years ago. Will show it to you when we meet next.

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  4. Hoping that you are having fun n it's all good there !

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  5. Every time I open the computer , the first place I go is this blog. On not seeing an update I do feel ;shit not even today. And when I do see, I feel that much prouder of you and jealous because of the learnings you would be gathering. Waiting to sit with you on completion of this epic and learning from you.
    Congratulations on completing the first leg.
    Continue to be strong as ever.
    Best wishes from the family, always.
    Take care

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    1. Thanks for following, Jordan.

      There is something always exciting happening in the boat and I wish I could post more often. But as you would realise "my problem has been a lack of conventional means to render my life believable". I started with two posts a week and had to reduce it to once a week with all the gale blowing from all around all the while. It is not easy sitting and typing in a a laptop that is constantly escaping from under your fingers.
      That said, you could visit the Facebook page for more regular updates. Here is the link www.facebook.com/www.mhadei.co.in

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  6. Another great write up from the first Indian attempter unassisted nonstop solo circumnavigator. *Whew*..
    Things are getting better just as reverse swings favours an older ball.
    Wish you all the very best.
    Keep writing and sharing.
    Await your safe journey soon but dont hurry and battle with high swells..
    Cheers..

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    1. Hello! how have you been! I am missing the Dr. I hope he is keeping well

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    2. I am fine was busy with India visits of my CEO and Director.. was travelling all over the Northern parts of India and also spread the word of your voyage to many!! :)

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  7. Cdr;my daughter Swati,from Brisbane Australia got married last week,to Dr Vikram Iyer from Brisbane.The marriage was in Bombay on 14th December.Have been busy last fortnight.Sorry.Now I am back to tracking you.will be in touch with you.may the heavens choicest blessings be showered upon you!!!Dr Padmanabhan Mumbai

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    1. Many congratulations and best wishes for the newly weds! I had an apple crumble in their honour! And now that the wedding is over, you can concentrate completely on my voyage :)

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    2. Dear Dr. Congratulations and Best of wishes for the newly weds..
      Wishing them wonderful journey as they build their new life together.

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  8. Dear Mongol Musafir, there are facets of life that I will never discover in person but that is where bravehearts like you step in. I am both bewildered and addicted to your posts. Greetings of the seasons whose importance I may not realise but then that doesn't make them any lesser. Meanwhile, on a side note, your Twitter account has been hacked!

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    1. Seasons greetings to you too! I know about twitter. Its been corrected

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  9. Commander:It is sad that the media,and govt, in India,has not realized the greatness of your solo unassisted circumnavigation of the globe.Through this blog I appeal to the CNS,FOC WESTERN,AND FOC SOUTHERN,to forward the media esp TV channels with at least the googleearth map so painstakingly updated by Mr Mandar Karmarkar everyday,about your location. I appeal to the powers that be, that the map,showing where you have reached,be shown on NDTV,and other prime channels throughout the country as a ten second insert stating "Our heros progress" Dr Padmanabhan Mumbai India

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    1. Dear Dr
      I am certain that the navy has done its best. The event is happening and it is there for the world to see, the updates are there on facebook and blog and every media house in the nation possibly knows about it. It is now up to them to carry it or not, to decide what is important and what is not. If they are concentrating elsewhere, that should be because it is other news that sells these days

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    2. Dear Dr. Padmanabhan

      Very rightly said. Media gives importance to the news that sells, How many of us are really interested in this kind of an adventure? In fact how many people in India take up sailing. People who are net savvy and the ones who read up know about it and there are a lot of us who do share the updates in our circles and have a mention about it in our blogs if we maintain one. Everyone puts in a little effort whether they are appreciated or not. Its our way of paying our respect and saluting the brave sailor.
      Media will awaken and give due credit when its time for his return. Heroes truly don't look at all this. They have greater things and greater goals in mind.

      Regards,

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    3. Very rightly said. Like right now, I am going to have some nice hot halwa with ghee! Yumm!

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    4. Again Bang on... What else can be better than hot halwa with generous ghee to top it up..especially when the temperatures are very close to 0.

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