Friday, September 11, 2009

Whales Ahoy!

          Yesterday was another windless yet busy day. Changed and reset some chaffed ropes in the morning, cleaned and arranged the boat a bit after the bashing of the trade winds. In the afternoon when it looked as if the wind was picking up a bit went up and as I was easing the mainsheet saw one of my worst nightmares coming true! The Padeye holding the mainsheet block had uprooted itself! This strong fitting basically attaches the boom to the boat and if it gets uprooted there is no way to control the boom which would start thrashing about causing serious damage including a possible dismasting in strong winds. Tried to tighten the padeye only to realise that two out of the four bolts attaching it to the boat had sheared off. Immediately shortened the sail and temporarily attached the boom to another padeye on the Port side. Consultations with the Boat Builder over the phone followed, with a conclusion that the only way to carryout any repairs was to cut a large hole under the Roll bar on which the padeye was attached. Sailing was stopped forthwith, the Shipwright summoned who spent the next couple of hours drilling a large enough hole in the roll bar to approach the padeye. That done the broken bolts were removed, new bolts fitted and all bolts secured with nuts to keep them in place. Thanks to Ratnakar's foresight all the necessary tools and spares were available and by midnight we were ready to sail again. The Shipwright with bruised fingers and glass fibre all over himself, with the resultant itching, had managed to do a fairly decent job and salvaged an otherwise tight situation for which he was duly awarded an "On the Spot" commendation and more importantly a hot bath past midnight!

       Another sleepless night followed in the shifty and light, often non existent, winds. Getting up and easing the main everytime the wind picked up and securing the boom to prevent it from thrashing once the bit of wind died out. We are close to a High pressure system and this is expected, the strong Westerlies lie to the South of this area. I have started calling it the "Coldrums", a colder version of the Doldrums! Thankfully the squalls are missing. The sky has been completely overcast since the last two days and it is getting colder by the day. The warm clothing is out and shoes are being worn at all times except the rare occasion when inside a sleeping bag. As I was having my morning cup of coffee Mhadei was greeted by the local residents! I counted atleast four whales who came quite close and I could hear them snorting. Thankfully they didn't want to play around with Mhadei, lost interest after giving her a lookover and went their way! Just a curtsy call perhaps!!


zenobia said...


Shubhankar said...

Hello Sir,
Been following your blog since almost the beginning. Absolutely amazing. Love your writing style.

Since you have a digicam with you, would it be possible for you to do an occasional video podcast - just record yourself speaking & upload it on YouTube. It might even be more convenient as you could just speak out what you'd otherwise have to site down and type.

Amazing blog and even more amazing voyage being undertaken - All the Best Shano Varuna!!

zenobia said...

Oh No!! I want the writing. I want the blog. Thanks

SUBIR said...


Am proud of your shipwright - will take him on anytime.

Take Care ...

tell tale said...

Lucky you. The padeye could not have come off at a better moment. Imagine gale force winds when the padeye came off


Madhumita said...

Hello Kaka,

Wow!!! How lucky to see the whales!
Congrats for restoring the damages in time. Good that you got sea calm enough to let you repair the boat. Another good news for us is that you have started inching towards Fremantle.
Hope you are not hurt.


veena said...

hi dilip

way to go buddy. mhadei is a beauty. hats of to ratnakar

pallavi said...


Keep writing.We all love the way you write and the your "English Cum Hinglish is superb "

malavika said...

some amazing snaps. the girls are excited abt ur trip around the world. they are following ur tour...all the very best...malu satyen kaira kavya

Reema Chopra said...

This is amazing seeing whales from so close!!! THRILLING!!! Congrats Dilip! Real life Hero!!!!

Madhu Reema Chopra