Saturday, December 26, 2009

A memorable Christmas!

This year we are bringing up the rear as far as Christmas goes with the rest of the world barring Polynesia, Hawai and Alaska having already passed on to boxing day as I write. One can be a little flexible with dates at sea, specially so close to the date line and alone. Jessica Watson, the youngest solo circumnavigator, sailing 600 Nm ahead of me and the closest human being at this moment confirmed that she was planning to celebrate Christmas on 24 Dec, local date, as it would be 25 Dec at her home in Australia. Deciding to follow suit on Mhadei, some excellent cake, so thoughtfully handed over just before departure by Mrs Fitzgerald of Lyttelton, was cut and devoured for breakfast. A good lunch and dinner should logically have followed but with Mhadei bouncing around in 30 kts winds the cook wasn't really feeling upto something elaborate. He did make up for it today though, serving some excellent Thai curry with dried prawns and hot steaming rice. No prizes for guessing the desert! Christmas cake naturally! And so shall it be so for the next couple of days!

          Looking back, it was just two years back on this day that we had a little ceremony at the Aquarius boat yard to start the construction of Mhadei. I had barely made it to the yard having had my car smashed up a few days back while attempting to drive down to Goa from Mumbai. The building contract was yet to be signed and Ratnakar flew down the next day to Delhi to sign the contract with the Navy! It may sound funny now but I had never seen a boat being built, Ratnakar had never sailed or worked with the Navy, I dare say the powers be at the Naval Headquarters who were paying for the construction had no idea about either! Warship construction and dinghy sailing yes but Yacht construction and Ocean sailing most certainly no! And here we are, two years later, merrily sailing half way across the world as if it is the most normal thing to do!


Rashmi said...

Dilip, Merry Christmas and awonderful year ahead. You deserve it all. 2010 needs to be dedicated to you.

Jim Lour said...

Good luck on your adventure! Are you and Jessica on the same course? Is the distance betwee you two getting shorter or longer?

Jim from Chicago

29nda said...

Good to see you in high spirits Dilip. I'm sure you will have a comfortable voyage for the better part of your journey! And a happy new year.

AB from KG said...

Hi Dilip
Hope you're all having as much fun as Jesse seems to be! Thai curry with prawns sounds awesome - what time's dinner? Best of luck for the rest of your journey.
AB from Kangaroo Ground, Australia

Rosemary,Australia said...

Hi Dilip Well, Jessica Watson has gone and done it and given the 100s of us around the world who follow her blog the link to YOUR blog.So now we have two solo sailors to keep up with, if it's OK with you? You'll be going faster than her in your bigger yacht but hope you can wave to her on your way past!
It will be very interesting for us landies to compare your voyages.
All the best for your next leg around the Horn.
All the very be

Ocean Girl said...

Hello Dilip, visiting from Jessica's.

Thai curry with dried prawns with hot steaming rice sounds simply heaven in the middle of nowhere.

I wish you smooth sailing and will be following you.

RichieParis said...

Hi Dilip,
Jessica just posted about your journey and I am pleased to greet you... Thank you for accepting some more visitors on board, though we are not Navy officers!
You seem to fly and manage very well. I am going to read your blogs from the beginning, tonight.
Be careful not to bump into Ella's Pink Lady while passing by her, as you are flying much faster. It would be freaky to see the two solo navigators' boats colliding in the Point Nemo zone!!! lol
Take care and cook well. I love indian cuisine!

tell tale said...

If you manage to overtake her, be sure not to step onboard for a glass of wine...

Even if you do, don't tell us about it :D

Old Iron said...

Just came from Jessica's blog and website.

Good Luck

Old Iron said...

looking at some of your older posts.

Great photos!!!!

Mary said...

Greetings, Cdr Donde!

Thanks to Capt. Watson, you will soon be deluged by her faithful and exuberant blog supporters!

Here's wishing you a safe and rewarding voyage as you approach the Cape. I've enjoyed your many photos and am now learning even more geography, this time about the Indian Ocean. Jessica's blogs had us all running to our atlases (or Wikipedia sites!) to learn about the Tasmanian Sea and the islands of the South Pacific.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

May you feel blessings underway, always.

Mary, Maine, USA

Anonymous said...

Hi Dilip.
Season's Greetings from Canada.

I am tracking young Jessica Watson and I will now include you in my daily reading.

I am a sailor but not on this level...I have great respect for what you are both attempting to do.

Stay safe,
Bay of Quinte, Lake Ontario, Canada

Paula said...

Another Jessica Watson fan here, and I'm glad to know she's not totally alone in the Southern Ocean right now. If you catch up with her, wave and say hi for all of us.

You're sailing in a much larger boat than hers. At what size would a lone sailor have trouble handling a boat, I wonder?

In any case, greetings and best wishes from Larchmont, New York, USA. We have a famous yacht club here, so if you are ever in these parts, I hope you will put in for some good cheer.

chatty said...

Hi Dilip,, Send us the link to Jessica's Blog...By the way Wish you a great 2010... I am off today ... see you when I get back positive and be safe ...wave to jessica when you cross her ....Chatty

Workerbev said...

Cdr Donde, Beverly here in Tasmania. American ex-US Air Force VietNam vet living down-under. Got your link from Jessica'a blog. So glad to be able to follow you from the "other" side of the world. I surely did not know there were so many solo sailors out there. Just learned of the bloke from the UK who just finished his voyage.

I will definitely be including you in my daily ritual of reading if that is okay with you?

The food sounds soooo good. I was stationed in Turkey for two years and got very used to that cuisine and could stand a change now. I have been mixing American, New Zealand, and Australia cuisine together to a mismash of nothingness.

Read your blogs from beginning up until 22 Sep and started getting sleepy as is 2am in Tasmania right now. Think I will get some shut-eye and join you tomorrow morning bright and early.

Aren't you proud of our great 16-year-old girl who is undertaking this circumnavigation solo and unassisted? And who said the younger generation were going to the dogs? There is still some out there that will amount to alot. Let us hope and pray they will become our next politicians. If you get my drift...

Good night(morning) and God Speed, fair winds and calms seas
Beverly Penney (

Atty said...

Sir,here is wishing you a fantastic journey ahead into the New Year.May Lord Varuna be with you always!

Seth G said...

Greetings and Best Wishes from Washington, D.C., Dilip!

Found you via Jessica, of course. Good luck around the horn and fair winds from there on. Please keep giving us details - they are facinating!

Fair Winds and following Seas!

nutralady2001 said...

Hello Dilip, another one from Jessica's blog here LOL looking forward to following you as well.

Gordon said...

Just started to read your blog (read about you on Jessica Watson's blog). I wish you all the very best. I am an amateur radio operator and use the AIRMAIL system, which is the same as SAILMAIL. Do you find SAILMAIL useful ?

All the best

Gordon Murray (

ZZ said...

Hey, I came over here from Jessica's blog. Will follow you also from here on out. Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dilip, Greetings from Bend, Oregon USA.
I found your blog through Jessica Watson's blog. It will be fun to follow your journey.

God Speed and Fair Winds

jwb777 said...

Greetings from landlocked Oklahoma, USA

I, too, came to your blog via Jessica. I've read all entries on your site. Very fascinating indeed. Will be following you as well as Jess in the weeks to come. The two of your are really providing a wonderful educational experience for many of us who only get to the ocean to swim and dive. Am really putting Google to the test!

All the best to you!

Janell in Oklahoma, USA

Rowie said...

Hey Dilip!

Yet another Jessica fan having a peek at your amazing journey! Love the photos, look forward to reading both blogs from now.

Best wishes and safe travels!


Anonymous said...

Bless you, Dilip
I have been following Jessica's
Journey, and she mentioned you.
May you have a safe journey
and be encouraged.
Richard (QLD) Aus.

Ian said...

Hi Dilip,

Like everyone else I found you via Jessica's blog. A much belated welcome to our corner of the world.

Ian from Brisbane

Anonymous said...

Hi Dilip,
Great to follow yet another adventurous souls journey. Pleased you and Jessica are in contact. Your path seems far more Southern than hers,did you have to cross the equator at all? or is that not part of the requirements on you trip. Well I am sure you will have many more people following you all the best and i will keep reading your blog with great interest as I do our darling Jess's


karen lee said...

Hi Dilip, You have another Australian follower, courtesy of Jessica Watson's blog!
You have some amazing photos and interesting stories for your 4+ months at sea. I will continue to follow your progress around the world and wish you well in your travels.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Dilip,
Jesse Watson mentioned you in her blog this morning so now her many followers will be tracking your progress as well. Look forward to reading your blog as well.
All the best,

Susan, Brisbane Australia said...

Good luck Dilip, Christmas blessings and best wishes for the remainder of your journey. Jessica introduced you on her blog and I will now check in on you for the remainder of your passage.
You and your boat look quite dashing!

ET Gurl said...

Hi Dilip

Tis its only me a ET from Australia so you had for xmas lunch prawns & curry & i bet that curry pushed you along at a great rate hey wonderful so happy sailing

Toni McLean said...

Hi Dilip,
Nice to meet you. I read about you on Jessica's blog so thought I would pop over to see how you're travelling. What a pity we didn't hear about you in Sydney as you passed by Australia. We were probably all absorbed by Jessica's preparations. It's amazing that the two of you are in the same bit of ocean, given how much water there is covering the world's surface. Hope you two keep a good eye out for each other. It would be awful to bump into the only other boat for a million miles! :-)

Good luck with the winds and your boat. Does "Mhadei" mean anything in particular? Apologies if you have already explained that in another blog. I'll keep an eye on how you're travelling.

Wishing you fair winds

Susan said...

Jesse Watson posted a link to your blog, and I just read some of it.
LOVE the photos!
Hope you're up for lots of comments!
I am completely intrigued by what you and Jesse are doing, not that I will follow!
Good that the two of you are in touch, and can share experiences.
Mmmm, Indian food... my absolute favorite! Lucky you having such a good cook on board!
Safe sailing,
Susan in Oregon

ET Gurl said...

Hey Dilip

Just thought of something maybe you could hold hands with Jessica when your at Cape Horn at the lighthouse

ET Gurl said...

Ye maybe Dilip could have called into Sydney for a bit more of that curry & he would be in front of her Jessica now

ET Gurl said...

Hey Dilip

Now tell us more about yourself your profile lacks in info but i can see you like sheep what about Turkey do you like mmmmmmm

Roger Carlton said...

Hey There,
Just informed of the feat you are attempting and wanted to say that I wish you nothing but success. Will be following your progress.
Nothing great is easily achieved.
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Aunty Chris said...

Hey Dilip
Please give Jessica a big wave from us when you sail past. Tell her 'Be Careful' and I wish you both lots of good luck rounding the Horn.

Love Aunty Chris (Tamworth, NSW, Oz)

Anonymous said...

Hello Dilip, Another one from Jessica's blog site and looking forward to following your progress. Amazing you and Jesse are rounding Cape Horn at similar times.
All the very best to you and I hope you have a great new year.
Bluefin, Buderim, Queensland.

hezakiah299 said...

12-27-09 @ 21:40
Hi Dilip,
Got your address from our little angel 'Jessica' and I look forward to following you on your journey.
Good luck on your adventure and I hope it's a safe one. I haven't read you past blogs yet, but I look forward to doing so. I have a lot of respect for all you sailors that will venture out into the unknown. I’m to old to take on a challenge like that so I do it through people like yourself, thank you. Take care, be safe, stay alert and I will keep you in my prayers.
Michael (74)from Kingwood, WV

Tracie Lynne Hall said...

Greetings Dilip!
I'm new here. :-) 'Just learned of you from Jessica's blog. How nice that you both mentioned one another on your most recent postings.
It looks like I have a lot of catching up to do on yours, so I won't say much. (I don't want to make a fool of myself asking questions you've long since answered.)
I never know what to say in terms of wishing a sailor good luck..."smooth sailing" may not be what you are there for. For a trading ship I'd have thought that, but for someone circumnavigating the world there is a good chance there is a thrill seeking element and smooth sailing may be just too darned boring. So I'll just close with, "enjoy the ride".
Take care,

Robert said...


Beautiful boat, beautiful pics, love the way the pics fill the screen. Great sunset photos. ---Also jumped off Jessica's boat to check yours out. Read all your posts since Mumbai and looking forward to following your adventure. Hope you don't break anymore battens. Can't wait for you to catch Jesse to see if you two sight each other. That would be exciting especially if it happens rounding Cape Horn. Good luck.

Bob from Seattle

Anonymous said...

Hi Dilip,
wishing you all the very best on your trip, will be checking in regularly to see how you're going.
Another amazing, courageous person,
stay safe,
Kathy, Australia

Anonymous said...

Great writing style!
Good for you and Jesse Watson to have connected way down south.
The Gods are paying attention!

kina said...

Kia ora Dilip,
I hope you enjoyed the Maori welcome in NZ. I'm yet another Jesse follower, hope you don't mind us coming aboard..cheers!

Read your blogs with interest...
awe inspiring stuff. Stunning pics too, especially those magnificent sunrises and sunsets. I envy what you guys are privvy too ie, the changing moods of mother-nature, but not so when she vents her anger. Cape Horn will be bit of a breeze compared to your stormy encounter prior to docking in Freemantle.

Anyway Dilip, hope you have a safe and speedy run to Cape Horn and give Jesse a wave as you go by. All the best to you and your crew and look after Mhadei...she's been thru a lot. :) Will check in from time to time.

Ben (Qld)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm sorry Dilip, I forgot to wish you a Merry Christmas (a tad late:)) & a wonderful new year!
Have just looked back at some blogs & pictures on your site, what amazing sights you are seeing.
Kathy, Australia

Anonymous said...

You have a cook on board ?! Now that's planning, especially as the meals sound so delish. I just discovered a Goan takeaway just 15Km down the road, tucked away off the beaten trak and run right out of his own kitchen. The food is gorgeous Gorgeous, and an aeon better than the local restaurant.

Respect to you for the passion and mettle to make this trip happen. Get home safely and smile from within at your accomplishment for the rest of your life.

nb. It would be great to get in sight of Jesse and do the wave and smile 'you and me' thing

David, Adelaide

Madhumita said...

Hats- off to you and Mr. Ratnakar, to have reached this stage, in spite of all the hurdles in the world. Merry Christmas.

Milind, Meeta and Manasi

Jony the Pony said...

Hi David from Adelaide,
yes he has a cook on board, a lonesome cook I guess, because the cook is on a solo circumnavigation...
I hope he can catch one of those albertos floating around, I read among the comments to Jessica's blog that they must taste like duck,
Jony the Pony

carole (Mackay) QLD said...

Hi Dillip, this is my first time writing to your blog, I am from Queensland, Australia, I read your blog with great interest and just want to say "you are a true inspiration", well done, hope you managed to get your mechanical issues sorted out after you got around Cape Horn. You and Jessica out there alone, doing amazing things for mankind. Showing the weak they can be strong, showing those not confident they can achieve, and most of all showing everyone that you can live your dream. Congratulation to you. Keep clipped on (as we say in OZ), fair winds.
Carole (Mackay) QLD

Anonymous said...

Dilip..We hope all is well. Haven't heard anything for some time. God's speed.