This blog is way overdue and my sincere apologies to all the readers for such a long delay. It is amazing how hectic life can become once you finish a trip such as this and just when you badly need a long break!
We reached Mumbai and completed the circumnavigation at 0030 hrs on 19 May, exactly 09 months after setting off. Till the afternoon of 18 May we were heading for Africa instead of Mumbai, thanks to light Northerly winds. Luckily by about 1330 the wind backed and freshened up allowing us to sail straight towards Mumbai harbour. The uncertainty of the ETA proving once again that "Sail Boats do not have ETAs, they have destinations and that they go towards a destination and not to a destination". Owing to the uncertainty of the ETA even 12 hrs before arrival, making arrangements for a formal welcome proved difficult. We thus quietly slipped in the Naval Dockyard, from where we had started 09 months back, and were received by close family, friends and the top brass of the Western Naval Command. We slipped out again at first light on 22 May to make a formal entry and were received in right royal style by the Vice President of India Shri M Hamid Ansari, the Chief of the Naval Staff, the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command and a host of other dignitaries. It was good to be back home! The celebrations unfortunately were marred by the news of a horrific air crash of an Air India aircraft that morning at Mangalore.
The week after arrival went in a whirlwind of press briefings, interviews and most importantly in making sure that Mhadei is well looked after and cared for. She has taken me around the world safely without any major complaints, has been the most forgiving & trusty companion through moments that I cannot share with anyone else and has earned all the TLC I can shower on her and more! Thus though the trip is over, the work goes on till we manage to put some system in place for her upkeep and utilization in the future.
Ending this with some photos and links of our arrival. Also a big thanks to all the readers of the blog for the support extended by them which came in very handy in keeping up the morale of the crew throughout the trip!
And the most important and cherished! A link to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's blog on becoming the 175 th member of the exclusive Solo Circumnavigators' Club! I can't think of a greater honour than being personally welcomed by Sir Robin to this elite club!